Murphy Funeral Homes


Susan Dee McCluskey

April 29, 1952October 22, 2021
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Susan Dee McCluskey, 69, of Arlington, Virginia, died Friday, October 22, 2021. She grew up in Wausa, Nebraska, attended college at the University of Denver, and received her Juris Doctorate from Cornell Law School.

She retired with 35 years of service with the Federal Labor Relations Authority. She was active at Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church, and could usually be found in the church kitchen or conducting business from her typical pew on Sunday mornings. She loved traveling and exploring new destinations and being a regular at her favorite restaurants, but she was happiest when surrounded by her loud and loving family, a term that she defined as broadly as possible.

She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Charles Gray; children: Charles (Caroline) and Johanna (Dave); and granddaughter: Clara. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Sue’s name may be made to La Cocina VA, a non-profit that uses the power of food to create social and economic change in low-income communities.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, October 30th at 11 AM at Mt Olivet UMC, 1500 N. Glebe Road Arlington VA. For those that would like to attend the service please go the link below to register:

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the McCluskey/Gray family.


  • A Celebration of Life

    Saturday, October 30, 2021


Susan Dee McCluskey

have a memory or condolence to add?

jeanne marie corrado

November 2, 2021

Sue was one of my very first supervisors when I got out of law school. She was kind and funny and took what was my less than stellar writing, and turned it around. I was grateful for her patience. One night when the office was just about empty, the phone rang. When I picked it up, the person asked for Mrs. Gray. I told them with the utmost confidence that there was no Mrs. Gray in our office. Luckily, Sue heard the phone ring too and asked who it was. When I said - oh wrong number they were looking for a Mrs. Gray, she laughed so hard (I can still hear it) and told me Gray was her married name. I never forgot that and still chuckle when the same thing happens to me now. I wish the Gray family comfort and peace as you navigate this grief.

Bob Swift

October 31, 2021

The Gray Family: My prayers are with you during this difficult time. I have wonderful memories of Sue and of you all. The service was so moving! Blessings now and in the coming days and years! -Bob Swift

Julie Clark

October 30, 2021

Sue’s generous spirit and keen wit made spending time with her a pure joy. I am grateful for the chance to work with and learn from her. She was a tremendous loss to the FLRA when she retired. Yet her radiant smile as she said her goodbyes left no doubt that spending time with her family brought her the greatest happiness. I wish her family comfort in the memories of her great love for them.

David Eddy

October 30, 2021

Sue has been many things to me - a boss, a professional and personal role model, a surrogate mom, a friend. She gave me my first “real” job, at the FLRA, in 1997. When I left for a new adventure in 2006, she gave me the entry from her “quote of the day” desk calendar, which read: “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” (Helen Keller). Sue’s life was unquestionably the former. I will miss her tremendously.

Carrie Empie

October 29, 2021

"Tante" (Aunt) Sue and "Om" (Uncle) Chuck opened their arms and scooped us up for family dinner Sundays when we moved to VA in 2008. It was an absolute blessing to be welcomed and comforted by our cousins. We laughed, cried, ate amazing food, worked on puzzles (well my husband did! She called him the "rainman of puzzlers") and made countless memories. A fond memory I have was when Tante Sue and Om Chuck came to our home with casseroles to ease us in our transition to parenthood. She comforted me through the tricky moments of being a new, very nervous momma and gave me hilarious advice about parenthood, she said "honey, dispite our best efforts, they survive". This was followed with an enormous hug and a smile. She made me feel like I could handle the new path I was on and to do it with humor! It helped! She always made people feel like they mattered and could thrive! We love Tante Sue and are thankful for our many memories as each are absolute blessings! Our hearts are with our beloved Gray family always and forever no matter where we are or how long we have been apart. With everlasting love- The Empie Family

Roy Beck

October 29, 2021

I was still having nightmares two months after my time with my father in the complicated last hours of his life. I got a call from Sue who had heard something about this. Sit tight, she said, she and Chuck were on their way over with ice cream. Into the night on our deck, we worked over those three Baskin-Robbins flavors as Sue listened and listened and shared some of her own experiences to let me know that she understood. Mainly, Sue and Chuck were the incarnation of comfort and friendship that has never been forgotten these succeeding 17 years. That night was my first image when I heard that Sue's time had come.

