Susan Poyner Matthews

May 11, 1946January 9, 2021

Susan Poyner Matthews passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, January 9, 2021. Born in Dallas, Texas on May 11, 1946, Susan was the first of five children in the family of the late James M. and Florence C. Poyner.

She is survived by her devoted husband Bruce Matthews; her two children (by a previous marriage) Sarah Sweeney (Kenji) and Col. David Moore, USMC (Samantha); and five grandchildren. She is also survived by her four younger siblings, Chan Poyner Pike, Margaret Poyner, Edythe Poyner and Jimmy Poyner; along with six nieces and nephews.

Susan graduated from Needham Broughton High School, where she stood out for being particularly bright, popular and vivacious. She was a leader in both academics and extracurricular activities; she was selected to be a participant in the Special Math Studies Group (a prestigious national program) and she was elected to membership in the National Honor Society. Outside of class, Susan was a cheerleader and a member of the Service Club at Broughton. The high academic and leadership standards she set in high school later became goals for her younger siblings, who tried to emulate them with varying degrees of success.

Susan was the great great granddaughter of the Reverend Aldert Smedes, who was the founder of Saint Mary’s College in Raleigh. She studied piano at Saint Mary’s for many years, and after graduating from high school chose to spend her first two years of college there. She subsequently transferred to The College of William and Mary where she earned a degree in English, graduating with Honors. She was presented at the Terpsichorean Debutante Ball in 1965.

Professionally, Susan enjoyed a long and successful career with the Duke University School of Medicine as a lab technician, studying cell pathology with the Cytology Department. She was highly regarded for her expertise, eventually becoming an instructor to residents at the School of Medicine. In addition to being an accomplished pianist, mother, and lab technician, Susan was an excellent cook. She presented her favorite recipes to her younger sisters as wedding gifts, believing (with some justification) that none of them knew how to cook. In addition to working full time and raising her two children, she served as a member of the Junior League of Raleigh and attended Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church.

Due to the current pandemic, a memorial service will not be held until the Spring.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the George Smedes Poyner Foundation, 4412 Delta Lake Drive, Raleigh 27612, or Saint Mary’s School, 900 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh 27603.

Services by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary's St., Raleigh.


  • George Smedes Poyner Foundation
  • Saint Mary’s School


  • Due to the current pandemic, a memorial service will not be held until the Spring.


Susan Poyner Matthews

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ronald Jones

January 14, 2021

I saw this yesterday and felt i needed to mention the first time i met Susan. it could have been 60 years ago, i decided to stay back in the 9th grade at Josephus Daniels - i was in the class of 63 - i decided to go to the prom for the 64 class. i was there by myself and i met Susan and Mary Ellen Goe in the Daniels Gym. i talked to both of them for several hours and i will never forget that night. I do not have a picture on line

Martha Cline

January 14, 2021

I'll always remember Susan in her Broughton cheerleading outfit with a smile on her face.

Marcia and Mike Pozniak

January 11, 2021

To all of Susan’s Family,
We are so sorry to hear of Susan’s passing. Hugs and prayers to all of you.