An Adventist fifth-grade teacher was killed in a motorcycle
accident just two months into her new job, sending shockwaves through her
school near the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in
Maryland and the surrounding Adventist community.
Suzanne Patricia Miller, 38, died on the afternoon of
Sunday, Sept. 28, when her 2008 Suzuki GSXR 600 motorcycle struck a car on the
I-97 highway outside Washington D.C., the Capital Gazette newspaper reported,
citing state police.
Miller, who was traveling with a group of motorcyclists, had
attempted to pass the car in the left lane, police said. The 19-year-old driver
of the car, seeing that Miller was approaching at a high speed, pulled into the
left lane, too.
Miller was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Miller had recently started working at the Takoma Park,
Maryland-based Sligo Adventist School, which teaches children ages 2½ through
eighth grade, including many whose parents work at the General Conference
headquarters in nearby Silver Spring.
“Suzanne had been teaching at Sligo School for just two
months, but in that time she brought much fun, laughter, positivity and warmth
to the school,” said Don McFarlane, a pastor at the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist
Church, who joined several pastors in providing counseling at the school this
“As we were beginning to understand and appreciate her, she
was tragically snatched away from her family, her church, Sligo School and her
grade five students, whom she loved exceedingly,” McFarlane said in a letter to
Weymouth Spence, president of Washington Adventist
University, which is also in Takoma Park, said he was praying for Miller’s
family and the church community.
“The loss of this young and beloved teacher is clearly a
devastating tragedy that is difficult to bear, particularly for her family, her
friends, and her students at Sligo Adventist School,” he said in a statement.
Information about survivors and funeral arrangements
was not immediately available.
McFarlane said his talks with grieving Sligo School staff had
reassured him that God remained in control despite the unexplainable loss.
“God brought together a wonderful group of people to care
for our children at Sligo School,” he said. “He has allowed one to be taken
from us, but the candle of her life will never go out in the lives of the
children she served and in the hearts of her colleagues.”