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Emma Sue Wing

February 28, 2023
Emma Sue Wing
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Obituary for Emma Sue Wing

Emma Sue Brown Wing passed away peacefully on February 28, 2023. The pillars of her life – her family and her faith – brought her joy throughout her 97 years on earth and loving support throughout her journey to heaven.

Emma Sue was an extraordinary mother, wife, twin sister, medical secretary, caregiver and hostess, well-known for the colorful stories she told of her remarkable life. She and her twin sister Mary Ann were born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, with their two older brothers Andrew and Charles. Their father died when the twins were just five, leaving their mother, Sue Hill Brown, with four young children to support in the midst of the Great Depression. A petite woman with a will of iron, Emma Sue’s mother became the first Child Welfare Worker in Huntington, inspiring Emma Sue to leave home and pursue her own career as a medical secretary at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

It was in Baltimore that Emma Sue met the love of her life – a handsome new doctor and native Rhode Islander, Dr. Elihu S. Wing Jr. She saw his resume and photo at the hospital, and soon after boldly approached him in church. “Hello Dr. Wing,” she said, causing him to blush. That night, she famously wrote her mother “Tonight I met the man I’m going to marry, and he doesn’t even know my name.” They were married six months later.

In 1952, Dr. Wing brought his beautiful southern bride back to Providence, RI to join his father’s medical practice. They opened an office on the lower level of their gracious Victorian home on Humboldt Avenue. There, they raised their three children and hosted countless dinner parties and especially festive Christmas parties.

The Central Baptist Church –- now known as the Community Church of Providence – was a focal point of Emma Sue and Eli’s life. Emma Sue was one of the church’s first female deacons, president of the Women’s Society, and a co-founder of the East Side Nursery School, located in a wing of the church. She also served on the Board of Managers of the R.I. State Council of Churches and was a member of the R.I. Hospital Medical Auxiliary as well as the Junior League. Emma Sue gave generously of her time to anyone in need. She was also an avid reader, knitter, and accomplished bridge player. Her love of chocolate was family folklore, and her recipes for such signature dishes as ham biscuits and sweet potato pone have been lovingly passed down through the generations.

Emma Sue was predeceased by her twin sister Mary Ann Parrish (Jack) of Puyallup, Washington and her husband of 59 years, Dr. Elihu Wing. She is survived by her three children: Marisue Wing McGee (Edward) of Riverside, RI; Elihu Stephen Wing (Wendy) of Barrington, RI; and Laura Wing Breckenridge (John) of Rye, NY. She is also survived by her five doting grandchildren: Abigail Wing Douek (Marc) of Raleigh, NC; Rachel Wing Swanson (Alex) of Raleigh, NC; Jackie Breckenridge Chapin (Alex) of New York, NY; Tyler Breckenridge (fiancé Isabelle Mackell) of New York, NY; and Sarah Breckenridge of New York, NY. Emma Sue was also blessed with four great-grandchildren: Landon Eli Douek; Lily Grayson Douek; Amelia Emma Meier Swanson; and Eli Michael Swanson. Emma Sue’s extended family was also dear to her heart, as were the caregivers who offered loving comfort in the end.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 am on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at the Community Church of Providence, 372 Wayland Avenue, Providence, followed by a reception at Laurelmead, 355 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Emma Sue’s memory to the Community Church of Providence.

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