Devoted Mother, Grandmother and Educator,
Patriotic Woman of Faith
Dr. Susan Mary Paige of Ellenton, Florida, formerly of Kenmore and
Dunkirk, New York, died surrounded by her children at Blake Hospital
in Bradenton, Florida, on Tuesday, April 18 from injuries sustained as
a bystander near a traffic accident on Thursday, April 6. She was 74
Born on June 22, 1948, at Brook Army Hospital, Fort Sam Houston,
in San Antonio, Texas, she was the daughter of Frank A. Paige Jr. of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Irene (née Szalkowski) Paige of
Her father was a staff sergeant in the medical corps and her mother
was a 1st Lt. nurse. Growing up in a military family gave her a strong
sense of patriotism. Pride for the country, combined with her natural
curiosity for family history and her keen research abilities tracing her
genealogy, allowed her to gain memberships in National Society of the
Daughters of the American Revolution and General Society of the
Dr. Paige’s family moved to Dunkirk in 1952 when her father was sent
to Europe with the military. Living with her grandmother, mother and
brothers, she attended Sacred Heart School, graduating at the end of
eighth grade in 1962. She graduated from Dunkirk High School in 1966
and continued her education at SUNY Fredonia, majoring in sociology.
In 1973, she earned a bachelor's degree in Human Development, Family
and Community Relations, with a minor in early childhood education from
University at Buffalo. Then in 1976, she earned a Master of Education in
elementary and early childhood education, also from University at Buffalo.
Seeing its value and importance, she dedicated her life to education, earning
a Ph.D. in elementary and early childhood education, with a minor in school
administration and supervision from University at Buffalo in 2003. She held
New York State certifications in elementary teaching nursery through grade
six, special education childhood grades one through six and school
Her path led her to a 26-year career at SUNY with teaching positions at
Fulton-Montgomery Community College, University at Buffalo and Buffalo
State College (now Buffalo State University), where she taught for 22 years.
While at Buffalo State College, she taught courses in Academic Affairs and the
Communication Department. She also served on the UNC 100 Oversight and
Assessment Committee, the Bengal Learning Community Engagement Committee,
the Diversity Committee, and the Teaching Effectiveness Committee. Dr. Paige
mentored many first-year students to present their research at the Student Research
and Creativity Conference and other research opportunities. She was also a familiar
volunteer for First-Year Convocation, first day of class via Orientation, Commencement
activities, and the Pedagogical Institute. Having moved to Florida to teach remotely
during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Paige retired from SUNY Buffalo State College in
September of 2021, when classes began meeting in person again.
Professionally, she was actively involved in the Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Association
of Childhood Education International, the Council for Exceptional Children. She was the
treasurer for the New York State Division for Early Childhood, one of seventeen divisions
of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), which is the largest international professional
organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities,
students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. She was also on the Teacher Education Division
(TED) National Conference Planning committee for the 2005 Portland, Maine conference and
was involved in numerous presentations for TED throughout the years. She sat on the board of
Literacy Empowerment Action Plan of Western New York, serving on the nominating and bylaws
committees, and on the Children’s Services Network, serving as the chair from 1988 to 1989.
Dr. Paige authored and co-authored numerous texts during her career, including articles for Teacher
Education and Practice and Race Gender and Class. She co-authored the textbook Baggage Claims,
and most recently, in 2022, she self published a memoir book of her search for her genealogical
roots on Amazon titled The Soundtrack of My Life. She was working on a sequel at the time of her death.
In the summer of 1950, at barely two years old, Dr. Paige was stricken with polio. She lived her life bravely
fighting its aftermath. In her own writing she says, “...I have the specter of post polio syndrome and very
few doctors seem to know anything about polio let alone this beast. Polio the virus still lives in me and
can reinfect the tissues it missed the first time through. It has stayed a lifetime and it has defined me,
made me strong and made me fight. It has given me compassion and drive and the desire to speak for
A voracious reader, Dr. Paige was knowledgeable in many areas. She enjoyed light gardening and loved
a good NFL and NHL matchup, following the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres closely. After moving to Florida,
she started watching her Florida teams as well. She enjoyed all kinds of music and attended many live theater
productions. She held season tickets to Shea’s in Buffalo for several years and traveled to New York City to see
“Hamilton” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” two of her favorite musicals, on Broadway.
Dr. Paige was a practicing Roman Catholic with a strong conviction in her faith. She attended Mass on a daily
basis and gave God the glory for the lessons and the blessings in her life, both things she shared with those
whom she came to know. She loved her family and her absence in the lives of those who know her will be deeply felt.
In addition to her parents, Dr. Paige was predeceased by her brother Robert Allen Paige on Feb. 3, 2023.
She is survived by her children Amanda (Evan Piotter) Botto-Piotter of Palmetto Florida, Jimmie (Kelly née Kester)
Botto of Dewittville, New York and Jenna (Scott Lassell) McPhee of Raleigh, North Carolina; grandchildren Izabella
Santell of Newark, New York, Olivia Horning of Newark, Jack Piotter of Palmetto, Arlo Piotter of Palmetto, Brayden
Botto of Dewittville, Cade Botto of Dewittville and Riley Paige Lassell of Raleigh; great-grandchild Alijah James Horning;
and brother James Bernard (Linda) Paige of Truth of Consequences, New Mexico.
Final arrangements were entrusted to Mackowiak Funeral Home, 56 E Doughty St., Dunkirk, NY, 14048.
Family will be present for visitation at the funeral home on Friday, April 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial
will be offered at Holy Trinity R.C. Church, 1032 Central Ave., Dunkirk, NY, on Saturday, April 29, beginning at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family gratefully requests memorial donations made in Dr. Paige’s name to Daughters of the
American Revolution by visiting www.dar.org
and clicking the give icon or to the Green Beret Foundation by visiting