Susie Lanette DeMent

Susie Lanette DeMent

Montevallo

Susie Lanette DeMent, age 96, concluded a life of serving and inspiring others when she passed away on Aug. 7, 2013, at her home in Montevallo, capping a 76 year career as an educator.

Born to Dock and Nannie DeMent in the mining town of Boothton on Oct. 5, 1916, Susie accepted the “call” to be a teacher as a first grader when she came home and taught her two-year-old sister everything she had learned that day at school. She went on to graduate from Montevallo High School in 1933, before earning her bachelors degree and teaching credentials from Alabama College (University of Montevallo) in 1937 and her master’s from the University of Tennessee in 1957.

Known as “Miss Susie” to legions of former students and colleagues, Susie began her teaching career at Fayette County High School in 1937. After nine years at Fayette County teaching business classes and serving as sponsor for both the newspaper and yearbook, along with a two year stint as assistant principal, Susie returned to Montevallo High School in 1946 to teach Business Education classes, serve as a technical advisor for student publications, and serve as the number one cheerleader for every athletic team.

Her accomplishments included being named Shelby County’s first Teacher of the Year in 1984. Later that year, Susie was inducted into Jacksonville State University’s Teacher Hall of Fame. The Alabama Scholastic Press Association named its Advisor of the Year award in her honor in 1996, and in 1997, she was the first non-coaching female to be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Coaches Hall of Fame. On a national level, Susie was the first Alabama teacher to receive Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Key Award in New York City in 1999. Her videotaped acceptance speech earned a standing ovation. She was also featured in an article by USA Today. Despite all the national and state honors, one of her most cherished recognitions occurred, in 1978, when the Shelby County Board of Education named the Montevallo High School gym, where she spent countless hours serving as statistician for the basketball teams, the Susie Dement Gymnasium.

In a 1984 interview with The Birmingham News, Susie summed up her teaching philosophy this way: “I feel like teaching is sort of a calling in life. You do what you have the talent to do.” My teaching philosophy is faith, hope and love. You have faith that the good Lord won’t let you get in any deeper than He’ll help you get out, hope that what you’re trying will work out all right and love for the people you work for and with.”

She was preceded in death by her brothers, Jack, D.B. Claud, Rod and Bill DeMent; and sisters, Fredia Mancil, Sayde Mason and Betty Miles. She is survived by her sister, Delene DeMent; sister-in-law, Francis Dement; brother-in-law, Guy Mason; and a host of nephews and nieces. She was a member of Mayberry Baptist Church, where she served as narrator for numerous Easter and Christmas musicals.

Visitation will be Friday at Montevallo High School’s Susie DeMent Gymnasium from 5-9 p.m. Following an 11 a.m.– noon visitation period in the Susie DeMent Gymnasium on Saturday, the funeral service will begin at noon. Burial will follow at Montevallo Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Montevallo High School Athletic Department. Please share condolences online at RockcoFuneralHomes.com, Rockco Funeral Home of Montevallo directing.