Suzanne Evans ’60 Neckers

Suzanne Evans Neckers, a teacher whose classroom ease translated well to her volunteer work as a docent in the galleries of the Toledo Museum of Art, died Thursday in her Perrysburg Township home. She was 82.

She had Parkinson’s Disease, a condition diagnosed in 2007, said her husband, Douglas C. Neckers, a distinguished professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University.

Her long-term caregivers and those in recent months from Hospice of Northwest Ohio “were angels – absolutely made in heaven.

“She was so good with other people that she helped those who were caring for her,” said her husband, who is a Blade columnist. “She helped us as much, or more, as we helped her.”

Mrs. Neckers first volunteered in 1990 as a museum docent and guided groups of diverse age and type.

“Nothing delighted her more than having a group of children in the galleries,” said Susan Palmer, a member of the art museum’s board of directors who is a former director of docent programs and a former director of development there. “Suzanne had a unique skill of bringing out wonderful responses in children as well as adults.”

With children especially, she asked open-ended questions: What do you see? What colors can you name? At a portrait, she asked the viewers what questions they had for the person in the artwork.

“She had a great smile and sparkling eyes,” Mrs. Palmer said. The children “looked at her and realized she was inviting them into a work of art, whether a sculpture or a painting or a piece of decorative art. She was a gem.”

Mrs. Neckers and her husband sang in the church choir wherever the family lived, as her husband pursued his education and his career. She most recently sang in the choir at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Perrysburg, where she and her husband were members, and formerly sang at Collingwood Presbyterian and Trinity Episcopal churches in Toledo.

She and her husband also were founding members of the Canterbury Singers, initially formed at Trinity Episcopal and under the direction of the late James Metzler. The choir has for about 20 years served residencies at churches, abbeys, and cathedrals across England.

She was born Aug. 26, 1938, to Edith and Richard Evans and grew up in Bemus Point, N.Y., on Chautauqua Lake. She and her husband, who grew up nearby, were introduced by a teacher who knew they both played the piano and sang.

She initially attended the University of Rochester, and her husband Bucknell University, before they transferred to Hope College in Holland, Mich., in order to attend the same school. She majored in history. During her teaching career she taught sixth through eighth grades.

They moved to Ohio in 1974 as her husband became department chairman at BGSU, where he later founded the Center for Photochemical Sciences.

She liked to cook and organized gatherings at the family home for new students of her husband’s, choir colleagues, friends.

“There was no pretense,” her husband said. “She genuinely cared about other people and did things that were beneficial to others her entire life.”

Surviving are her husband, Douglas C. Neckers, whom she married June 18, 1960; daughter, Pamela Neckers; son, Dr. Andrew Neckers; brother, John Evans, and two granddaughters.

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