ForeverMissed

Welcome to Suzy's celebration page!
Please browse around the site, read about Suzy using the Life tab above, look at the Gallery, leave a Tribute message below, or share a story about Suzy including video or photos if you wish using the Stories tab.

Memorial Celebration 
We plan to celebrate Suzy's life on Saturday July 10, 2021 at 2:00. 
Hopefully the service will be in-person at the La Jolla Community Church if it is possible given the pandemic. You may attend the service in-person or online. If an in-person service is not advised, we will have a virtual service held online at the same date and time.
To RSVP to Suzy's memorial celebration, and get more details click here.



Posted by Laura Quintanilla on June 4, 2021
My first time meeting Suzy was 18 years ago and my only regret is not having had more time with her. Despite having only seen eachother on few occasions, the time I spent with her allowed me to get to know her warm and sensibility. Suzy was a wonderful woman and mother. A beautiful human being. I feel blessed to have known her !
Posted by Peter Nordland on June 3, 2021
I had the distinct pleasure to know Suzie for many years through the La Jolla Community Church Choir and the Worship team. Suzie was very giving and always was the first to volunteer to lead the prayers for those in need. One choir practice, Suzie mentioned that she connected with the Lord more through music than any other form of prayer. That resonated for me in in a big way and we both commiserated how we could get emotional through our Worship songs. I miss you Suzie!!!
Posted by Nicole DiVito on June 2, 2021
Today is #LouGehrigDay. The ALS Association recently announced a goal of making ALS a livable disease by 2030.

A man at my company with ALS and many others fought to create this special day. You can read more or donate here: https://www.als.org/lougehrigday

I was lucky enough to somehow get into the same Bible Study group YEARS ago with Suzy and several other incredible women. I recently learned about Suzy and have wonderful memories of her smile, laugh, stories about her family, crazy stories of nature and REI. She was a beautiful person and her spirit refreshes my soul when I think of her.

Here is some background info on #LouGehrigDay in case you would like to learn more. In 2019, Larry Falivena (who works at my company) and others joined a group that had the idea that Major League Baseball should have an official Lou Gehrig Day. After a year's work, that idea became a reality. Most teams will honor Gehrig on June 2nd-the day he started his historic consecutive games streak, and the day he passed away from ALS in 1941. The teams that don't have home games will honor him today/June 3rd.

I made a donation today to support the fight and in honor of our Suzy. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and dear friends.
Posted by Faith McClelland on June 1, 2021
Suzy- My first bestest friend and “seester”. We were stand partners playing cello and you accepted me even though I was a grade behind you. Our friendship in high school grew to include Randy, Joel and Terri. And eventually grew to include others (Barbara and Terry). But first it was you. Our group did everything together and I drew such strength and love from all of you. It made me feel so special when I heard you yell out “That’s my seester” at my college graduation. You were my maid of honor and though we were physically miles apart, whenever we were together we were as close as ever. In these later years when I would visit I was honored that you would share your fears and worries with me. But your reliance on our Lord, I knew, would give you strength and made me proud. I prayed for Randy and knew he too would gather strength from your convictions. Our email connection I hope was helpful to you, I know it was for me. You have touched many lives and will be missed. I can’t wait to sing duets with you again. All my love, Faith

Randy- I pray for your strength during these times of remembrance. You will be busy. But there will come other times (and I’m sure have already been) when some small thing will remind you of her and the pain will be sharp. It will not be forever. Cherish the memories. Her love is yours… always.
Posted by Leida Bickham on June 1, 2021
Love you, Aunt Suzy. I will not be able to attend your service but will be camping in your memory. Love to you!
Posted by WILLIAM Snyder on May 30, 2021
I met Randy and Suzy when I was in Jr. High through my sister Faith. LJPC was a touchpoint for all of us. Godspell tour, backpack trips then Image Dynamics where our creative grist was ground together. Suzy was always open, forgiving, understanding, loyal, jovial, sincere, serving and encouraging to a fault. Her dedication to family was unparalleled in my opinion. Her ability to surpass in hospitality inspired me to do likewise. Seems to me, as she grew older she grew more like the Savior she loved. She sensed need, when I was dull to others, to come alongside with just the right word, touch, compassion and empathy. Yes, we all meet our time to pass on from this life, and in that test we either grow bitter or sweeter. Sweeter is better and Suzy has taught us to pursue that path by the beautiful example of her life.
Posted by Franci Marshall on May 30, 2021
I met Suzy in the fall of 2016 in Brain Head, Utah. I am a long time friend of her adventure buddy Elly Vance. It was such a delight to have spent some time with her. She was funny, kind and a loving person. She shined brightly from within. Her love for Jesus spilled over to others. I am looking forward to someday reuniting with her in heaven. 
Posted by Tricia Hedman on May 29, 2021
I had the pleasure of knowing Suzy since the fall of 2000. We met in a women's life group while both attending JLPC. She was a wonderful friend and sister in Christ. I learned so much from her sense of humor, courage, and faithfulness. I am blessed to have known her.
Posted by Jeffrey Javelet on May 29, 2021
I met Suzy probably around 2010 as we were both members of La Jolla Community Church worship choir. For 10 years we met on Thursday nights and rehearsed and then sang on Sundays, usually multiple services. Our church choir was a family. I came to know Suzy fondly and always appreciated the caring and gentle way about her. And she helped me several times with things I needed or thought I needed from REI. Always made herself available. My life was blessed by Suzy's spirit!
Posted by Christy Zatkin on May 25, 2021
My memories of Susie are from her La Jolla Pres days when we worked on the church's first contemporary service. Her input on the music helped make the service a true worship experience. As I think about those times together, so many sweet memories come flooding back. She had a high level of intuition. When my son was was about a year old, (now 47!) she showed up at the house when I was in a mental meltdown and took over childcare for a couple of hours giving me a break I desperately needed. In later years, I'm one of the ones she helped outfit for the outdoors with great hiking boots.

