Sue VanDeusen
  • 92 years old
  • Date of birth: Sep 18, 1922
  • Place of birth:
    Clarkston, Michigan, United States
  • Date of passing: Jan 16, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    Denver, Colorado, United States
"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. -Mary Oliver

Sue VanDeusen, 92

September 18, 1922 to January 16, 2015

Sue VanDeusen, the devoted wife of Robert A. VanDeusen (deceased 1999) and much-loved mother of four surviving children: Sarah Simpson, Robert VanDeusen Jr., Bradley VanDeusen and Eleanor VanDeusen passed away on January 16th after a short illness. She is also survived by her five beloved grandchildren, Eleanor Nalini BystrÖm, Amelia Ferrie Lee, Rachael Miller, Will Ferrie and Samantha Scovel.

There will be a Memorial Service in celebration of Sue's life on Saturday, March 7th at 2:00 pm at First Universalist Church of Denver - 4101 East Hampden Avenue, Denver. CO 80222 

A reception at the home of Sarah and Doss Simpson (2971 South Adams Street Denver, CO 80222) will immediatly follow the memorial service. 

Contributions can be made to the following causes:

Colorado Symphony (https://tickets.coloradosymphony.org/dev/contribute.aspx)

South Suburban Recreation Center, Buck Center Pool  (303-347-5999  Stuart Settles)

Animal Care Foundation (http://www.animalcarefoundation.com/)

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Eleanor VanDeusen on 20th September 2017

"So busy it took me a few days to leave this note. Miss you mom, every day, especially with all of the changes happening in our lives that I wish I could tell you about. Wish you could see Sami and how she is growing into her adult identity.
Love you

This tribute was added by Rachael Miller on 19th September 2017

"My Grammy! I sure miss you and think of you often! You are such a smart lady and often hear some of the wise things you said and would say. I wish I would have done some things differently with our relationship but think I have learned a lot from this. I now know what feels right and what I will do the next time when similar situations/feelings presents themselves in my life. Happy birthday my birthday buddy! I sure love you!"

This tribute was added by Sarah Simpson on 18th September 2017

"Happy Birthday Mom! We love you and miss you always."

This tribute was added by Eleanor Byström on 18th September 2017

"Happy Birthday Grandma!
Sure do miss you. Sending LOTs of Love & kisses"

This tribute was added by Eleanor VanDeusen on 17th January 2017

"I love and miss you mom.  I also wish you could see your 4 great grandchildren and what wonderful mothers your granddaughters are.  Miss you every day."

This tribute was added by Eleanor Byström on 16th January 2017

"Miss you Grandma. Wishing you could see all these babies in the family. I know you do! And I know you're watching over all of us. Thank you:)
I feel your presence & you teachings & little traditions sewn into my day to day life. I'm especially aware of them now being a mother.
Not a day goes by that I don't miss you & wish I could just call you to talk or ask you about something.
Sending you Hugs & kisses, pictures of the babies, a letter or two & a nice bottle of wine!
Love you Grandma"

This tribute was added by Susan Hopper on 21st September 2016

"Miss you Aunt Sue.   Always enjoy looking at photos of my Miller relatives.   Hope you all are well.   Miss you Sarah."

This tribute was added by Vi Wagner on 18th September 2016

"Dear Sue - Thank you for enriching my life. You gave me comfort, joy, laughter, inspiration and appreciation. Thank you for all the many times we shared that made life the wonderful experience that it is.  

from Vi Wagener"

This tribute was added by Eleanor VanDeusen on 18th September 2016

"That was a wonderful tribute Ellie. It contains all of the things mom loves...updates on kids, family gatherings and food. I miss mom and think of her everyday.  I too feel her presence and know that she is so happy to see us gather and seeing all of our next generation little people.  
She would love all of our little ones and their funny antics. Our trip to Michigan this past summer made me feel close to mom. It was wonderful to see all of the places that she talked about and to see the farm looking so beautiful. Missing mom on her birthday."

This tribute was added by Eleanor Byström on 18th September 2016

"Happy Birthday Dearest Grandma!
Thinking of you every day. Wishing you could be here to see our new home- you would love it. We celebrated Lea's second birthday today with Jesper's family. She got an adorable little doll house that reminds me of the one Grandpa built me & Rachael. I made a vegetarian lasagne with local zucchini & a Ricotta tart with lemon poppy seed crust with fresh blueberries. Both were delicious.
Love you so much & thank you for watching over us. I really feel your presence."

