Susan Cassell Heavens

October 12, 1956 - November 9, 2021 West Chester, PA | Age 65

Susan Cassell Heavens, age 65, of West Chester, PA, passed away on Tuesday, November 9, at Rosemont Center in Bryn Mawr.

Above all else, Susan was two things: a mother and a teacher. Her deep love and devotion for both were rooted in her soul and life’s mission.

Susan was born and raised in Aston, PA to parents Frank and Betty Cassell, who were forever the guiding forces in her life, well beyond their days on this earth. She shared this blessing with her sister Jackie Battinieri and brother James Cassell, all three siblings united in the closeness and family bond that Frank and Betty built.

Susan would grow up to be feisty and independent – and she definitely knew how to have fun. Her childhood and teen years in Delco would lead to lifelong friendships she’d carry through to the rest of her life. A 1974 graduate of Notre Dame High School in Moylan, PA, she’d take her best Irish girlfriends well into adulthood – always together, dancing their way through all of life’s chapters by each other’s sides.

Graduating from Penn State University in 1978, Susan went on to build a beautiful career in education. She held a number of positions over the years, teaching children of all ages, and impacting the lives and educational journeys of countless students along the way.

A particular career highlight includes her time as Preschool Director at the Southern Chester County YMCA, where she fully developed the program’s early childhood curriculum from the ground up, and vastly expanded the preschool program in both size and breadth. Her final professional role was as a teacher at St. Joseph’s School in Downingtown, where she brought the joy of writing and reading to her 7th and 8th grade students who adored her.

Susan instilled that same love of learning in her own children, Patrick Heavens and Colleen Heavens, who were her absolute pride and joy. Capturing the depth of love she had for her two children on the page would be impossible. But it was boundless and enduring – a love so deep that it truly shaped them into the strong, compassionate individuals they’ve become.

Susan and Matt Heavens raised them in West Grove, PA, where they shared so many happy memories as a family. Christmas mornings, Susan’s delicious cooking and baking, Kisses the dog, the piano being played and music always on… Their home was filled with a profound love that Susan fostered and treasured.

In addition to her children, Susan was passionate about many of the things she held dear. She was a fiercely loyal friend and an unabashed, untamed Irish woman. The beach was her favorite place in the world, and the sound of the ocean brought her peace and clarity. Her sense of humor was off the charts, and perhaps the only thing she loved more than laughing was dancing – or better yet, doing both at the same time.

From Joni to Bruce, music was a part of Susan’s soul. She loved live music and grew up playing the piano. Her other favorite place to dance was at the annual Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and she also brought all of that spunk and creativity into her classroom.

Susan was a deep thinker. She loved reading and philosophy, and had a great gift for writing. This was matched with her emotional intelligence – always feeling deeply, and like her own mom, standing solid in her identity as someone who wore their heart on their sleeve.

She looked at the world with curiosity and wonder. She loved traveling and seeing new places with fresh eyes, with an openness and beautiful mind for understanding that we’re part of something bigger. And she wove this into how she educated and how she raised her children. In addition to being survived by her children Colleen and Patrick (Alison Heavens), she is also survived by three beautiful grandchildren, Connor Heavens, Madelyn Heavens, and Kennedy Heavens.

Her life was beautiful and joy-filled. But Susan would never shy away from the honesty of where we gain our strength – in life’s hardest moments. When it came to strength, she had no shortage of it. Susan was a fighter. Even after a diagnosis of dementia that would eventually take her from us, Susan’s love for her children, music, and her smile never waned. But now, in her passing, it’s finally time for her to receive the peace she has long deserved.

You are invited to visit with Susan’s family and friends from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday morning, November 16, at Assumption BVM Church, 300 State Road, West Grove, PA 19390. Her Mass will follow at 11:00. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Kennett Square, PA.


Funeral Mass

November 16, 2021 11 AM Assumption BVM Church
300 State Road
West Grove, PA 19390


  1. Dear Jackie and family, I am sorry to learn of your sister’s passing. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Susan, it sounds like she was a hoot and loved her life fully. May your family gain peace knowing that she spent her time on earth creating joy, comfort, excitement, and love in the lives of others.