The next images in my mind were of Sue in her many-year position in the "intake room" for distributing groceries, Metro cards and more at the monthly Mt. Olivet community assistance. Of the joy on her face over the years as she observed the teenagers after their hard day of building Habitat houses and their easy evening eating the supper she had helped cook for them. Of the noisy exuberance with which she greeted each of her "extended children" no matter how old they got and no matter where she encountered them. And of her exaggerated exasperated expressions each time I said something with which she disagreed! So many images since Shirley and I first ran into Sue around a campfire on a Cub Scout camping trip three decades ago.

That was one whirling wind that blew our way from the low rolling hills of northern Nebraska!

MaryAnn & Stu Nelson

October 29, 2021

Sue always made you feel as if you were the only person in the world that she wanted to talk with. No room to sit and talk...she sat on the floor at her Mother-in-Law's memorial service. A caring, kind, neice who will be greatly missed. Love you all.

Rick Pearson

October 29, 2021

I have been an Administrative Law Judge at the FLRA, Sue’s former agency, for 21 years, 14 of them as a colleague of Sue. In my capacity, I didn’t work directly with her, but everyone knew Sue and held her in the highest esteem. She had worked at our agency virtually since its founding in 1979; she was a fount of knowledge for all her colleagues, and she helped build the agency from its infancy into maturity. She developed an institutional memory and culture of expertise that will serve us all into the future.

Diane Munns

October 28, 2021

I am sad tonight. I just heard of Sue’s passing and am so sorry her life force is no longer with us. I loved working with Chuck and NARUC but the bonus was always Sue. She made meetings and travel fun. I will never forget Budapest or the trip to the exotic animal reserve outside of Austin. She was just plain fun. My heart to Chuck, Charles and Jo. So thankful Sue was a part of my life. Thank you and love sent.

Diane Munns

Ernie DuBester

October 27, 2021

I am Chairman of the FLRA, the agency from which Sue retired. I wanted to share the message that I sent to the entire FLRA when I learned of her passing:

This past weekend, I received some very sad news. The FLRA had lost one of the giants in its history- Sue McCluskey.
Sue worked at the FLRA for over 35 years. She served as the Chief Counsel to several Chairs. She worked for the FSIP. And, before her time at the FLRA, she worked briefly for the NTEU.
During my entire tenure, Sue served as the Chief Counsel to Carol Waller Pope. Outside my personal staff, there is probably nobody with whom I worked more closely, than Sue. And, it is also probably true that there was not another person with whom I was more friendly. With our occasional differences, there was a lot of mutual appreciation.

I was previously Chair for most of 2013. Carol had temporarily left. It was a challenging year, especially because it was the first year of sequestration. Fiscal constraints were severe. Many agencies were furloughing employees. We resolved not to do that. Before making any significant decisions, I always consulted with other Presidential appointees. I treated Sue like she was one too and consulted her similarly.

We shared a love of baseball. She was a big Nats fan. In fact, the last time that I saw Sue was at a Nats game. She loved to travel and we talked often about Italy—and wine. And, as many of you know, music is a big part of my life. When I was younger, I frequented the music scene along the Jersey shore. At her retirement party, Sue was pleased to let me know that she would be playing a song by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. And, Sue was a huge fan of The Boss.

During her years at the FLRA, Sue touched many lives and careers. Her contributions to the FLRA are too numerous to mention. She was a real “pro”.

I will remember her fondly. May she rest in peace.


Us in Nebraska visiting Grandma Mac


Mom and the Bayes


Family in Norway.