Corsicana native and former longtime East Texas teacher and co-owner of the Gladewater Mirror newspaper was killed Friday in a wreck in Longview.
Suzanne Bardwell was born Aug. 19, 1955, in Corsicana, to Charles Wayne and Mary Juanita Brown.
She grew up on the family ranch, which she credited with giving her a strong will and work ethic that she passed along to family and students throughout her life.
She was preceded in death by her brother Donald Wayne Brown, her father Charles Wayne Brown, her grandparents, and uncles and aunts.
Bardwell worked at Gilmer, Spring Hill and White Oak ISDs. At White Oak, she served as a journalism teacher as well as the adviser for the yearbook and newspaper staff.
She retired in 2013 from White Oak when she was named the Max R. Haddick Teacher of the Year by the University Interscholastic League. The award is presented annually to the best high school journalism instructor in Texas.
Since 2012, Bardwell and her husband, Jim, owned the Gladewater Mirror. And in 2017, she was named Woman of the Year during the 86th annual Gladewater Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Bardwell also was an advocate for teachers’ rights, previously speaking at a “Use Your Teacher Voice & Vote” rally in Longview about issues such as adequate health care, teacher retirement benefits and more.
Jim Bardwell posted on the Gladewater Mirror Facebook page:
“I write this to let you all know my beloved Suzanne was killed Friday afternoon in a wreck in Longview. ... We are all in shock and looking for the next step to take without her steady hand to guide us. Suzanne was so full of life and she loved everyone. Her passion for life was seen everyday and through all the people she touched.
“I will never know how many people she touched as a teacher, but I do know she touched my heart when we first met at age 13 and I have been in love with her ever since. Suzanne’s light was bright and her soul was full of joy. I can’t believe she is gone.
“She will never again reach over and take my hand while I am driving. She will no longer go outside with me and gaze up at the stars and discuss the possibilities. She will never again greet me in the morning with that beautiful smile and sweet kiss.
“Please give us time to come to grips with what has happened. It feels like a bad dream and I keep waiting for her to roll over and put her hand on my shoulder and tell me it will be alright. But it won’t be alright. I’ve lost the love of my life.”
Article reprinted with permission from the Longview News-Journal.