Sue Benton Birdsong

Sue Benton Birdsong

Suffolk , VA
04.22.1939 - 03.25.2020

“Mama Sue,” as she was affectionately called by her family and friends, passed away peacefully on March 25, 2020, at age 80, surrounded by family and under loving hospice care at Westminster-Canterbury in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Sue was born on April 22, 1939 in Suffolk, Virginia, the daughter of Major Thomas Benton and Lillian Smither Benton.  She graduated from Suffolk High School in 1957, attended Longwood College and received a business certificate from Smithdeal Massey Business College in Richmond. Sue used those skills to work for then-Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr. in Suffolk and Richmond in the 1960s and ’70s.  Sue also worked for several years in the Suffolk office of Birdsong Peanuts.

Sue married the love of her life, George Y. Birdsong, at Main Street United Methodist Church in Suffolk on June 10, 1961.  She had met George when they were in the second grade together and has often commented that she knew right away that George would be her lifetime sweetheart! She and George raised their three children  - Anne Cabell, David, and Charles - in Suffolk.  All the children attended Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (NSA). Sue was very active at NSA, serving on the Board of Trustees from 1979 to1988.  In 1996, she founded the Saints Society to encourage legacy gifts to benefit NSA.  In addition, she was active in supporting school activities such as “Field Day,” auctions, art shows, and cheering on her three kids at all their NSA team sporting events.

She had a special relationship with Westminster-Canterbury (WC), her retirement community. Her mother, Lillian, lived at WC for many years and Sue was so pleased to live at WC also.  She joined the WC Foundation Board in 1998 and served for 20 years.  Two projects dear to her heart were the opening of the Birdsong Health Clinic and the creation of the Birdsong Tablet.  The Birdsong Health Clinic was an in-house medical clinic for WC residents that reduced the need to leave campus for doctor visits.  The Birdsong Tablet became an award-winning computer tablet that empowers older adults to independently and easily navigate computer technology with content that stimulates their minds and entertains them.  Today, Birdsong Tablets can be found in retirement communities and homes of individuals in 24 states.

Sue’s church was very important to her.  She was an active and faithful member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Suffolk for over 50 years, singing alto in the choir and participating in many church services and events.  When living in Virginia Beach, she was an active participant in Virginia Beach United Methodist Church.

Above all else, her family was most important to her. Sue’s home was filled with her laughter, kindness, and love.  Her love also extended to her neighbors and her childrens’ friends, most of whom called her “Mama Sue.”  Her home and yard provided a playground for football, kickball, basketball, and other fun activities for the neighborhood and numerous children.  During summers in Virginia Beach, her house, yard, and beach, continued to be places where all friends would gather. The beach was one of Sue’s favorite places. She especially loved watching the kids surf, boogie board, skimboard, play kadima paddle ball and other games, and of course, feeding them her special peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.

She and her husband George shared a beautiful 59-year marriage and partnership. Although Sue’s main focus was her children and George,  she and George together participated in and supported many civic endeavors.  

Sue is survived by her husband, George Y. Birdsong, and their three children, Anne Cabell Birdsong Pearce (Steve) and their children Carrington Birdsong Richard Wentz, Benton Birdsong Hawks Wentz, Danielle Alexandra Pearce, and Olivia Lauren Pearce; David Jefferson Birdsong (Brooke) and their children Connor Norcross Birdsong and Virginia Carson Birdsong; and Charles Randolph Birdsong (Davin) and their children William Craig Crenshaw and Penn Randolph Birdsong. Sue is also survived by her brother, Major Thomas Benton, Jr., and was predeceased by her parents, Major Thomas & Lillian Smither Benton.

Sue enjoyed her life at WC and referred to it as home.  In the three-and-a-half years living at WC, she made friends with many residents and staff.  The family thanks the employees and all of the many caregivers of WC at Home and the WC Stone Rehab Center of the Hoy for their kindness, gentleness, and love they showed Mama Sue every day.

