By Rebecca Billman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Susan Riser, a teacher at St. William School in Price Hill for 25 years, died of a heart attack Saturday at Mercy Franciscan-Western Hills Campus.
The Price Hill resident was 70.
Mrs. Riser taught nearly 2,000 children during her 37-year career, using humor to teach lasting lessons, said her daughter, Roberta Jennings of Price Hill.
She was the first to teach sex education at St. William and was featured in the local newspaper in 1984 when she sent hard-boiled eggs with baby faces painted on them home with 46 students.
The youngsters were to baby sit and protect their charges. Only 37 of the "babies" came back undamaged 24 hours later. It proved to be a fun lesson in responsibility.
Teaching brought much satisfaction to Mrs. Riser, who once wrote: "Children light up so brightly when they are able to apply a lesson just learned to a problem they are experiencing in their lives."
In her quest to discover the best way to teach a skill, she sought input and help from her husband, Robert "Bud" Riser. He "drove to the four corners of Ohio for school supplies and taught me how to best teach how to subtract a fraction from a whole number," Mrs. Riser wrote. "He was my strength and my protection, and I owe any success in my life to him."
Her parting words to her children were always a quote from Robert Browning: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp; or what's a heaven for?"
Her daughter said that she "lived by the adage of dream big, work hard, achieve much."
Mrs. Riser was born in Dickinson, N.D., to immigrant parents. Her widowed mother moved her and her late sister, Cathy, to Los Angeles in 1941, where Mrs. Riser earned a bachelor's degree in education from Mount St. Mary College in 1953.
After her college graduation, she met her future husband, who proposed to her in Mount Storm Park. Mrs. Riser began her teaching career at Summit Country Day School in Hyde Park, teaching third-grade boys. She later taught at St. John the Baptist School in Over-the-Rhine, Holy Family School in Price Hill, Our Lady of Victory School in Delhi Township and St. John in Dry Ridge. During those years she also gave birth to four children.
She began teaching at St. William in 1966 and remained there until her retirement in 1991.
She loved lemonade and hot dogs - grilled almost to the point of being burnt - country music as well as that of Whitney Houston, watching ice skating and reading poetry - especially that of Helen Hunt Jackson and Robert Louis Stevenson.
In addition to her daughter, Roberta, survivors include: Bud, her husband of 48 years; two other daughters, Kathe Feist of Delhi Township and Karen Jones of Colerain Township; a son, Karl Riser of Westwood; and seven grandchildren.
Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. today at Meyer & Geiser Funeral Home, 4989 Glenway Ave. in Westwood. The funeral is at 10 a.m. Thursday at Holy Family Church, 814 Hawthorne Ave. in Price Hill. Burial will be at St. Joseph New Cemetery in Price Hill.
Memorials: A. Susan Riser Scholarship Fund, St. William School, 4125 St. William Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45205.
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