Sue Gillespie, 68, and Mike Gillespie, 69, sadly watched Washington State University lose to rival University of Washington in the last game of the football season this year.
“Sue bleeds crimson,” Mike said.
Sue has rooted for WSU football from as early as six years old. She remembers listening to the game over the radio and relaying the play-by-play to her nervous father, who couldn’t stand the suspense. Sue’s father, Robert Schnebly, played center for the Cougars in WSU’s first appearance at the Rose Bowl in 1916. (His identical twin brother, Rufus, made some unannounced guest appearances in games when Robert tired.)
Sue received her education degree from WSU and taught for 10 years in Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma and Okinawa, Japan.
Sue and Mike recently established the “Golden Onion Award,” an annual fund for teachers to use for classroom supplies or for professional training. Three teachers—one from elementary, middle and high school—will each be awarded the $500 grant. The awards are peer nominated. Nomination forms are available at the Walla Walla Public Schools district office and the school district website.
Sue and Mike’s three children attended Walla Walla Public Schools. They have also hosted 22 international students through the friendship family program at Whitman College.
Sue is a regular volunteer at Helpline, a board member of the Kirkman House Museum and secretary for the Chamber Music board. This past spring, she joined the Walla Walla Gleaners, an organization that collects fresh produce left behind in fields and orchards, and donates the food to Helpline and other food banks. She also sells her sewing creations at the farmer’s market, and donates most of the proceeds to Helpline. Mike is a board member for Helpline, the Walla Walla Community College Foundation and the SOS Clinic. Mike, a retired orthopedic surgeon, practiced medicine in Walla Walla for 35 years.