A graveside service in Suffolk’s Cedar Hill Cemetery will be private for the family.  In light of the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service and reception to celebrate Sue’s life will take place on a later date at Main Street United Methodist Church in Suffolk. There will also be a memorial service at Holy Trinity Chapel at Westminster-Canterbury followed by a reception in their Anderson Bayview Room at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, 3373 Pruden Boulevard, Suffolk, VA 23434 for the Sue Birdsong Endowed Scholarship Fund for students in financial need, or to the Westminster-Canterbury Foundation, 3100 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA  23451 for residents, employees, and community charities that need financial assistance, or to a charity of your choice.  R. W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory in Suffolk will be handling the arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at



Our family extends our sincere and heartfelt condolences to everyone in Sue's family. Mrs. Birdsong was always a delight to greet you wherever she saw you and her smile was so beautiful that she would lighten up any room she entered. Mrs. Birdsong will be missed by family and friends and as my son expressed these words, "Ms. Birdsong was certainly a very elegant, kind and generous lady".

Blessings to all
Carol and Tom Harry and family

Tom and Carol Harry, Robert and C.T., (Hanna and Rose)

We send our sincere sympathy to all the members of Sue’s family. Sue was a special presence in the Suffolk community. She had such joy in supporting her children and their friends in addition to supporting so many community projects. Her smile and her laugh will be remembered by all who knew her. May the memories you share bring you comfort!

Brenda and Doug Kincaid

My deepest sympathy goes out to you all. Your sweet Mama was my favorite babysitter! She was a great lady!

Jean W Robb

I was truly saddened to hear about Sue. She was one of my ",older" girlfriends when I was growing up on Suffolk. My heart goes out to George and the others in her family. She was a wonderful person and citizen.

Holt M Livesay

Sue was my babysitter when I was little. I thought the world of her and never stopped. I will certainly miss her. My love and sympathy to all her family and friends.


Pam Eure Geiss

A life well lived. Thoughts and prayers for your family at this time.

Dr. Mark Kerner

George and the Birdsong family, a sad day indeed to learn of Sue's passing. We send our most sincere condolences and of course, pray for Sue now that she has left you and all of us who knew her well, since she was truly a lovely and gifted woman, full of life, impressive in many ways and an inspiration for all of us. My children and I will have the Sisters of the Visitation in Georgetown pray for her soul and for you to be able to accept her loss. With highest respect and esteem, we are, Sincerely, Alexandra, Philip, Isabel and Bert

Mr. H.R. Bert Pena

George, and all the family -- My deepest sympathy to you on your loss. In my former role as director of Virginia Carolinas Peanut Promotions (years ago) I always enjoyed seeing and visiting with Sue at the American Peanut Council conferences. Her bubbly personality made her a joy to be around . My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.
Betsy Owens
America's Best Nut Company

Betsy Owens

George and All Family- I am sad to hear of your loss of a loving wife and mother. I always enjoyed seeing Sue at the APC meetings. Sue always had a smile and was was always so kind. My thoughts and prayers for Godly peace in this difficult time.
Tim Sanders

Tim Sanders

George, sorry to hear about Sue. No words can express the loss of a partner. May God be with you and family going forward. Although I didn’t’ know her personally I have always had the greatest respect for you throughout our working career.. Scott

F Scott Wright

George, so sorry to hear if Sue’s passing. Sending prayers of comfort to you and your family.

Annette and Kris Brooks

Praying for God's comfort during this time of loss.

Alabama Peanut Producers Association

Jacob Davis

Dear Mr. Birdsong and family,
My deepest condolences to you all. May her memory be a blessing to you always.

Sandra Pennecke - Inside Business

What a blessing she was to so many. Sending my sincerest condolences and praying for God's peace and comfort for her friends and family in the days ahead.

