Trumbull teacher who was ‘like a second mom to everybody’ dies at 74

TRUMBULL — When Colleen Peters was applying to graduate school in 2016, she needed to write an essay.

At first, Peters — who graduated from Trumbull High School in 2000 — wasn’t sure what to write about. Looking for help and inspiration, she turned to Susan Berescik.

Berescik was not only Peters’s English teacher and high school yearbook adviser, but also a guiding force in her life and the lives of many others.

“She was basically like a second mom to everybody — always smiling, always willing to help and always there for anybody at any time,” Peters said.

Berescik died Monday at age 74, after battling cancer for more than 20 years. Though she retired from Trumbull Public Schools in 2010, many of those whose lives she touched through her work remained in contact with her.

That included Peters, now 40, who said writing that graduate school essay was a good excuse for her to reach out to Berescik and ask for help. Berescik eagerly invited her over to share her advice, and a meal, with her former student.

“She cooked for me,” Peters marveled. “I went to her for help and she cooked for me.”

But that kind of generosity was typical of Berescik, she said. “She was always glad to see her kids,” Peters said.

When Peters, who now lives in Rhode Island, learned that Berescik’s illness had gotten worse, she traveled to Connecticut to see her old teacher. Peters ended up seeing Berescik only days before she died, and the time was meaningful, Peters said.

“I was able to kind of let her know that (the graduate school essay Berescik helped with) led to big things, big changes and big opportunities,” Peters said. “I’m so grateful that I went. She was the nicest person on the planet — an absolute model human being.”

Others touched by Berescik’s commitment and kindness include First Selectman Vicki Tesoro.

“I knew Sue well when my girls were at Trumbull High School,” Tesoro said. “She was a beloved teacher. This is a loss for the Trumbull community. My condolences to her family.”

In addition to teaching, Berescik served as a writer and editor for the Trumbull Times and other local newspapers. Berescik also loved to travel, and maintained a travel blog, Travels with Suzi.

“She put her heart into anything she did,” said her daughter, Tara Berescik Burke. “She loved the students and the teachers. It was the people aspect of teaching that she really loved.”

In addition to Bukre, Berescik is survived by her husband Andrew, her son Drew, her son-in-law, Michael Burke, sisters Carol Schoenberg and Jean Johnson, and sister-in-law, Dorothy (Berescik) Bizub.

Friends and family are invited to attend Berescik’s funeral services at 7 p.m. Monday at the Cyril F. Mullins Funeral Home, 399 White Plains Road in Trumbull with the Reverend Inkoo Chung officiating. Interment will be private.

Friends may call on Monday from 4 p.m. until the time of service. Masks are required.

For more information or to leave an online condolence, visit http://www.mullinsfh.com.