MEET JANE SUSSDORF
Apr 19, 2022
My yard has fully embraced spring. The redbud tree finished blooming, the dogwoods are awash in white blooms and green leaves, my azalea bushes have exploded in shades of pink and red around our home, and our roses have buds ready to burst in walls of color. I love spending time in our yard and nurturing along the blooms. So, when I met and visited with Jane Sussdorf, one of our new First Christian Church members, in mid-April, we found an immediate connection. Jane told me she loves being outdoors and loves plants and has been a master gardener for many years. I could sense that love when Jane entertained me with stories about the Paulownia tree, flowering shrubs, and her two greenhouses. I laughed when she described how she gets her husband to transplant a plant by telling him it needs to migrate. Her love of gardening is a connection that many of our members will share with her.
In visiting with Jane, the theme of connections kept recurring. She was born and raised in Palestine. She moved away as a young adult but returned to her hometown later in life. Upon returning to Palestine, she connected again with school friends and most importantly made a heart and soul connection with Steve Sussdorf, whom she eventually married. She initially joined Southside Baptist Church where she connected with a member in friendship, but she heard Jordan give a memorial service and felt a spiritual connection that brought her to our church where her husband Steve has roots. She commented that she also has many connections with people in our church.
Jane has led a life that has taken her many places: to cities like Dallas, Tampa, Memphis, and Houston and to careers like a flight attendant, a land man, an executive assistant for an energy recruiter, and real estate. But as varied as all of these are, I could hear a connection in them because Jane used these opportunities to become strong, independent, and successful. She told me that she believes being happy is a choice, and I sensed that these places and careers are also connected by the choice she made to find a path to happiness.
Jane is deeply connected to family, both her immediate family and her extended family. She loves being with her two daughters, three grandchildren, and four great- grandchildren. She and her daughters run estate sales, and she is involved with Steve’s real estate business. Jane told me that sharing your life with someone as a full and equal partner holds great value for her. She also said, ”I am the same today as I was yesterday and will be tomorrow.” The sameness that winds like a multicolored strand of yarn through her present, varied past, and future is her core belief that sharing her life is what matters. Based on our conversation, I know she not only says this but lives it. She has already reached out to me to share a plumeria plant and strengthen a connection we established over coffee. She strikes me as the kind of person who will want to share her life with our church and our church family and will want to make meaningful connections through that sharing. We welcome her into our connected church family.