This tribute was added by Rachael Miller on 16th January 2016

"My dearest Grandma! Oh how I miss you so! I think of you often and all the lessons you had to teach. A wise owl you were and are! I am working on becoming a better listener to gain the most from people like you. Dexter is now pointing his finger at things and people and reminds me of you! You would be proud that I became friends with the neighbors, as you always tried to encourage that while you were here. I am sure you know I start nursing school and have you to thank for making that a clear path for me.
I love you very much and am incorporating all of the things you had strong beliefs into my family and my own life like eating healthy, reading interesting articles and sharing them, doing more things with friends, talking to strangers like they aren't ones, accepting people for who they are, and loving animals. I wish you were physically here but know you had a calling somewhere else and are with me in more ways than I could have imagined. Oh ya! You would be proud of Nigel's salad making ability! And on that note my cornbread hasn't been quite right but am making some today and am hoping you will give it a Grandma touch.
I love you, I love you, I love you!

This tribute was added by Sarah Simpson on 16th January 2016

"Dearest Mom,
I miss you and think of you every single day. Lately I've been quoting your wisdom on teaching babies to eat as Lea and Dexter begin to discover the joys of eating and talk with Ellie and Rachael about the latest developments in the food department. All of us owe our good health and appreciation of good food to your influence and teaching.
I hope you know how much I love and miss you."

This tribute was added by Eleanor Byström on 16th January 2016

"Dearist Grandma,
There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about you. We use to get mad at you for not listening, but now I see how much you were listening. You always wanted to know what we were up to, how things were going with my art, with Jesper, Lea & all the ebbs and flows of our lives. You always had somethings to share, a story, a book, a good meal. You always looked on the bright side of life. You were always striving to make a heartfelt connection with everyone you met. I miss you so much Grandma & wish I could hug you, talk to you, share a good meal with you. I do feel your presence with me, whenever I ask you to be near I feel you now, & I feel your being loving me, supporting me, encouraging me, just watching me & loving me for all of me- good&bad, just as you did when you were in your body. Thank you Grandma, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I know you're always with me & I love you infinitely"

This tribute was added by Tracy Threadgill on 19th September 2015

"The bright star in the Virgo heaven could be none other than our dear Sue. Thought of often with the fondest of memories. The night of our respective birthdays looking over the Grand Valley and the Bookcliffs to the north with Sarah, Sue and my humble self. So glad to be part of your wonderful family and circle of friends. With love from my family."

This tribute was added by Jane Rogers on 19th September 2015

"I always enjoyed hearing the family news in Aunt Sue's Christmas cards.  It was always so apparent how much she loved her family!  I'm inspired to follow her example and exercise as she did with her swimming at the YMCA.  I treasure her memory.
Love, Cousin Jane"

This tribute was added by Joy Valentini on 18th September 2015

"Thinking of Sue today and remembering the lifetime of wonderful nurturing things she did for me from my childhood all the way to senior age.  All of that has been beautifully woven into the tapestry of my life.  Sometimes, I look forward to another lively family dinner, then remember she has passed on leaving us with sweet memories of our lively times at the table.  Thank you, Sue, I will miss you forever.  I love you."

This tribute was added by Eleanor VanDeusen on 18th September 2015

"Missing mom today. Every day I think of something I would like to tell her...movies I watch, books I read, plays that I know she would enjoy and just things that are happening in our family. My brain can't seem to adjust to the idea that I can't talk to her. But in a lot of ways I feel that she is still present with us all. I know that Mimi is going to be a great mom because my mom showed me how to love a child and so I knew how to do the same."

This tribute was added by Vi Wagner on 18th September 2015

"I miss you so much, Sue.  Often I head for the telephone to talk.  When it rings I think - Oh, that must be Sue!......Violet Wagener"

This tribute was added by Rachael Miller on 18th September 2015

"Grandma I think of you often and thank you for being such a positive influence to our family and teaching us how to be accepting, caring, eat well, be excellent mamas, the importance of a strong support network, and so much more! I wish you were here and wish I would have done a few things differently. All I can do now is practice the things I would have done differently. It is weird but I often feel like you are helping me carve my future and thank you for this! Everything became so clear when you passed and could hear your voice guide me through some of the things I have been confused about for the past couple years. Give Lucy, Skip and everyone else love from me!I love you so much!

This tribute was added by Sarah Simpson on 18th September 2015

"Mom, today would have been your 93rd Birthday. I'm missing you being here as we celebrate our September Birthdays.You would have loved our dinner at the Chinese restaurant, passing Dexter around, ordering too much food & everyone talking at once. I want you to know how much we all love you and miss you today and every day."

