HIGHLAND, Calif. (BP)–Susan Zinn, whose husband Rob Zinn is the immediate past chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, died at her home in Highland, Calif., Jan. 14 after battling a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. She was 51.
“She was a hostess for life, loved to do things for people and had an artistic gift when it came to colors and decorations,” Rob, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland for more than 30 years, told the San Bernardino County Sun after his wife’s death.
Rob and Sue met at Immanuel when she was in the church youth group and he was serving as the church’s youth minister, and they were married in 1973. Zinn told the Sun he was instantly attracted to her lively personality and desire to be a woman of God.
The couple helped Immanuel grow to more than 7,000 members, acquire a 40-acre campus and build a 2,000-seat worship center. Under their guidance the church has led California Baptists in baptisms and missions giving for several years.
Last summer, Rob, a former president of the California Southern Baptist Convention and a former first vice president of the SBC, was selected to preach the convention sermon at this year’s SBC annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
“We are saddened that Susan lost her battle against cancer,” Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, said in a statement to Baptist Press. “She was in Rob’s arms when she went home to be with the Lord. She was a wonderful Christian who loved Jesus and His church.
“Rob and Susan had a beautiful marriage and a profound love for each other,” Chapman added. “I know he will miss her terribly. We will pray that God will shower His love upon this family in their grief and that He will sustain and strengthen Rob as he faithfully carries on the work to which God called him years ago.”
Carolyn Barnes, a member of Immanuel, told the Sun that Sue was passionate about church ministry.
“She was the heart of the adult Sunday School class,” Barnes said, “ministering to members if they were ill by visiting and taking them food.”
And Sue’s mother, Barbara Hacker, told the Sun her daughter was artistically gifted.
“She could do anything from flower arranging to drawing and interior decorating,” Hacker said. “She was just a very good artist.”
Sue was diagnosed with cancer in September.
“It was a hard time, but God was good to us. He gave us some good days and we enjoyed them,” Rob said.
In addition to her husband, Sue is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Steven and Tabitha Zinn; two daughters, Cheryl Zinn and Lauren Zinn; and one grandson, all of Highland.
A memorial service for Sue is scheduled at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland Jan. 18, followed by a private burial.