I'm so sorry I can't come to the memorial. I'll be in Atascadero at a nephew's wedding.
Posted by Mary Helmic on May 23, 2021
Because we lived so far apart (I'm in Michigan), I really got to know my cousin Suzy through our emails and Facebook posts. It was such a privilege to share our thoughts, photos, challenges, and joys with each other. My life is better for our contact these past few years!
Posted by Randy Wilbur on May 15, 2021
Tis a fearful thing to love what death can touch - a fearful thing to love, to hope, to dream, to be - to be and, oh, to lose - a thing for fools, this, and a holy thing - a holy thing to love, for your life has lived in me. Your laugh once lifted me. Your word was a gift to me. To remember this brings painful joy. Tis a human thing, love - a holy thing to love what death has touched.
Yehuda Halevi (around 1120 CE)

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Laura Quintanilla on June 4, 2021
My first time meeting Suzy was 18 years ago and my only regret is not having had more time with her. Despite having only seen eachother on few occasions, the time I spent with her allowed me to get to know her warm and sensibility. Suzy was a wonderful woman and mother. A beautiful human being. I feel blessed to have known her !
Posted by Peter Nordland on June 3, 2021
I had the distinct pleasure to know Suzie for many years through the La Jolla Community Church Choir and the Worship team. Suzie was very giving and always was the first to volunteer to lead the prayers for those in need. One choir practice, Suzie mentioned that she connected with the Lord more through music than any other form of prayer. That resonated for me in in a big way and we both commiserated how we could get emotional through our Worship songs. I miss you Suzie!!!
Posted by Nicole DiVito on June 2, 2021
Today is #LouGehrigDay. The ALS Association recently announced a goal of making ALS a livable disease by 2030.

A man at my company with ALS and many others fought to create this special day. You can read more or donate here: https://www.als.org/lougehrigday

I was lucky enough to somehow get into the same Bible Study group YEARS ago with Suzy and several other incredible women. I recently learned about Suzy and have wonderful memories of her smile, laugh, stories about her family, crazy stories of nature and REI. She was a beautiful person and her spirit refreshes my soul when I think of her.

Here is some background info on #LouGehrigDay in case you would like to learn more. In 2019, Larry Falivena (who works at my company) and others joined a group that had the idea that Major League Baseball should have an official Lou Gehrig Day. After a year's work, that idea became a reality. Most teams will honor Gehrig on June 2nd-the day he started his historic consecutive games streak, and the day he passed away from ALS in 1941. The teams that don't have home games will honor him today/June 3rd.

I made a donation today to support the fight and in honor of our Suzy. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and dear friends.
her Life

Suzy's Obituary

Suzanne LeClair Wilbur passed away on October 5th, 2020, from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Suzy was born July 11, 1954, in Rochester, New York to Richard and Marian LeClair, and moved to North Hollywood, California shortly thereafter. Another move saw her growing up in Los Altos, California. In her High School years, she moved with her family to La Jolla, California where she graduated from La Jolla High in 1972. Suzy was active in the Sun House youth program of the La Jolla Presbyterian Church, and United Youth Ministries, and participated in the very first pilot program of Summit Expedition, a 21-day backpacking wilderness program with a Christian emphasis. She completed the challenging program, developing a lifelong love of outdoor adventure, including backpacking, rock climbing, and cross-country skiing. She even celebrated her 60th birthday by skydiving. When her parents decided to move back to the Bay Area, Suzy resolved to stay in La Jolla on her own, having developed close ties with friends and her church. 