This tribute was added by Sarah Fishburn on 20th March 2015

"Sue was a truly great and charming woman and we will miss her being in this world. Colin and I send you all love and our heartfelt wishes.
Colin Gerety & Sarah Fishburn"

This tribute was added by Joy Valentini on 7th March 2015

"My Fanfare to Sue:  
Over fifty years ago, at my tender age of 13 and as a virtual stranger to family socializing, Sue welcomed me into her flock and took me under her loving wings.  Early on, she offered me insightful books, both classic and contemporary, some controversial.  She engaged in conversation, listened to me and encouraged broad thinking on human behavior and socio-political issues.  Over the years, she welcomed me into lively family gatherings complemented with fresh, creatively prepared food and renowned wines, usually sparked by intelligent, emphatic discussions, and always with musical samplings across many genres from opera to classical to folk to rock.  Smart, educated and sophisticated, Sue graciously presided over these occasions in the modern, open, striking space of the Van Deusen family home down Music Lane, abode to Sue and Van and their four gifted children, plus an assortment of beloved canines and felines wandering about.  I was privileged to be part of the family.
From the start, Sue educated me, opened me to an expansive world, welcomed me into it and  broadened my horizons.  She affirmed my very being.  I felt valued and loved.  Over the course of her lifelong nurturing care to family, friends and me, I learned about community, devotion to family, home, sharing meals, and caring for animals, along with the enrichment of music and reading.  All in all, this was Sue's own long-running academy of life for all her fortunate students.

Now, five decades later, after countless gatherings, meals and celebrations across many venues, after hundreds of books read and thousands of hours of music enjoyed, I am profoundly grateful for all her gifts and the treasured memories of a lifetime of shared experiences.  I still feel the warmth of Sue's wings.  I loved her and will keep her in my heart always."

This tribute was added by Deborah Mulkey on 6th March 2015

"Sue was always like a substitute mom to Steve and I when we lived in G.Junction. Van was a great teacher/mentor to Steve when he worked for VanDeusen Architects. I love how she supported and appreciated
all of us in the Arts! Here's to Sue and Van, and all their wonderful kids,
(and grandkids, and great-grandkids!) We have a fond place in our hearts for them both!!"

This tribute was added by Tracy Threadgill on 15th February 2015

"Enjoying the memories evoked by Eleanor's wonderful pictures of the family home. Gathered around the table with Sue, Hazel, Van and us youngins'. It was always such a treat, Sarah, to be included in your wonderful, interesting family. And Sue could cook! She would set a festive table with a large bowl of petunias from the window box. And the wine. What fun we had. I am thankful to have these memories. In a poignant way they soften the loss that is sharply felt. Let time do its work and know you all are in my thoughts."

This tribute was added by Kristin West on 5th February 2015

"Everyone who ever visited the VanDeusen home was always welcomed by Sue's warm smile.  Her laughter echoed throughout the house.  I remember the calm, unhurried manner in which she cooked her fabulous dinners.  I remember her love for her cat and that enormous standard poodle. Her love and loyalty to her husband and kids was as deep as the ocean.  It was such an admirable quality.  She and Bob visited our home after my sister passed away, and I remember her comforting my mother and then telling her the wonderful news of an upcoming birth of her new grand baby and how God takes away, but then he gives back. That statement fully expressed the positive way Sue lived her life, always looking for the best in others, and the best in every situation.  She was an extraordinary woman who left an extraordinary legacy in her precious family.  She will be missed by so many.  God Bless all of you kids and grand kids."

This tribute was added by Susan Hopper on 4th February 2015

"I am honored to say I am related to Charlotte Sue.  Although we never spent a lot of time together, I always cherished the times we did and knew we shared family traits.  The things mentioned above are characteristics of Sue I truly admire and hope that I can exhibit in my own life.  God bless you Sue and may your spirit live on in all your children and relatives!"

This tribute was added by Mary McVay on 31st January 2015

"Hello to the VanDeusen family.  This is Mary "Bliska" McVay.  My brother Christian and mom Molly, informed our family last night of Sue's passing.  How very sorry I am for the loss of your Mother, Sue.  

I last saw your parents on a visit I made to Grand Junction with my husband Michael and oldest son Michael Ross in 1998 (summertime).  We were in Aspen for a golf tournament our son was playing in.  I had not been back to Grand Junction for many years.  We spent the afternoon at your family home and had the best visit with your parents.  I recall that perhaps your father was very frail at that point.....but your mom was vibrant and amazing.  

I loved looking at the pictures on this website of your home.  Did one of you paint those?  How vividly I remember many hours and days spent there, playing inside and outside, climbing all the stairs, and sitting at the dining room table eating some sort of "porridge" - that your mom said was good for me.  And,  I actually think I still have dreams about that house.  Is it still in your family?  I was very young when my father Tom died, but remember leaving his funeral and going directly to your home. (Weird how some memories are so vivid).

