Susan Harris

Susan Harris taught at Liberty Elementary for many years and directed the annual Veterans Day program.

The only person who could safely set foot in John Bass’ house with the approval of his four dogs totaling 700 pounds was Susan Harris.

She came over on Tuesday to share brownies. She was always stopping by at her friends’ houses to bring food.

Nobody suspected that would be the last time they saw her.

On Thursday morning, the dogs were wondering where “Mommy Sue” was. She came over every day.

On Wednesday, Susan Harris was shot and killed by her husband Allyn Harry Harris, 70, in front of their Port Charlotte home. He then barricaded himself inside the home and killed himself.

“There is a network of people who know this woman who are just dumbfounded,” Bass said. “It’s a great loss to this world that she’s no longer here.”

Friends of Susan described her as a “champion of lost causes” and “the salt of the earth.”

The 65-year-old was a social butterfly who had a full itinerary every day.

Susan was a retired school teacher who taught at Liberty Elementary for years. She was hired by the school district in 1986 and retired a few years ago, according to the district.


She had “a knack for kids,” said friend Gracie Kirkpatrick.

When Kirkpatrick had a knee replacement, Susan was, of course, there at her front door bringing food and all sorts of things.

“She’s a very giving person,” Kirkpatrick said. “Everyone who knows her would describe her that way.”

Susan swam everyday at the Port Charlotte YMCA and volunteered teaching swimming lessons to children there.

“She would do anything for anyone,” said friend Sue Maffett. “It’s a great loss.”

Susan lived in Port Charlotte in the winters and in the mountains of Colorado during the summers, her friends said.

She had grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved taking them to Disney World.

Friday morning, at the quiet, now-vacant house, brownies were still sitting on the stove.

A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Laishley Park in Punta Gorda. 

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