Mother of 9 Dies Suddenly of Cancer a Month After Childbirth

Sue Savona of Montrose died suddenly from complications during emergency surgery while on her family's way to her mother's house in Green Bay, WI. Savona gave birth to a new baby girl just a month ago and did not know she had colon cancer.

Montrose mother of nine children Sue Savona died suddenly on Sunday, Dec. 18. She was 38.

Savona and her family were driving to her mother's home in Green Bay, WI, with her new daughter, Chloe, before she fell very ill, family member Ann Boettcher told Patch. 

Savona had emergency surgery in Tulsa, OK, where she died from complications and doctors discovered she had colon cancer, Boettcher said. She had given birth to her daughter a month earlier.

She is survived by her husband of 17 years, Gary Savona, and nine children--Kali, 16; John, 14; Sam, 13; Jenna, 11; Emma, 10; Sara, 8; Josh, 6; Ava, 2; and Chloe, 1 month--her mother, Cheryl, and Gordon Maughan of Green Bay; her father, Bob Duca; her brother, Scott Duca, and his friend Jamie Jesse of Green Bay.

"There is a family of nine kids now and no mom," Boettcher told Patch.

"She had just had a baby, and the two weeks prior to her leaving for Green Bay she told Gary that she wasn’t feeling well," Boettcher said.

Savona's passing was very unexpected for her family in both Green Bay and Montrose, Boettcher said. 

"It was just so quick," Boettcher said. "She didn’t even know she had [cancer] until they were in the middle of some place they had never been to before. Nobody had a clue." 

Savona, described as a straight-A student and creative artist, attended Valley View Elementary, Ashwaubenon High School and , where she graduated in the class of 1992, according to an obituary prepared by her family for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.  

She attended the University of California at Davis, where she pursued a degree in biology.

"She met Gary Savona while working as a camera/projectionist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena," according to her family. "They fell in love and married on Aug. 13, 1994."

"She was an accomplished, smart taskmaster who tirelessly devoted days to baking cookies and cakes and doing mounds of laundry, while still finding time for her children," Savona's family said.

"She committed grueling hours of time to her children's studies and never complained," her family said. "She could do algebra, geometry and [speak] Spanish fluently while writing beautiful essays and creative stories with little effort. She was an avid Packer fan, rooting for her hometown team through the years and everything Wisconsin. Sue was a most devoted wife and mother and will be sorely missed."

The family will stay in Wisconsin for the holidays before Gary Savona returns back to his job at JPL and their family's home in Montrose, Boettcher said. 

Visitation will take place Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 2270 South Oneida St., Green Bay, WI, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a Mass of Christian Burial starting at 1 p.m.

A second Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 11 at  in Montrose. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Sue Savona Memorial Trust Fund, account number: 02237-76539 at , 2320 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, California 91020. Online condolences may be expressed at www.lyndahl.com.

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church has registered the family for an online meal delivery service. To contribute, view the calendar and sign up for a day to cook for the family on this website


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