Being interested in Christian ministry and the arts, Suzy joined the Lamb’s Players, a Christian theater group. She raised her own financial support so she could tour full-time with the Lamb’s players mime troupe, “Hands and Feet.” Suzy remained active in the performing arts throughout her life continuing with the music ministry of the La Jolla Presbyterian Church, and later, the La Jolla Community Church. She toured with a memorable production of “Godspell” and performed in community theater, including Lamb’s Players Theater, Scripps Community Theater, and Octad One Productions. She also did voiceover and acted for numerous industrial videos.

After a 3-year friendship and engagement, Suzy married Bertrand (Randy) Wilbur on December 7th, 1975, and being lovers of the Sierra, they honeymooned in a wintry Yosemite Valley. They were best friends and loving partners for nearly 45 years, raising two wonderful children, Matthew, born in 1981 and Kathryn in 1988. Suzy was an involved mom, always active in the kids’ schools through PTA, special events, and in particular, using her performing and voice talents to read stories to various classrooms including Matt’s and Katy’s. She shared many school outings with her kids including hikes, field trips and extended adventures to Jamestown, and even the Amazon.

Suzy’s working career restarted when she volunteered as a Docent with the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway. She quickly developed special relationships with staff, donors, and other Docents as she helped with nature walks, special events and educating the public. Attendees to Blue Sky’s Halloween “Hoot, Howl & Prowl” walks will remember her performances as the Black Widow Spider. And who could forget her hilarious mop-headed character, Roadkill Ruthie that would appear during Blue Sky campfire programs? Suzy went on to work full-time at Blue Sky as an assistant interpreter. While at Blue Sky, she developed “Snake Sense,” a popular educational program about the indigenous snakes of San Diego. At one point Suzy had eighteen snakes caged in her family room—including three rattlesnakes—that she used for her presentations.

Suzy then moved on to Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) where she worked in the Camp/Climb Department. She used her own outdoor experiences to help fellow adventurers outfit themselves for their next trip. Suzy continued working and earning both peer and customer recognition until her then-undiagnosed symptoms made it impossible to do so. Over the fourteen years she worked at REI, she developed close friendships with a number of other REI employees, forming what became MAWU (Middle-Aged Women Unite). This small group of amazing women hiked, skied, rafted, and pampered together for many years, and formed lifelong bonds of shared adventure and sisterhood.

Suzy and her husband, Randy were fortunate to be able to have special adventures with extended family, friends and as a couple. She enjoyed many flower hunting trips to the Anza Borrego desert, backpacking, camping and skiing in the High Sierra, touring Alaska, Ireland, England and more. Because of a generation’s old Wilbur connection to the Walton family in Southeast Alaska, Suzy was adopted by the Eagle Wolf Clan and given the Tlingit name, Kaax'achtuk'aax (phonetically it's “kak ash tu gock” with a throaty guttural sound on the last syllable). Of course, Suzy pronounced it beautifully!

Although Suzy was limited by ALS, she and Randy spent two months on the road, taking a 7,000 mile RV trip through the mountains and National Parks of the west, all the way to Jasper National Park in Canada. In true Suzy fashion, she was not going to let her ALS breathing problems keep her from attending niece Cara’s high-altitude wedding in Colorado, nor from topping out at over 13,000 feet on the Imogene Pass Jeep Trail. The highlight of Suzy’s final years was Katy’s marriage to Armin Quintanilla in June of 2019. Suzy was determined to be able to walk down the aisle on Matt’s arm—a feat made possible by Suzy’s resolve and Katy and Armin’s efforts to accelerate their wedding plans.

Anyone that had the joy of knowing Suzy knew that her Christian faith was at the center of her being. To her, Jesus was far more than a Sunday morning thought—Jesus was a living presence in her life. She lived her faith through love and action, whether it be rebuilding houses in Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina, supporting third-world children, weaving sleeping mats for the homeless, or opening her heart to those in need through the military ministry at the La Jolla Community Church. She was thankful for supportive relationships in her Bible study group and church small group. Much of Suzy’s worship centered around song. She had a beautiful voice and she loved to sing praises in the church’s choir and worship band. Tragically, it was in her voice that ALS symptoms first appeared, eventually stealing her gift of song entirely. Though she could no longer talk, walk, or eat, she continued to inspire others with her remarkable faith and courage.

Suzy is survived by her son, Matthew, daughter Kathryn, son-in-law Armin, husband Randy, and her older siblings Bob, Becky, and Lynellyn. Her ashes will be scattered in her beloved High Sierra.

Recent stories
Shared by Becky LeClair on June 6, 2021
Suzy was the memory-keeper and baby of our family.  My first memory of her is when we lived in North Hollywood and she was about 2yo. She is standing next to the Christmas tree, naked except for a red sash, and smiling brightly.  I recall Mom laughing as Dad took the picture.  It is also the house where she fell off the dining table bench and broke out a front tooth.  My memory is of scolding Mom (at the stove, stirring something) for making Lyn cry, when we heard a bang and Suzy crying.  Once, Suzy (still about 2yo) took herself for a “walk”.  I’m told that a bus driver found her.  I recall seeing Suzy smiling with pride, walking and holding hands with a crying Mom.

