On August 21, 1914, Germany’s aggressive moves in World War I were a fixture on the front pages of all newspapers, and northern Europe experienced a total solar eclipse. That was the day Susan Margaret Spool (nee Wallfield) chose to enter the world, one hundred years ago. She was the youngest child of Victoria and Jacob Wallfield, a New York pediatrician.
Parker Home celebrated Susan’s day in style with a party. Parker Home’s social worker Tamsin Metzler proudly read a letter from President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to Susan, congratulating her on her birthday and wishing her many more happy returns. Susan’s children, Peter and Robert, and Peter’s wife Beverly joined the Residents of Parker at River Road in celebrating their mother’s milestone birthday. They brought along a video with highlights of Susan’s life and gave an overview of Susan’s full and happy life.
Susan grew up in the neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. A bright young woman, she graduated from high school at fifteen years old, and from Brooklyn College at nineteen years old. At twenty, she completed her Masters in French from Columbia University, and spent the summer of 1935 at the University of Paris in France. Susan was also blessed with musical talent; she was an accomplished pianist.
During World War II, Susan worked at the War Information Office on the French desk, translating dispatches into English. After the war, she became an elementary school teacher for kindergarten and first grade classes. Susan married Morton Spool in May 1950 and they soon began a family. She resumed teaching after her children started school and continued teaching for decades until her retirement.+
Susan’s love for learning did not end with her retirement. She and her husband Morton attended many classes at Queens College in Flushing, New York. After her husband died in 2006, Susan remained independent until 2010 when she moved to Parker Home, located near her children’s Highland Park homes.
When asked about the reason for Susan Spool’s longevity, her son Peter noted that she continues to participate in a wide range of activities. Having been an educator for so long, Susan still corrects the spelling of others during some of the activities! Peter remarked, “The staff at Parker Home attribute my mother’s longevity at least in part to her friendly, easygoing manner, happy and optimistic attitude, and her willing participation in many of the activities offered at Parker.”