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    Entries in Birmingham (2)


    Reading To Kill a Mockingbird from a Southern guy's view

    Just wanted to share that my essay, "Alabama Bound: Reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird While Southern" has recently been published in The Southern Quarterly. Here is a link to a .pdf reprint.

    I have taught To Kill a Mockingbird for years so I was pleased to be asked to write about the book and growing up in Birmingham, Alabama. My family moved there from the Chicago suburbs when I was nine. In the essay, I write about my experience as a Northern boy learning how to live in the South and how To Kill a Mockingbird informed my understanding of Alabama. I weave in references to President Obama, Drive-by Truckers, George Wallace, the Birmingham Library, the WPA's Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (1941), my childhood confusion on segregated water fountains at the Birmingham Zoo, and one of my favorite professors when I was a student at Samford University, Wayne Flynt.  I'm glad Mark West asked me to write this essay.

    Thanks for checking out the essay.





    Obituary for my dad, Dr. Stanley V. Susina

    My dad passed away on Saturday.  He was a great guy and I was glad to have been able to spend some time My dad and I in our family home in Birmingham, Alabama, a few years ago.with him while he was in the hospital. 

    "A man's life of any worth is a continual allegory and very few eyes can see the mystery of life." Jean Keats (1819).  I believe my father's life is an allegory for the good life, what it means to be a good person.  His life showed what is worth living for.

    Here's the longer version of his obituary.  The shorter version is in today's Birmingham News.

    Stanley V. Susina — a pharmacist, professor at Samford University and University of Illinois, World War II veteran, Lutheran church leader, volunteer, Rotarian, world traveler, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather – died peacefully Sept. 1, 2012.  A resident of Hoover, AL, Stan was born 14 April 1923 in Berwyn, IL, son of Jan and Anna Susina.   He is preceded in death by his siblings, John, George, and Ludmilla (Ryan).  Stan attended public and Slovak schools in Chicago. During World War II, he studied meteorology for the Army at the University of Chicago. He served in the Pacific campaign and Japan, receiving a Bronze star.  He was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in the 20th Weather Squad. While he was stationed in Los Angeles, he was a soldier extra in the 1944 film Music for the Millions starring Jimmy Durante.Three generations of Susina guys.

    He received bachelor and R.Ph. degrees in pharmacy from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1948.  At UIC, he met his future wife Betty (Knauss) who also graduated in pharmacy. He continued at UIC in pharmacology, receiving a master’s of science in 1951 and a PhD in 1955.  At UIC, he taught for ten years and was promoted to associate professor of pharmacy. He and his family lived in Lombard, IL.  They were active in St. John’s Lutheran church where their children attended school.  In 1962, he became a professor at Samford University’s school of pharmacy (now McWhorter School of Pharmacy) where he also served as acting dean for several years.  He and Betty and their children -- Jan, David, and Margaret -- settled in Hoover.  Betty and Stan were active in the Hoover community.

                 Stan taught generations of pharmacy students at Samford and UIC.  At Samford, he received the John Buchanan Award for teaching excellence in 1966, an all-campus award. During the 1960s, Stan developed and taught the first clinical pharmacy courses at Stamford. He earned a law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford. He retired in 1992. In 2002, Stan and Betty received the Distinguished Service Award from the McWhorter School.My dad at Karly's wedding two years ago.

    A member of national, professional, and scientific organizations, he was president of the Chicago Retail Druggist Association (1960-62) and Jefferson County Pharmacy Association (1984-86).  Recently, he served as JCPA’s secretary. He also served on the Board of Directors of Jefferson County Mental Health Association and Jefferson County Drug Abuse Coordinating Committee. Stan integrated the Jefferson County science fair program. He received the A. H. Robbins Bowl of Hygeia Award for Outstanding Community Service in Pharmacy in 1974.  Joseph Dean, Dean of Samford’s pharmacy school in 1993, wrote, “Stan served as a voice for independent pharmacy practice for more than thirty years while an educator/practitioner in Illinois and Alabama.  Stanley V. Susina is a man worthy of recognition by the profession for his commitment, dedication, and lifelong love of pharmacy and pharmacy students.”

    He was 50-year member of The Lutheran Church of Vestavia Hills, where he served in many capacities including on the board of elders and the Lutheran Braille Ministry.  He traveled on mission trips with the church to Slovakia, his parents’ native country. In 2007, Betty and Stan received a 25-year service award for volunteering to serve meals at the Firehouse Shelter.Three Susina guys in Aldridge Gardens, having a good time.

    Stan was a charter member of Hoover-Riverchase Rotary Club.  Betty and Stan were involved in the Birmingham Audubon Society. He especially enjoyed taking care of the Bluebird Trail and going to Mentone nature camps. Stan learned how to make wine and was well known for his dandelion and elderberry wines. His family still drinks his vintage wines. Stan and his family were Hoover (Green Valley) Country Club members, enjoying tennis and golf. Recently, he volunteered with the Daybreak Grief Support Ministry.  Stan enjoyed reading, particularly mysteries, and was a regular at the Hoover Library.  While he was able, he participated in water aerobics at the Hoover Rec Center.

    Stan and Betty traveled throughout the world.  They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on a six-week trip to India.  Often traveling on Friendship Force tours, they visited Central and America, and Europe.  Betty and Stan’s last trip was a National Geographic cruise to Russia three years ago.

     While he was physically color blind, Stan also was color blind in his worldview, interested in helping everyone.  His wife of 63 years, Betty preceded him in death.  He is survived by his children: Jan (Jodie) of Normal, IL; David (Donna) of Alpharetta, GA, and Margaret of Oak Grove, AL.  Stan was deeply involved in the lives of his grandchildren: Nicole (Sam) Swiney, Katie, Karly (Daniel) Sisco, David, Dana, Carey, Jacob, and his great-grandson Harrison Swiney.  Stan Susina will receive a military funeral in a private internment at the Alabama National Cemetery, Montevallo, AL. Memorial contributions may be sent to the church, the pharmacy school at Samford University, or the Hoover Public Library.