Suzanne S. Rowland, fondly known to many as “Mrs. Sue,” passed away gracefully at home in Hailey, Idaho, on August 23, 2022, surrounded by her loving family as she went on to her next adventure in the great outdoors in the sky.
Sue was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 23, 1941, to James H. and Dorothy Shafer (Goggie and Poppie). She graduated from East High School, class of 1959, and then from the University of Utah with a BS in Education, class of 1963. She married Frank Louis Rowland on September 3, 1964, and started a family three years later. Frank’s work with the Forest Service brought them to Redfish Lake for several summers, which led them to move to Hailey in 1972, and thus began Sue’s big-hearted influence on the Wood River Valley. She touched so many people in her life through her school, volunteer work, social circles and outdoor pursuits.
The two professional accomplishments of which Sue was most proud are the Heritage Court, where she worked passionately to keep Blaine County’s heritage vibrantly alive, and most famously, Sue’s Preschool.
Sue’s passions for teaching and children began while working as a second grade teacher in Salt Lake City, which led to the pioneering of two preschools in Utah. In 1972, upon moving to Hailey and spurred by the lack of a public kindergarten in the community, Sue’s Kindergarten was born and later became Sue’s Preschool, igniting an institution spanning 30 years. She fondly taught many children and followed their accomplishments throughout their lives. Upon high school graduation, each of her past students received a heartfelt card which included their preschool class picture. She would also send “a little something” anytime one of them celebrated a pivotal moment in life.
Snow ran in her blood, instilled by her parents’ passion for skiing, with young Sue taking her first turns with them at Alta. There were many family ski trips throughout the West, and in college she raced for the U of U Alpine Team. She was so proud of winning bronze in one of her races, but loved to point out that there were only three women racing! She taught all of her children and grandchildren to ski, and in her 70s she was part of the Sun Valley Ski School’s Little Spuds program, teaching many young children the thrill of skiing. She also loved her Nordic ski outings and volunteering on the trails as Courtesy Patrol at Prairie Creek. She was the most vivacious greeter!
Sue, as one of the “Meddling Mothers,” launched the first off-campus Wood River High School Senior Prom in 1985 for her daughter Jennifer’s class, and subsequently started the first all-night Senior Bash for her daughter Ginger’s class in 1988. Both events continue today. Her lifelong career as a volunteer ran vast and wide, but mostly centered on anything to do with her kids' schools and extracurricular activities.
Sue caught the travel bug at an early age, sharing many memorable adventures around the world with friends and family throughout her life. She had a true passion for the outdoors; beyond skiing, she loved to backpack, hike, bike, camp, paddle, and above all, follow her husband Frank’s lead into any forest, to the summit of many mountains and to sunny days on warm ocean or lakeside beaches. Whether it was butting heads with bison with their VW bus in Yellowstone or scaring away a bear with an alarm clock in Glacier during her and Frank’s honeymoon, her life was always an adventure.
Her magnetism was apparent everywhere she went, with children and parents flocking to her. She was a supreme ambassador of selflessness, Sue always put others first. Most of all, her pride shone brightly for her three children and five grandchildren. Family meant the world to her. As the fabric of her family, she taught family first, and poured her loving soul into making a strong family bond. Celebrations were a must and she was the ultimate hostess. There were family backpacking trips and outings to Hawaii, ski trips and road trips, gatherings at Rocky Mountain Ranch, river floats, boating and camping trips to Lake Powell, Redfish, Alturas and Anderson, and spectacular parties in her backyard, where her colorful flowers were always in bloom.
Mrs. Sue, I love you!
Her heart may have failed her, but it never failed to give unconditional love, strength, compassion, joy, friendship, life lessons and practical advice to us all. Her amazing strength of character was an inspiration to everyone who came in contact with her. She was full of energy and kindness and always took the time to listen. If there was a picture next to the definition of wife, mother, grandmother and friend, it would be of Mrs. Sue. One of a kind, honest, a bit quirky, humble, inclusive and neighborly, Sue was a friend to all. She built an amazing family and household and was a strong thread throughout our community. We will all miss you, Mrs. Sue, but our hearts will remain full of your strength, love and inspiration.
Sue is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, Frank Rowland, her children Jennifer (Brent Diehl), Ginger (Tom Ferries) and John (Alysha Oclassen), and her grandchildren that kept the twinkle in her eyes shining brightly, Hunter and Axel Diehl, Spencer and Sully Ferries, and Oona Rowland. She is also survived by her brother, Jimmy A. Shafer, and many wonderful “sister” friends including two of the “Meddling Mothers.”
She wanted to be remembered as “Mrs. Sue I Love You.”
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Sue’s Preschool Scholarship Fund at DL Evans Bank in Hailey, the Senior Connection or Hospice of the Wood River Valley.
Mrs. Sue's Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Oct 1, 12noon at 13 Quigley Road in Hailey
Please join us in celebration Sue's life well lived - she was a wonderful mom/wife/ sister/grandmother/aunt/friend/meddling mother/teacher - she was so much to so many.
She loved to camp and picnic at the symphony so please bring your blankets & camping chairs. Food & Drinks provided."*
Saturday, October 1, 2022
12:00 - 3:00pm (Mountain time)
13 Quigley Rd
*"Mrs. Sue's Celebration of Life Saturday, Oct 1, 12noon at 13 Quigley Road in Hailey Please join us in celebration Sue's life well lived - she was a wonderful mom/wife/ sister/grandmother/aunt/friend/meddling mother/teacher - she was so much to so many. She loved to camp and picnic at the symphony so please bring your blankets & camping chairs. Food & Drinks provided."* — Jennifer Diehl Please click the link below to RSVP so we can have an idea on head count. https://mrssuescelebrationoflife.rsvpify.com