Theresa “Sue” Malone Sousa, 96, of Essex, CT, formerly of McLean, VA, died Friday, May 5, 2023, after a brief illness. Born in Winchester, VA, the daughter of Joseph Harrison and Lillie Lehigh Malone, she graduated from Stephens City High School in 1945 and took a job in Washington, D. C. In 1950, she enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and was called to active duty during the Korean Conflict. Based in Camp Pendleton, California, her first assignment was driving a jeep to deliver mail, providing occasions to chauffeur and socialize with the stars of the film “Flying Leathernecks”—John Wayne, Robert Ryan, etc.
Passionate about softball, Sousa played semi-professionally in D.C., and at Pendleton played on the Women Marines’ team and the top-rated civilian team —the California Ramblers in Los Angeles.
Her 32-year federal government career began in 1952 at the Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey, and covered a broad range of assignments — notably being Exhibits and Information Officer for a joint venture between the Department of the Interior and NASA. This cooperative effort resulted in NASA launching the first satellite devoted exclusively to the study of the Earth and its resources (Landsat). As U.S. Government representative, Sousa designed, installed, and manned exhibits about the project for the Spokane World’s Fair and scientific conferences in Stockholm, Manila, Cairo, San Juan, Paris, etc. (Landsat 9 continues to orbit the earth, sending back data about climate change and helping to power Google Earth.) Sousa ended her government career as Chief Visual Information Officer for all of U.S. Geological Survey.
In 1960, she was invited to join a committee spearheading a new organization—the Women Marines Association. Engaged and active in every facet, she served as National President from 1974-1976 and was a presence at every national convention until the year before her death, lending her wit and wisdom as Mistress of Ceremonies and Installing Officer. Among WMA members, she is affectionally known as “Our Founding Mother.”
She is survived by her sister Nancy and brother-in-law Woodbridge D’Oench of Old Saybrook, CT; her longtime friend Eileen Scanlon of Essex, CT; nieces and their husbands — Sarah (Thomas Jenei) of Grafton, MA; Susannah (Leonardo Cardoso Salvador) of San Francisco, CA; also Carol Hedleston of Valrico, FL, and a great nephew Benjamin Jenei.
She was predeceased by a sister, Beulah Malone Smith; three brothers—Joseph, Howard, and David Malone, and a nephew Stephen Malone.
A service in her memory is being planned for a later date at the Women in Military Service to America (WIMSA) Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery. Sousa served on the founding board of the Memorial for 17 years.
Her friends and fans, the lives she touched, span the nation and circle the globe. Semper Fi.
The family thanks the staff at Essex Meadows Health Center for the care and caring they gave this special person during the last months of her life.
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