CLASS OF 2020
CLASS OF 2021
CLASS OF 2022
Emma Lei Souza
CLASS OF 2023
Alyssa Dean Teagan Ober
Natural born leader. True friend. Big sister. Brilliant pioneer. These are just some of the words offered by friends and family to describe Suzanne Ratkowski, 69, who died Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Milwaukee, Wisc. Visitation will be held Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9-10 a.m. at the Gesu Catholic Church, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, Wisc. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10 a.m. She will be entombed at the St. Adalbert Cemetery.
Sue’s relationship with Presentation Academy began almost 20 years ago when faculty member Paula Samuels approached her about becoming a member of the school’s technology committee. “I had no idea that she would soon become one of Presentation’s staunchest supporters, despite having no prior connection with the school. She eagerly accepted the invitation to join our technology committee, generously sharing her ideas and technical expertise.”
Sue was the 2003 Tower Award for Women Leaders recipient in the Business, Technology and Trade category and was named an honorary Pres alumna in 2006. She later served as a member of the Board of Trustees.
“Sue believed deeply in the value of Catholic education, especially its role in empowering the young women of Presentation Academy,” Samuels said. “She ‘put her money where her mouth was,’ donating generously to a variety of initiatives here at Presentation, most recently funding a science lab in memory of her sister Cheryl. She knew that education would provide a path forward for our students, and she particularly encouraged them to pursue STEM careers.”
Sue donated the funds in 2014 to transform the 730-square foot space into a physical science lab, used during physics and chemistry exploratory activities and labs. “Because of Sue’s generous spirit, young women at Presentation Academy have benefited from a dedicated space for performing hands-on chemistry and physical science experiments,” said science department chair and Pres alumna Janet Peter ’89.
“Sue’s generosity to all was such a hallmark of her personality,” said Pres alumna Aggie Noonan ’70. “Of course, family and friends came first, but her devotion to Pres, Marquette and her beloved Green Bay Packers was so sincere and intense.”
The rightful and well-earned role of women in business and technology was often at the forefront of her work ethic, Noonan said. “Her belief in young women and what they would achieve was often shared in animated conversation! She was such a good friend to so many at Pres. She will be greatly missed, but we know Pres women will carry on her good works and legacy.”
“Sue was a role model to Pres students. She exemplified women leadership, generosity and loyalty,” said former Pres Alumnae Relations Manager and alumna Kathy Marshall ’65. “There were no reservations at all in selecting her to be an honorary alumna in 2006. Her dedication to Presentation was remarkable. Sue will be sorely missed, not only by Pres but the Louisville community.”
A Milwaukee native, Sue earned Bachelor’s degrees in physics and math in 1972, and a Master’s of Business Administration in 1986, all from Marquette University. She began her career at UPS in 1974 in Elm Grove, Wis., before moving to Louisville in 1985 to begin work for UPS Airline Operations. She worked as a project manager and division manager before being promoted to systems manager for the Transportation Technology Group in 1998. She retired in 2007.
Sue led the UPS community campaign for United Way from 2000-2003. She was honored with Marquette University’s Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award in 2010.
In preparation for the Tower Awards, Sue was asked to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions she was asked was to list the important traits a leader must possess.
“A leader needs to have personal integrity; the people who look up to them need to know that they can be trusted in all things,” Sue wrote. “A leader needs to have perseverance. Many things in life cannot be accomplished without long, hard work and overcoming of obstacles. A leader needs courage because sometimes they need to do the right thing, even when everyone around them is willing to do the easy thing instead.”
Sue’s family and friends would agree that these words perfectly describe Sue.
“What touched me most about Sue was that she had the heart of a Pres Girl,” Samuels said. “She was smart and confident and not afraid to speak her mind. She was a self-made woman who used her time, talent and treasure to help others realize their dreams. She proudly wore her extensive wardrobe of Pres apparel, and she spread the good news of Presentation Academy wherever she went. She was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known, and she did more than her share to make this world a better place.”
A memorial service will be held at Presentation Academy Thursday, Jan. 23, at 2 p.m. in the theater.