Magazine Fall 2023 Persistence, Pets and Friendships

By Sharon Savely Odegaard ’72

TED ’71 and SUE SOLOMON JANOSSY ’71 live once again in Santa Barbara, retiring in the beautiful city where they attended Westmont and met — and where their foundation of faith grew strong.

Sue was the first deaf student at Westmont. She contracted meningitis at age 3, which led to profound deafness. As a youngster, she chose to lip-read and speak as her primary form of communication. “It wasn’t easy,” she says. “I had to figure out how to get notes from my classmates as I couldn’t hear lectures. Before computers, smartphones and transcription apps, I stapled carbon paper to a blank sheet and put it under a classmate’s paper. This method got me through high school, four years of Westmont and two years of Loma Linda University, where I enrolled in the dental hygiene program. It was hard work. It took persistence.”

Ted showed a different kind of persistence. He kept trying to convince Sue to marry him. She turned down his first two proposals. “But somehow, we seemed to find each other again and again,” Sue says. “I say with a smile that we broke up 99 times and got together 100 times.” They married 10 years after they met at Westmont.

Ted graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and practiced anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Westmont prepared me well academically for medical school, taught me a lot about God, the Bible and being a Christian, and gave me friendships that have lasted through the years,” he says.

Sue also found lifelong friends. “My Clark Hall Suite P suitemates formed a friendship group that has endured for more than 50 years,” she says. “We still call ourselves the Sweet Peas. We’re bonded by our deep love for Christ and appreciation for our alma mater.”

Both Ted and Sue cite Robert Gundry’s Bible class as most memorable. A relatively new Christian, Ted especially found it informative and helpful. Sue appreciated studying the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

The couple has named the college as a beneficiary of their trust and belong to Westmont’s Wallace Emerson Society. “We want future generations to experience the challenges, the academic and scriptural teaching, the friendships, and the general beauty of Westmont,” Ted says. Recently, they established a scholarship endowment for pre-med and nursing students.

While Ted worked long hours, Sue got a young English Cocker Spaniel that turned out to be show quality. After learning how to show and groom her dog, she spent 25 years traveling to dog shows with her English Cocker Spaniels. Later she worked in a kennel and groomed all breeds of dogs, coming home happy and covered with dog hair! She also specialized in creating realistic portraits of dogs, working in oil, acrylics, and graphite.

Both Ted and Sue volunteer at Cottage Hospital, she in the office. “When they found out I do dog portraits, they asked me to do pencil drawings of the volunteer therapy dogs,” Sue says. Ted works as a patient ambassador, leading visitors and patients to their destinations and taking discharged patients to their rides home. With the long hallways at Cottage, he may walk 4 to 5 miles each shift. Ted also plays in the euphonium section with The Prime Time Band of Santa Barbara.

These two alums have learned how to persevere, thrive and enjoy life.