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Sue Ann (Fiedler) Saks

1937 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Sue Ann (Fiedler) Saks Obituary
SUE ANN (FIEDLER) SAKS was born in Lockport, New York, June 26, 1937. She graduated from Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing, Buffalo New York, in 1958 with her RN degree. She was then employed at Buffalo Children's Hospital. While there she was selected to attend an 8 week Open Heart Surgery Post Op Care at The Mayo Clinic. When she returned to Buffalo Children's she organized, equipped and was charge nurse for the first pediatric open heart surgery recovery unit. She met her future husband Jerry at the hospital; they were married June 4, 1960, and were married for 54 years; she always remained his girlfriend. After moving to Riverside in 1963 with her husband and two toddlers, Sue realized there was a need for programs to help parents of young children. Over the next ten years, she had two more children, became involved in Girl Scouts, volunteered at her children's school and at Riverside Community Hospital, as well as organized and led The Women's Homemakers Club, Casa Blanca Home of Neighborly Services. It was during this time she came to believe she had skills that could be used within the community. In 1976, Sue became the president of Junior League. Her term marked the beginning of Riverside Junior League's (RJL) intense concern for the problem of child abuse. Through her work with RJL, she assisted in the establishment of The Families in Trouble Program, Riverside County's first attempt to address the problem of child abuse. She developed the curriculum for Child Abuse Speakers Bureau and gave over 70 presentations to professional groups, schools and service organizations. Sue later became the Director of Parenting Education and Support Programs at the YWCA. In this position, she developed programs that showed she was quite ahead of her time providing services for the social needs of the community. Some of the many programs she developed were: STEP, or Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, the Warm Line, a telephone help service for parents with questions on children's issues, and due to her understanding and experience with the special grief of parents whose newborns die, she established a support group known as PACS, Parents Accepting Compassion and Sharing. During her time with the Y, she also developed "Mommy and Me" as well as many other classes for parents with infants to teenage children. Like many of the programs Sue began, she saw a need, realized no one was filling it, and chose to do something about it. Sue was a founding member of both The Children's Advocacy council, (a community organization that focused on the needs of children in Riverside) and The Youth Service Center, (which later merged with The Wylie Center). She was also a founding member of Project K.I.N.D, Kids in Need of Doctors; Sue being the one who coined the acronym K.I.N.D. These are just some of the many organizations and programs she helped to organize. She taught Child Health and Development at RCC for over ten years, where rave reviews from former students kept her class enrollment high. She implemented and taught prenatal classes long before others realized there was a strong need for them and prenatal education became as popular as it is today. One of the amazing things about the programs Sue started were how often they were picked up, enlarged, and merged with community resources so the spirit of what she created is still in existence today. She later worked for Riverside County Schools as the first nurse for the Infant Circle Program where she developed nurse protocols, maintained files and organized materials. In all of her activities, Sue greeted everyone with warmth, dignity, and unconditional love. She was a trusted friend and mentor to many. In 1990, Sue had a kidney transplant, and in the following 2½years had two strokes that led to her medical retirement in 1993. In spite of her involvement in the community, her main focus was always on her husband and children. Sue is survived by her husband Jerry, her four children, Jeff (Cindy) of Highland, CA, Sharon (Roger) Barker of Long Beach, CA, Debbie Saks of Playa del Rey, CA, and Greg (Ann Gunvalsen) of Seal Beach, CA, and her eight grandchildren; Samantha and Spencer Saks, Janaye, Alyx, Taylor and Shayna Barker, and Dean and Audrey Saks. She is also survived by her brother Lee (Willie) Fiedler of Cape Cod, MA. An avid hobbier, Sue loved to spend time with her children and grandchildren, gardening, painting in many different mediums, and quilting. She was always creating something new, whether it was a painting, stained glass project or making a quilt to give to one of her loved ones. Through her retirement and all of her health issues, Sue always perceived her glass as half full, never half empty. She continued to show a relentless spirit and courage that has been an inspiration to her children and grandchildren. The family would like to thank Drs. Anil Garde, Andrew Corr and Elissa Gropen, for their care, compassion and concern during Sue's illness. The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Project K.I.N.D. http://www.projectkind.org/donate.html (951) 686-1976 Project K.I.N.D., 3993 Jurupa Avenue, Riverside, CA. 92506.

Published in Press-Enterprise from Aug. 27 to Aug. 31, 2014
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