Before her birth, I recall reporting that I had a new sister and that her name was “Suzy Anne” to neighbors, but Suzy corrected my memory with Mom’s story:  that it was my Sunday school teacher who appeared surprised to see a very pregnant Marian come pick me up, after I had announced to the class that I had a new baby sister and her name was “Suzy Anne”.  

She was helpful to a fault.  After we moved to Los Altos, she was going to “help” me make a ballgown for my doll and cut up the fabric.  After some tears from me, mom saved the day, and I still ended up with the gown.  Suzy was proud of “helping” me.

She was always the “sweet” one, who charmed everyone with her smile and demeanor.  But we all have our faults, and I recall getting onto her for bossing me around.  After all, I AM the big sister, but that didn’t matter.  She felt that she knew best.  I recall being so proud of her playing the cello at a high school performance: possibly the start of sharing her gift and love of performing.

I lost touch with her in her early adolescence and know I missed many crossroads and growth events, being on my own chaotic path.  She seemed to readily adapt and flourish and be part of a loving community in La Jolla.  I know she has made and kept dear friends of all ages through the years.  Just think about 44 yrs of marriage and two awesome kids!  That brings me to the love story of Suzy and Randy.  According to “legend”, Randy told his mother after the second date that he had met the woman he wanted to marry.  Suzy thought they were just friends until Randy knocked on her door after another male friend left.  When she answered the door, he told her to hold the door and brought in pieces of equipment (mind you, this 1975ish) and showed her a slide show/video he made of their times together.  He watched her face and by the time the presentation ended, she realized his intentions.  It’s much more elaborate than that, but no less romantic!

We’ve had many great visits with each other in the past and it was easy to play together, as though all those years disappeared: goofing around with “beauty queen” make-up and silly poses, to sitting by their backyard campfire with our children and parents, listening to family stories, and Randy tell elaborate stories to the kids about the adventures of Beaky the Bear.

She was always attentive and nurturing to Mom and Dad, which extended to her community at-large: teaching kids about snakes (thanks Brother Bob and to mom who let him bring them into our childhood home!), weaving numerous sleeping mats for the homeless, and more.  She was proud of and encouraged Matt and Katy’s passions, even if there was some adjusting to do.  

My gratitude is cemented in the recent years by our shared adventures.   in 2017 we camped (pop-up trailer) in the Anza-Borrego desert and hiked in slot canyons: their stomping grounds.  Expert campers, they had everything one could need.  

After her diagnosis, our 10-day WABDUH RV trek across Colorado in late summer of 2019 was a dream trip!  Viewing the passing scenery, Suzy would open her arms and express awe at this vast and beautiful world of ours – like, “what more could we need?”  There were a couple of harrowing experiences off-roading, but that just added to the excitement!

As her ALS progressed, it was my life’s honor to be present with her and to seek and find shared joy and humor, in the midst of their struggles and constant challenges.  She and Randy had well-practiced that way of navigating and adapting.  Randy, her champion, came up with so many ingenious solutions to, what seemed to me, constant and unrelenting obstacles.  Underlying everything was their unparalleled adoration of and devotion to each other.  Massaging her head, hands and feet offered me the gift of physically connecting with her and, hopefully, offering some comfort.  On my last day with them, Randy and I sang (with help from the uke) “Country Roads”, which produced the last smile I saw from her.  Later, after rubbing her hands one more time, I realized it was time for me to go and told her that.  She nodded and accepted the reality.  I became the baby sister and didn’t want to leave.  But, she gave me the gift of letting go, first.

There have many times that I have thought, “oh, Suzy would remember that”, to realize that those bits of family history that she carried, are with her.  As an ornament sent to me last Christmas from brother Bob and sister-in-law LouAnn reads “Loved one may leave this world, but they never leave our hearts”.
Shared by Jo Herb on May 23, 2021
I met Suzy 15 years ago when I started working at REI and found her to be one of the kindest souls I ever knew.  There were four of us at work that gravitated to each other very quickly and became "bosom buddies."  Suzy named us “MAWU” for Middle Age Women Unite (although we were so bonded to each other, no one else could have penetrated our little group).  The four of us went on hikes, out to lunch and movie dates and lots of camping trips.  We would laugh until we cried, thus bonding at the heart. 

Suzy was beautiful inside and out and her joy for love and life was boundless.  She continually amazed us with her beautiful voice and so talented in the art of dialects that she would have us rolling over laughing every time she spoke with an Irish Brogue. Hiking was always an adventure with Suzy as she could name any plant or reptile species, sometimes even including their scientific names.  She was such a gift to all who knew and loved her.

We miss her beyond measure.
JoAnn "Joey" Herbert