We can’t help but imagine what a momentous day Susan is having as she joins the chorus of angels. “I just want everyone to have fun!”, she’d announce while pouring peach Bellini and adjusting her expensive red hat. Decked out in her jewelry and hand-sewn dress, she greets everyone with her sparkling smile and charm and somehow manages to coax all of her new friends to the dance floor.

Susan Lauck danced through heaven’s gates on Wednesday, October 6th, 2021, following a long and courageous journey with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Reunited with beloved friends and relatives, she is no doubt playing the hostess as she has so many other times. We smile at the thought of her enjoying cheesecake, tea, and costumes at Cinderella’s castle, and telling all about her Disney memories with her daughters and grandsons.

Sue was born on February 22, 1951, in Omaha, Nebraska. After marrying Roy Lauck in 1971, the two of them raised their daughters, Michelle and Lisa, in Chamberlain, where Sue managed a medical clinic for nearly 30 years and served in every volunteer capacity imaginable, even earning the Volunteer of the Year award by the Chamberlain School District.

Roy first met Sue, “that rad chick”, at the Mocamba Club in Sioux Falls, and later they cruised the highways in their prized Shelby Cobra, as well as traversing the globe on several cruises and road trips. Roy was always Sue’s “heater,” keeping her chilly hands and feet warm and ensuring she always had a heated blanket and a warm van close by.

When the girls were young, Sue would work half-days in the summer so she could take her daughters to the swimming pool in the afternoon. Like most mothers, she would wade at the edge of the pool while her kids splashed around her, but Lisa and Michelle would pester her anyway, pouring water onto her legs and covering her in sunblock with devious laughter. She basked in every minute of it. She would leave little love notes in backpacks and show up in their classrooms in all sorts of crazy costumes. Her love of Disney and Red Hat Society taught them how to embrace playfulness and imagination.

Sue participated in everything with gusto. She never missed a board meeting, swim meet, cross-country meet, play, or concert. And if any of those things required a snack or costume, Sue took care of it. She took care of her neighbors and friends, too, inviting anyone in for tea or a stay in the guest room as long as they needed. Her Red Hatter get-togethers always had plenty of wine and bling and laughter. She was so intentional, so warm and giving, and now heaven has one of the best caretakers among them.

Sue is survived by her husband, Roy; daughter Michelle (Tyler) Holm of Rochester, Minn.; daughter Lisa (Jason) Groon of Harrisburg, S.D.; and grandsons: Cade, Parker, and Soren. Preceding her in death were her mother and beloved sister, Deb.

Due to the current health situation, a celebration of life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends enjoying the sunset with a nice cup of hot tea and your favorite people. The family has made a donation in Sue’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association and invites you to do the same in an effort to bring greater awareness, research, and programs to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

Write little love notes to your children, take a trip, invite friends over. Bake a cake and think of our mother. Thank you for being part of her life.

Yankton Press & Dakotan

October 9, 2021