Susan Garrison


 Garrison PhotoHeritage Park Bench & Tree Grove – Dean Crane  (TOB Director of Parks & Recreation) and Kelly Mattingly (TOB Director of Public Works) conceived of this memorial and chose a location, at Blacksburg’s Heritage Park, for a memorial bench with a plaque honoring Susan.  The bench is near the picnic pavilion, close to the upper parking lot off of Glade Road in Blacksburg.  The bench was selected and prepared at virtually no cost to the Town, because it was removed from its location on College Avenue during this street’s  reconstruction during 2012-13 and was restored to new condition by Tony Bland.  (We believe that Susan would be so pleased that her memorial bench was a recycled one!)  Twelve trees were planted near the bench to form the beginning of a new grove of trees whose numbers will double, with the help of volunteer planters, during Arbor Day, 2013.  All of these trees were from the Town’s tree nursery located near the Parks & Recreation Office on Patrick Henry Road.  We understand that visitors to Susan’s bench are already referring to the beautiful view, overlooking Tom’s Creek Valley, as “SUSAN’S VIEW”.

Endowment Fund – An endowment to Susan’s memory has been created through the Community Foundation of the NRV.  This endowment will last in perpetuity; the interest-income generated will provide the Town of Blacksburg with a modest source of funding year after year.  “The Susan Garrison Memorial Fund provides financial resources to the Town of Blacksburg for its use in projects / initiatives that promote or support environmental awareness, sustainability, and/or community beautification.”

Individuals interested in contributing to Susan’s memorial fund may do so in one of two ways.

By check:  Made payable to the Community Foundation of the NRV.  Note “Susan Garrison Memorial Fund” on the check’s memo line.  Mail to Community Foundation of the New River Valley, P.O. Box 6009, Christiansburg, VA 24068.

Online: Credit card gifts can be made online at  Select the option, “I would like my (our) donation to benefit a fund:”, then scrolldowwn tothe section labeled “Conservation and Preservation of Natural and HIstorical Resources” and choose the “Susan Garrison Memorial fund.”

 Brief Curriculum Vitae

Susan Elizabeth Garrison was born on 15 July 1962 and died on 20 February 2013 after a two-year battle with Stage IV Glioblastoma Multiforme (a form of brain cancer).

Susan earned her BS, MS, and MBA degrees from Virginia Tech.  She began her 25 years of service to Blacksburg as its first horticulturalist, establishing the Landscaped Medium and Downtown Hanging Baskets Programs, and she retired as the town’s first Environmental Manager.  She helped establish Blacksburg’s Sustainability Week, Climate Protection Program, Energy Management Program, Community Energy Assistance Program, Electronic Recycling Program, and the NRV Livability Initiative.  Susan was awarded the 2011 Virginia Municipal League’s Green Government Challenge Award, the 2009 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Blacksburg’s Environmental Management System Program, and the 2008 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Sustainability Week 2007.  She was a founding member of Sustainable Blacksburg’s Board of Directors, and served on the board of the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals, and a member of many other professional organizations.

Ode to Susan

by Jean Elliott

We encourage you to leave a reply with your memories of Susan…