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From the International President

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


Cynthia Hirsch Ortiz, RDI

It is with great sadness that I share the passing of two members of our Chicago | Great Lakes Chapter.


Joseph Peter “Joe” Sus, Jr. passed away March 3, 2021. Joe was the loving husband of Gina (nee Moskowitz) and proud father of Clare and Joey.


Joe joined the Institute in 2018 as a Professional member, but had been involved with the association for a decade, said fellow member Matt Nurre. “Joe was a kind-hearted guy who was truly passionate about the retail design trade to his core,” Nurre added.


At the time of his passing, Joe was store designer and telecom coordinator for Pete’s Fresh Market, the Chicago-based family-owned regional grocery chain. In November, Joe led the Chicago | Great Lakes Chapter’s “Virtually Frozen Turkey Trot” tour of Peter’s Fresh Market newest location.

He was a 1999 graduate of Purdue University, working as a Walgreens service clerk from his senior year in high school and while in college. Joe would begin his professional career as a designer for Walgreens in its Deerfield, Ill., headquarters and remain there for the next 13 years. Before joining Pete’s, Joe spent two years as an interior designer at Johnson Design Group, Chicago. Joe also had experience in designing and installing TDM and IP Telephone systems.


In 2015-16, Joe was a background actor in Chicago Fire, cast as a neighborhood resident, a political supporter, and a regular patron at Molly’s Bar.


Donations to Clare and Joey’s education fund. Contact www.smithcorcoran.com for more information.


Rosalind "Roz" Strapko, 56, passed away May 20, 2021, in her Algonquin, Ill., home, surrounded by her loving family.


In 1997, Roz was hired as a sales associate with MEG Store Fixtures, where she stayed for 11 years. She remained on the fixture side of the business working as business development director for Fleetwood and then for High Country before joining Sparks in 2019 as account director, the position she held at the time of her passing.


She joined the Institute through the Chicago Chapter in 2000 as an Allied member. Most recently Roz step up to serve on the International Events Committee.


Since 2017, Roz was involved with PANDAS Network, an organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis and treatment of children with PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome).


Roz is survived by her husband John; her daughter Hannah; siblings Susan Johnson and Trina Wilton; brother-in-law George (Peggy) Strapko; father-in-law Gregory (late Janina) Strapko. She was also a fond aunt to many.

A Celebration of Life gathering is planned for Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a Time of Sharing to begin at 2:00 p.m. at Willow Funeral Home & Cremation Care, 1415 W. Algonquin Rd., Rolling Meadows, IL 60008.


In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123; 800-227-2345.


“A heart of gold, a smile of pure joy, a kindness that extended to all she knew. That was Roz.”


Cynthia Hirsch, RDI International President Retail Design Institute

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