It was great to see the pictures of all of you.    

My niece, Anna Bliska (Christians daughter) lives in Denver and she will represent our family at Sue's memorial service March 7.  She just graduated from UC-Denver and is getting married in Denver in June.  I live in New Mexico - Hobbs.  Way down in the southeastern corner of the state.  We have 3 "grown" children and 4 grandchildren.  (Makes me sound so old :)).

Blessings and love to your family and again my condolences to all.


This tribute was added by Karen Bumgarner on 31st January 2015

"I am Sue's son-in-law, Lenny Scovel's sister, Karen.  

I never met this wonderfully fascinating woman, but how I wish I had.

What a lovely, thoughtful, kind,  talented and funny woman  with the insatiable curiosity of a child, so it seems.  Her never waning thirst for knowledge  about the world around her and beyond must have rubbed off on her children and grandchildren. I see from readig tributes from her family and friends and reading some of her letters, it must be so.

Karen Bumgarner"

This tribute was added by Rachael Miller on 30th January 2015

"Words cannot express how grateful and how much pride I take in saying that I am a product of my Grandma Sue's genetic line. She was so intelligent and knew exactly what was best most of the time, whether I liked it or not. She taught me how important family, animals, and food are in your everyday life. My Grandma has inspired me. She was a part of my everyday life and it will definitely take some time for me to adjust to her physical body not being with me. I am so lucky I got to spend so much time with her. I will continue to live by the morals she instilled in me and be guided by her spirt. I love you Grandma!"

This tribute was added by Sarah Simpson on 28th January 2015

"Mom reminded us every day of the importance of family and the network of support we provide for each other. For those of us who shared her daily routines, there are constant reminders of her many contributions to our lives.  She set the table and made the salad for our dinner every evening and insisted on dinner conversation, civilized or otherwise. Her favorite topics were food, fond memories of family and whatever she’d been reading that day. She loved animals, and doted on the many pets we had over the years.  Part of her morning routine was feeding the birds and squirrels and to our horror, even the little mice. She loved all the arts and always found ways to share her love of theatre, dance, classical music, art and architecture with family and friends. I’ll miss her deeply for the rest of my life."

This tribute was added by Carlee Cellar on 27th January 2015

"Fond Memories of Sue:  I would like to say that I was Eleanor’s best friend from 1st through 4th grade, certainly she was mine.  I spent countless hours at the Van Deusen home; after school, weekends and sleep overs.  I recall Sue explaining to me that creating and making a Valentine gave the card “a more personal touch.”  The words were lost on me at age 7; I just remember the endless art supplies and the hours of fun creating all the Valentines for my classmates.  I now understand what she meant about “a more personal touch.”  

A few years ago I had the pleasure of making a weekend trip to Grand Junction with Sue and we spent hours talking about husbands, marriage, relationships, cooking, houses and design.  On the return trip to Denver, my husband (Gunter) was also traveling along I-70, so we stopped at a restaurant and I introduced Sue to him.  Sue knew from our conversations that my husband is a car guy.  So when she introduced herself to Gunter, she had a photo of herself standing in front of her home in Grand Junction next to her Karmann Ghia. I was so impressed (and humored), but what a personal touch!  Thank you Sue for making so many lasting positive impressions on me—Carlee Cellar"

This tribute was added by Eleanor VanDeusen on 22nd January 2015

"Eleanor VanDeusen
January 16 at 12:21pm ·

My beautiful mother, Sue VanDeusen died early this morning at Porter Hospice in Denver after a very sudden diagnosis with late stage cancer. I will miss her for all of the rest of my life and am feeling so very grateful that she was my mother. For those of you who knew her and even if you didn't...do some of these things in her memory -
Love your family
Obsess over your children!
Enjoy some good food & wine
Love your pets and care for them their entire lives
Learn something new every day
Read good books
Stay curious
Ask total strangers embarrassing personal questions in public places
Talk to children like you really care about them and want to know how they feel
Remember that everyone has their own story and "is doing the best they can" that is a direct quote
Support the arts
Appreciate beauty
Extend your family with dear friends
Get involved
Volunteer for something you care about
Surround yourself with people you love"

This tribute was added by Eleanor Byström on 22nd January 2015

Got some?
As all know Grandma Sue was a great reader, and not surprisingly a wonderful letter writer.

I want to create a memoir of her letters for her and Van. If you're interested in sharing letters you have saved from her &/or helping with the project in another way you can contact me, Ellie (Sarah's daughter): eleanor.bystrom@gmail.com

Here is a link to what I have gotten transcribed so far:


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This memorial is administered by:

Eleanor Byström
Eleanor VanDeusen
Sarah Simpson


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