Jessie Bland - Georgia Peanut Commission

Tunisia and I are sad to hear of Sue passing. Praying for God's peace and comfort for the Birdsong family in the days ahead

Les and Tunisia Matthews

Leslie R Matthews

I thank God for my remembrance of Sue Birdsong, a true and dear friend and a beautiful Christian lady. I will always treasure her friendship. May God’s love and grace be with you.
Carl and Janice Grice Moman and family

Janice Grice Moman

George, so sorry to learn of your loss. My brother, Richard, was in your class, and I was in Tommy’s. I recently lost my wife of fifty two years, and understand your pain. Grateful that you have your family’s support.
Sincere condolences,

Boo Scott

George, I am so sad to learn of your loss of Sue. I have many fond memories of her. We
enjoyed celebrating the fact that our mothers were lifelong friends. My sympathy to you and yours. Shirley Richardson Fitzgerald and Family

shirley richardson fitzgerald

George, so very sad to hear of the passing of Sue. We have fond memories of fun times together.
Such a beautiful; elegant and kind lady.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.
Geoff and Franki Street.

Geoff and Franki Street....Sun Valley UK

Our deepest sympathy and prayers to you and your family, George, in the loss of your loving wife and best friend. May God’s peace and comfort be yours, and may the joyful memories of your life together ring in your heart forever.
Love, the children of Ashby and Georgia Miles (Jud, Judy, Jenny, Dixie and Donna)

Judy (Miles) Weston

George and Family, Susan and I were sorry to hear of Mama Sue's passing, but grateful we serve the God of hope and resurrection. She truly exemplified a virtuous Christian woman. She made me a better pastor through her devoted Christian life. She always had a word of encouragement. She was a saint, one who allows the light of Jesus to shine through. Mama Sue was the same to all people. It was a pleasure to serve as her pastor for 10 years! Indeed the world is a better for place because of her witness and life.

Preacher Bob and Susan

Bob Parks

George and family,
Gary and I are including all of you in our prayers as you deal with the loss of the sweetest person you have ever known. I shared a pew with the two of you for many years in Suffolk, while Gary sang in the choir. We miss all of our friends at Suffolk UMC and the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. You and Sue have done so very much for others, and she will certainly be missed.
God bless you,
Mary and Gary Scott

Mary and Gary Scott

To George Y. Birdsong & Family,
Words cannot express how sad I was to hear of the loss of your loved one. Sue was a beautiful woman with an infectious smile. May the peace come from the memories of your love, comfort you now and in the days ahead. May God Bless You and your family in your time of grief.

Sarah H. Walden, Suffolk Foundation Board Member

Sarah Walden

George, Charles and Birdsong family. My sincere heartfelt condolences for the loss of your wife and mother Ms. Sue.I never had the pleasure to meet her but know from all the gracious and praising comments about her that she was a wonderful person who was always kind to all. Your love for her will keep all your precious memories of the good times shared together alive and comfort you in the years ahead. Ron Wood

Ron Wood,USDA,AMS,FPB, Federal Supervisor, GAFSIS Retired

I'm so sorry to hear of Ms. Sue's passing. My deepest condolences to you. Praying for God's peace as you grieve during this exceptionally difficult time.

Leslie Wagner
Southern Peanut Growers

Leslie Wagner

George may you and your entire family feel all the love that supports each of you during this sad time. I was the VWU Photography Manager and both you and Sue were always so kind and generous with your time in front of my camera. Sue always greeted me with a hug and she will be remembered fondly.
Sincere condolences,

Janice Marshall-Pittman

We extend our deepest sympathies to George and the entire Birdsong family on your loss. Sue was a fine person who will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you. Phil Ferguson and the employees of the Suffolk Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

Phil Ferguson

George, David, Charles and family - You are in our thoughts and prayers. We were truly saddened by the loss of Sue. She was an incredible woman. I have so many fond memories of her and the way she supported all of us during our journey through the years at NSA. The fact that she treated all of us like her own children certainly made her special! I am a better person for having known her! May God give you peace during this time of loss.

Earl T. and Karen Jones

Earl and Karen Jones

Ann Archer, Catherine and I are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. We have so many wonderful memories of Mrs. Birdsong from our 61st Street adventures and beyond .

Mary Russell McMurran

Dear George and Family,
On behalf of the City Treasurer's Office, I want to extend to your family our sincerest sympathy on the loss of Sue. She was a beautiful woman, who touched many lives. She will be greatly missed by her family, church, friends and community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
Ronald H. Williams, City Treasurer and Office Staff

Ronald H. Williams

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