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In Memoriam: Susan Zarebicki

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Campus community remembers Department of Communication administrative assistant

​This article was originally published in UDaily on March 26, 2021.

Written by UDaily staff

Susan Zarebicki, who was administrative assistant II in the University of Delaware Department of Communication, passed away on Feb. 17, 2021. She was 65.

Employed at the University from August 2006 until November 2020, she was an operational processing associate in Student Financial Services before joining the Department of Communication. She also served on the Advisory Council for Non-Exempt Staff.​

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A treasured colleague

Photo of Susan Zarebicki

Susan Zarebicki

​Several friends and colleagues at the University shared memories of Ms. Zarebicki.​

“Susan was the kind of person that you knew really cared about you. She always had a smile to offer and empathy for others. You could see it in how she interacted with every single student and faculty member. She was wonderful, a positive person who was authentic and a joy to be around.” -- Kami Silk, chairperson, Department of Communication ​

“I first met Susan (Zee) when I was an undergraduate in the Department of Communication. During this time, she always provided a smile, positive attitude and guidance to my desired problem…. She brightened the room through her mere presence.” -- Christopher Volker, associate director of oral communication, University Writing Center ​

“When I came to UD as a freshman I was a little lost and felt in over my head, but I knew that if I came to the Communication office that Zee would be there with a smile, an encouraging word, and a sense of calm…. Years after I graduated and left the department, I returned to campus and stopped by the office. I was delighted to see Zee and touched that she remembered and greeted me by name. Zee was a warm and genuine person who is greatly missed.” -- Laura Broomell, Ph.D. student, Department of Communication

“Zee was a welcoming presence and a patient teacher when I joined the communication department’s business office as a miscellaneous wage…. She was both a good listener and a decisive administrator. As a person, she was both kind and incredibly strong. I feel thankful to have known her.” – Stephanie Doroba, administrative assistant, Center for Political Communication

“Zee was a lovely light in our office at all times…. She kept candy and tissues on her desk for anyone who needed either. In a way, those two things show what Zee gave all of us every day: She made everything a little bit sweeter and supported everyone in an essential and kind way. Her smile made everything better!” -- Tracey Holden, assistant professor of communication

“Few people could fill a room with just a smile like Zee…. I can only imagine how much her family misses that smile. I know I do and always will. -- Nancy Karibjanian, associate director, Center for Political Communication

“Throughout my undergraduate and graduate career as a communication student, I frequented our department’s Pearson Hall office. Zee was always there to genuinely ask how I was doing. Despite my knowing how busy she was, it always seemed as if she had all the time in the world to talk to me. ‘How are your classes, your students?’ she’d ask…. I truly believe if we had more Susan Zarebeckis around, we’d all be a lot better off.” -- Nicholas Gadino, Ph.D. student, Department of Communication

“Zee was so supportive professionally and she was there as a friend, too, when we needed her…. She was a kind person and was the go-to for so many issues in our department. She will be truly missed.” -- Lindsay Hoffman, associate professor of communication

“From discussion about University policies to deep conversations about kids, we had so much in common. She was always so happy and so interested in life…. She was such an important part of the lives of so many people. I will miss her always.” -- Lydia Timmins, associate professor of communication

“Zee was our department’s bright light and warm heart…. With her work, Zee was the go-to person for everything. Her knowledge and ability to handle problems always helped. But more importantly, she truly cared about us all -- and we loved her for it…. She was one of a kind and we will never stop missing her.” -- Scott Caplan, professor of communication

“Zee was such an amazing presence in our department and daily lives. She always had a positive attitude and a great sense of humor… You could count on her for so many things -- not just help with this problem or that; she was there for everyone emotionally…. I’m so grateful that I got to know her and have her in my life on a daily basis. Her energy was such a blessing.” -- Steve Mortenson, professor of communication

“It is hard to imagine our main office without Zee’s presence. You could count on her warm, genuine smile every time you entered. She would help with anything you needed, or would point you to who could help.” -- Jenny Lambe, associate professor of communication

“There are no words to say how much I will miss Zee. For now, I will just say that I cherish all my happy memories of her. Her light shone so brightly for all of us. -- Juliet Dee, associate professor of communication​

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About Susan Zarebicki

​Ms. Zarebicki was married to her husband, Jan, for nearly 22 years. An avid lover of travel, she visited many places throughout Europe, South and Central America and the United States. A friend to many, she loved the beach, beading and spending time with friends and family.

She is survived by her daughters, Kate Owens (Jon) and Kristyn Turner (Dalton); her sister, Julie Koffenberger (George); cousin, Alisa Campbell (Rich); nieces, Laura and Jennifer Koffenberger; and grandson, Jude Owens. She was predeceased by her husband, Jan, and parents, Rosalyn and Jack Munze.

A celebration of Ms. Zarebicki’s life will be held in Delaware when the public health risk has passed. Donations in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.​

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