June 27, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer
Former longtime Hingham resident Suzanne FitzGerald Giarrusso celebrated her 90th birthday on June 15 in style.
"Nana Suzanna" was surprised by a gathering of her six grown children -- Roy and Mark from Hingham, Julie from Bar Harbor, Maria from Daniel Island, Tom from San Francisco, and Dave from New Jersey -- and her 13 grandchildren, along with in-laws, many of her friends, and a marching band. She has made her home in Bar Harbor, Maine, since 1993 while continuing to have strong ties to Hingham.
After a short walk to the Snug on her special day, Suzanne was joined by many well-wishers -- including a dear friend from grade school, the METCO children to whom she was earlier a host "mom," a Vietnamese family who she welcomed into her home during the 1970’s refugee crisis, longtime friends from Hingham and -- no strangers to the Snug -- Aisling Gallery owners Maureen and John Connolly.
"Nana Suzanna has touched the hearts of hundreds across the globe," her son Mark told the Hingham Anchor. "Her selfless hard work included opening her home to the spirit of international living, countless musicians, families in need, foster kids, and more than a few local [characters] (you know who you are)!"
Suzanne served as president of the Boston chapter of UNICEF for many years and with the Red Cross, started a craft fair on Hingham Centre Common, and remained active and busy with her children and their various activities.
Renowned Hingham artist Peter Arsenault did a painting of the craft fair showing Suzanne wearing an eye-catching red scarf and Dependable Cleaners and Hingham Centre Pharmacy in the background.
She was also a Booster parent, a Cub Scout den mother, a Girl Scout leader, an active PTA (Parent Teacher Association) member and was also active in St. Paul Parish.
Also while living in Hingham, she helped stop gypsy moth spraying, worked on a Gerry Studds' campaign, and started a La Leche League in the community.
And her caring didn't stop there. "Her love of animals was equal to that of people," Mark said. "She raised, pugs, goats, chickens, rabbits, cats, and dogs -- to name a few."
The work that Suzanne loved most, though, was instilling solid character in those around her. "If you’ve spent time with Nana, you will not be caught with bottled water, weed killer, processed foods, locked doors, or any excessive material wealth," Mark said. "Your home will be filled with love, laughter, books, music, organic food, healthy banter, and ribbing.
Nana’s cast was far, touching the lives of many across the globe. Happy Birthday, Nana Suzanna!"
As background, Suzanne was born in Quincy. Her father, Dr. Edmund FitzGerald, was the Quincy health inspector and a professor at Harvard Medical School. He also helped start the Boston Floating Hospital.
Suzanne moved to Hingham in 1963, where she was very active. In 1993, she moved to a large Victorian home in Bar Harbor, where she continued to welcome musicians, helped expand the food pantry, and assisted with building up the Native American Museum.
Her former husband, the late Bill Giarrusso, at one time owned the Bowl & Board in Hingham Square.