Susan Worth-LaManna grew up in the Jenkintown section of Abington Township. She remembers being close enough to Mckinley Elementary that she walked to school. Going through the school district, she is a graduate of Abington High School.
Once Worth-LaManna reached college-age, she moved to Wheeling, WV, in order to pursue her undergraduate studies at Wheeling Jesuit University. She then pursued her master’s studies at Boston University.
While at Wheeling, Worth-LaManna was editor of her university’s paper, and once had the opportunity to interview U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller.
She said she wanted to pursue psychology and the mental health field after witnessing her mother, a WWII auxiliary nurse, work at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Worth-LaManna’s mother also organized an Alzheimer care group in Germantown with the Little Sisters of the Poor, at which Worth-LaManna volunteered her time as a youth.
“I saw that kind of care of people on a very direct basis,” she recalled. “They always had this incredible dignity around people who may have been left out of the social system.”
Worth-LaManna said a Dr. Randall, her pediatrician, also had a positive influence on her, as Dr. Randall was one of the first female doctors she had known.
After her studies, Worth-LaManna said she didn’t think she would return to the Upper Moreland area. But, in her adult life, Worth-LaManna’s first husband found a job in the Valley Forge office of GE.
“We looked for a good Turnpike locale that also wasn’t far from my brother in Abington and his family,” she said. “And, we settled in Upper Moreland.”
By 1977, she and her husband, moved into a condo at International Village, before moving to her permanent residence in Huntingdon Valley in 1984.
As a licensed psychologist, Worth-LaManna has had a long career in the field of mental health.
While in enrolled in a doctorate program at Boston College, Worth-LaManna worked in Children’s Hospital Kennedy hospital for children and St. Elizabeth’s Clinic. She then became the director of outpatient services at Elwyn's National Rehabilitation Center, in the late 1970s, in its Elwyn, Delaware County campus.
When she moved to Upper Moreland, Worth-LaManna became the director of outpatient services at the National Rehabilitation Center in West Philadelphia. From the 1980s until 2000, held a position with Northwestern Human Services’ Montgomery County offices.
Elwyn's National Rehabilitation Center, becoming the Director of Outpatient Services
In 1995, while she was working at Northwestern, Worth-LaManna started a private practice, located in Ft. Washington. After her first husband had passed away, Worth-LaManna moved her private practice to its current location on Easton Road in the Center for Family Development building.
“I’ve always had an evening practice and a day job,” she said.
Family and Community life
Worth-LaManna has four children of varying ages; two daughters and two sons. Her first husband had passed away, while her children were still young, and she has since re-married.
In her children’s early years, they attended private school, with her eldest daughter graduating from Germantown Academy.
However, as her children became more involved with Upper Moreland Township sports activities, including soccer, Little League, lacrosse and hockey, they made more friends and continued their education within the school district, with her youngest sons graduating from last year.
“I got them in all ages and stages,” Worth-LaManna said.
When her children attended schools within the school district, Worth-LaManna served as Home-and-School Association president at both the Middle School and High School.
“I sought service, I didn’t seek office,” Worth-LaManna said about her HSA experience. “I’m not someone who joins something and does not attend all its meetings and programs.”
Her reasons for running
With her youngest children off to college, Worth-LaManna had given thought to her long-term plans.
“I definitely thought about moving to a smaller home,” she said. “But I love my home. I love my neighbors, my neighborhood, my section of Upper Moreland.”
She also described her Ward 6 residence as a “jewel,” and fondly describes the location of her home, overlooking the June Fete.
In her campaign literature, Worth-LaMana states that in the 34 years she has lived here, she has seen a limited vision and progress on development that would bring businesses to the downtown area of Upper Moreland.
Over the years, Worth-LaManna began to make observations on what’s not working or not particularly appealing about sites within the township during her daily commute. Eventually, those observations led to more questions on her long-term plan, which now includes running as a Ward 6 candidate.
In order to familiarize herself with the scope of being a commissioner, Worth-LaManna said that she tutored herself in the nature of government in Upper Moreland, attending the Monday night committee meetings and researching meetings’ minutes at the Township, going back as far as the 1950s to see the township’s progress.
“Ultimately, my desire would be that when I am ready to retire from this community, I would want people knocking on my door to buy my house.” Worth-LaManna said. “And with that vision for me, I want that for [the township residents]; a green, walk-able, Willow Grove.”
A more in-depth look into the positions on community issues and candidate’s politics will be presented in future Upper Moreland – Willow Grove Patch campaign coverage articles.
Look for more profiles on Ward commissioner candidates coming this week.