Suzanne de Lima Knowles, known by friends and family as Sue II, and by her grandchildren as Nunu, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on October 25, 2023 at the age of 77.
Sue II, the eldest daughter of Oscar and Sue de Lima, grew up in North Stamford and attended New Canaan Country School through 9th grade, where she would later send her four children and would serve on its Board of Trustees. She attended high school at Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, where she would become friends with Nancy Knowles, whose older brother, Jimmy Knowles, would become the love of Sue II’s life. She graduated from Wheaton College with a BA and received her MA from Middlebury College in Madrid.
Sue II was a loving wife and a loyal partner to Jimmy. She adored him. She admired his passion for art and innovation, and supported him consistently and wholeheartedly. When Sue II’s father passed away in 1987, Sue II and Jimmy began a 30-year adventure of passionately running the Roger Smith Hotel in Midtown Manhattan together. Thanks to the culture of warmth and creativity that Sue II and Jimmy brought to the Hotel, the place became a center of artistic activity and energy, impacting the lives of many people over the years. At the Hotel, Sue II was the heart, the essential inn-keeper, a welcoming presence who made everyone feel like they had a place there and that they were home.
Sue II was a wonderful mother and grandmother to her own family, and she served as a caring and supportive maternal figure to countless others. She was fiercely protective of all who were lucky to be loved by her. She imparted great wisdom and words of advice always and she felt she could solve many of life’s problems by simply “pouring the love in.” Her door was always open, and her home provided a safe, warm and welcoming space for all.
We think of Sue II on the sunny terraces of Spain, sitting peacefully on a dock on Lake Temagami, standing rink side watching her kids and grandkids play hockey, laughing until she cried in a circle of dear friends and family around a beautifully set dinner table. Of course, we picture her standing at the front door of her home in Stamford - waving, watching visiting friends and family depart and sending well wishes for a safe journey.
The warmth, wisdom and gentleness she shared with so many will never be forgotten.
Sue II is survived by her husband of 53 years, James Knowles, her children, Phoebe Knowles (Pere Sanchez Frigola), Allie Thompson (Jeremy Thompson), James Knowles III (Maureen Knowles) and John Knowles (Danika Druttman) and her 12 grandchildren, Brooks, Jack, Morgan, and Whit Thompson, James IV, Oscar, Graham, and Alexander Knowles, Josie and Alexa Luongo, and Hugo and Monte Knowles. She is also survived by her sisters, Lisa de Lima and Virginia de Lima, and her sisters-in-law, Nancy Knowles and Marnie Keator.
A memorial service for Sue II will be held at St. Mark’s Church in New Canaan, CT on Thursday, December 14th at 2 pm, followed by a celebration of life in at Sue II and Jimmy’s home in North Stamford.