    JoAnna Stump | November 23, 2021 at 10:05 AM
  2. She sounds like a wonderful sister and friend. I’m so sorry to hear of her passing

    Lynn Fitzgibbon | November 22, 2021 at 12:58 PM
  3. Dear Jackie and Family,
    What a beautifully written obituary. I feel like I know Susan, and that is what an obituary is meant to do. A life well lived whose influence will be felt by many for the unforeseen future. Her soul is now at peace. May God grant you all courage and strength in the days ahead.
    Most Sincerely,
    Lois Vanderburg

    Lois Vanderburg | November 21, 2021 at 6:05 PM
  4. Jackie and family, so sorry for the loss of your sister. I just get this message today. I’m sure you have wonderful memories to carry you through the sad days. That was a wonderful written tribute to Susan. I only met her one time but got very positive and cheerful feeling from her.
    Prayers for your peace.

    Robin Martin | November 21, 2021 at 5:52 PM
  5. Jackie, I met your sister when I attended your father’s viewing. She was sweet, caring and intelligent- just like you!! I cannot imagine what a loss it is to your family to have such a spirited and loving woman pass to dementia! It is with a heavy heart that I ask for God’s comfort and peace be with you and yours during the days to come. Please know she is dancing in a better place!

    Carol Little | November 21, 2021 at 4:25 PM
  6. So sad to hear of Sue’s passing. I’ll always remember her as kind, funny, caring, and encouraging. She gave my two boys everything they needed in preschool at the Y to equip them for their school years. She also was my first boss and mentor when I began working there. My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to her entire family.

    Sue Keller | November 15, 2021 at 4:47 PM
  7. To the Heavens family… Sue hired me in 1999 at the YMCA in Jennersville. I worked there in the Preschool department for 20 years. She was a wonderful person and a great boss and am thankful she gave me the opportunity to work in childcare. I was so sorry to hear about her passing. My sincere condolences to her loved ones. May she rest in heavenly peace.

    Tina Park | November 15, 2021 at 10:29 AM
  8. I am so sorry to hear of Susan’s passing. I so enjoyed my time working with her at the Y.M.C.A. pre school children. We had so much fun. Susan was always upbeat and loved the children. Susan will be missed. Sue Matthews

    Susan M Matthews | November 15, 2021 at 12:11 AM
  9. Although I do not know you, I send my deepest and sincere condolences on the loss of a wonderful human being. I also lost my mother last year to early onset Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 66. I understand the battle, the horror, and the strength it takes to help a loved one through this horrible disease. You have written a beautiful tribute to your mother. May she now be at peace and free from the cage of dementia. Prayers and condolence to all of you.

    Christopher Carozzo | November 14, 2021 at 4:09 PM
  10. Jackie, sorry for your loss I Remember your sister, grew up down the street from you. We went to dancing school at desireos as kids I also lived in west Grove for 13 years May she rest in peace 🕊️🕊️

    Michelle Savitski Stanton | November 12, 2021 at 8:34 PM
  11. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the Heavens Family.

    Sue LaFemina | November 12, 2021 at 5:50 PM
  12. Sorry for your loss
    Prayers for the family

    Debbie Murtha Pitt ((class of 74) | November 12, 2021 at 5:47 PM
  13. Very sorry hearing of Sue passing. A wonderful lady who taught our children in preschool up in the Jennersville YMCA. Always smiling always positive with the children. With heartfelt sympathy.
    Michael & Maryann Conner

    Michael Conner | November 12, 2021 at 10:31 AM
  14. Sending love to the Heavens family

    Jenn McCracken | November 11, 2021 at 11:31 PM
  15. Patrick, Colleen and Matt – I am so sorry to get this news. You were great neighbors in West Grove and your Mom was a wonderful preschool teacher to Shannon, Christian and Riley. I have such fond memories. My heart goes out to you and I will keep you in my prayers.
    Lillian Miller

    Lillian Miller | November 11, 2021 at 9:34 PM
  16. Dear Jackie, Jim, Patrick and Colleen and the extended family,
    I feel like I know Susan from such a beautifully written expression of love. My deepest condolences on the loss of your sister, mother, and dear friend. Cherished memories of Susan will be forever in your heart. With love and sympathy,
    Carol Campenni

    Carol Campenni | November 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM
  17. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful obituary I’ve ever read! It’s an extraordinary piece of writing and expresses Susan’s loyalty, devotion, love, intelligence and zest for living. She’s now in a peaceful place with her maker in Heaven and her wonderful Mom and Dad.

    Jewell Thacher | November 11, 2021 at 4:47 PM
  18. Sorry for your loss

    Hadley Pennock III | November 11, 2021 at 3:18 PM

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