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Sharon R. Susz, aided son who was struck by lightning

June 20, 1942 – Dec. 14, 2014

Sharon R. Susz of Boston, who found her life’s calling when she worked to help her son recover from being struck by lightning, died Dec. 14 at Mercy Hospital following a stroke. She was 72.

Born in Steubenville, Ohio, the former Sharon R. Pfaffenbach graduated from Hamburg High School.

Mrs. Susz’s son Michael was struck by lightning in June 1980. She refused to listen to the doctor’s prognosis that he would never walk or talk again and worked tirelessly toward his rehabilitation, eventually bringing him home to a hospital bed in the family living room. She solicited help from therapists, family members and friends to aid in her son’s recovery. Though Michael was not completely restored, she had brought him to a point where he could again ride a bike and ski, both sports he greatly enjoyed.

Her experience with her son led Mrs. Susz to go back to school to help other handicapped children and adults. She earned a certified occupational therapist assistant degree from Erie Community College. She worked as a certified occupational therapy assistant at Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna from July 1989 until July 2004.

Mrs. Susz enjoyed gardening, water sports and cooking. She was a member of the Home Bureau, Head Injury Association and Card Club.

Survivors include her husband of seven years, Joseph J.; her parents, Martha and John Pfaffenbach; three sons, Paul, Michael and Anthony Schunk; a daughter, Traci Schunk; a step-daughter, Lauren Susz; two brothers, Dennis and David Pfaffenbach; and a sister, Beverly Pierce.

A memorial service will be held at noon Jan. 3 at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 5930 South Abbott Road, Orchard Park.

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