Susan Mary Raab Profile Photo
1950 Susan Mary Raab 2024

Susan Mary Raab

September 25, 1950 — April 1, 2024


Susan Mary Kane Raab, age 73, died after an illness on April 1, 2024, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on September 25, 1950, Susan (sometimes called Sue) loved to play and ski, was in the Girl Scouts, and was Little Miss Portsmouth in 1957. She met California-born sailor John Milton Raab, Jr., on a blind date that he famously was late to, due to the Super Bowl of 1972. Nevertheless, she gave him a second chance and they got hitched at the Naval Chapel in Portsmouth on June 17, 1972. (Incidentally, Susan delighted in the fact that that was the same day as the Watergate break-in - she later closely followed the televised Watergate Hearings, with her first daughter, Alison, on her knee.) 

When John was honorably discharged from the Navy, they drove from Portsmouth to the San Francisco Bay Area and started a long life and a family together on the west coast. They lived for a few years in the Bay Area, where Alison was born. Susan and John later settled on the Central Coast, in Oceano, Arroyo Grande, and Santa Maria, where John worked for PG&E Diablo Canyon, and welcomed their second daughter, Jessica. In California, Susan finished the bachelor's degree she started in New Hampshire, getting a BA with honors in history from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, completing an honors thesis on Civil War POWs. Intermittently throughout her California years, she devoted her time to teaching, first at a pre-school, then as a popular substitute teacher at St Joseph High School (occasionally to the consternation and chagrin of her daughters then enrolled), and even later as an after-school tutor in history, Spanish, English, and math. Susan was a welcoming figure to many students as well as her daughters' friends - they still reminisce about how much they enjoyed spending time with her. 

Sue moved to North Carolina in 2004 with John, to start their retirement and be near their daughters. She enjoyed the proximity to the Civil War sites in the United States south, traveling with John far and wide around the region. In addition, while in North Carolina Sue developed a strong relationship with her grand-niece, Ryals Kinder-Adams, the daughter of her niece Suzanne Kinder (the child of her elder sister, Karen Kane Kinder and her husband Wayne) and her husband Chris Adams. Ryals came to call her "Grammy Sue," as Karen had passed away June 6, 1997. June 6th would recur as a sad inflection point years later - on June 6, 2010, Sue's beloved husband, John, died in Wilmington, NC, after a long fight with cancer. 

After John's death, Sue moved to New Mexico, where Jessica had settled, and enjoyed volunteering as a tutor and at a food pantry. She was overjoyed to welcome her two granddaughters, Johanna Rose and Michelle Grace, born to Jessica and her husband Michael Schneider. Early in their lives, Johanna and Michelle were taken care of by their Grammy on a near daily basis, and they have many memories of her, and not just of the treats she brought, but also of her loving care.

In addition to her family, Sue Raab loved many things, including travel, cross-stitch, and genealogy. She and John were famous for their long-distance driving vacations, starting with the long trek from Portsmouth to California, and continuing with annual trips around California and across the West. Sue often visited her older sister Karen Kane Kinder and family in Colorado, and her other siblings, Jack Kane and Shirley Kane, and her mother back in Portsmouth, NH. Later in life, Sue traveled to further-flung destinations, including Ireland, England, and Italy with John, Egypt, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Germany with Jessica, and even to Japan to visit Alison, who worked there for a time. Sue took up cross-stitch at a difficult time in her life, and through art helped herself out of the challenges she faced - part of her legacy is an enormous trove of cross-stitch works, ranging from flowers to presidential sites. Finally, Sue considered herself the keeper of the Kane family history, diving deep into genealogical history research, and she even dabbled in the Raab-family history too. She left some family puzzles unsolved in County Clare, Ireland - if she'd only had a little more time, Sue would surely have traveled there to solve them.

Susan is survived by her two daughters Alison Labonte (husband Marc) of Washington, DC, and Jessica Schneider (husband Michael) of Albuquerque, NM, granddaughters Johanna Rose and Michelle Grace Schneider, as well as her siblings and her husband's siblings, and nieces and nephews on both sides of the Kane and Raab family tree.
Memorial donations may be made in Susan Mary Kane Raab's name to the Lewy Body Dementia Association ( 
To send flowers to the family in memory of Susan Mary Raab, please visit our flower store.


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