NANCY SUTTER, 72 – Loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend passed away on April 7, 2011.
Nancy Ann Sutter, our Mother was born on March 28,1939 to Werner and Theresa (Babe) Bill in Arcadia, Wisconsin. She grew up with 2 sisters, Janet (Runkel) and Mary (Pierzina), and one brother, Joe Bill. The family ran a local tavern and, later, a beer distributorship, which made for some great stories and also made them well known in that part of the country.
During high school, our mother met Gerry Sutter from Fountain City, a small town just “over the ridge”. They were married on September 6, 1958. While Gerry completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees, they lived in Madison, WI; Winona, MN; and Ames, IA. During this time they also had three children,: Lynn (Carlson), Fred and Kurt. The family eventually settled in Brookings, SD, where Gerry worked at the USDA Insect Research Facility and mother stayed busy creating a home and raising a family. After her children were older, our mother went back to work selling real estate.
Each year we spent many weekends visiting mother’s parents, “Gramps and Grandma” in Arcadia. Our mother’s sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews would also join these gatherings. On these fun-filled weekends , over Dutch lunches and traditional German meals, we shared countless laughs and created wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Over the years the family has maintained an incredible bond and support for each other.
Growing up in South Dakota, our family learned to appreciate the great outdoors. With mother, we enjoyed many family vacations fishing, camping, skiing and golfing. Whether it was fishing for trout in Arcadia or in the Black Hills, or for walleyes on the Missouri River or for panfish on the Mississippi in the Fall, mom was always there with her line in the water trying to catch the first and biggest fish.
A love of camping and golfing eventually led our parents to the Phoenix area. They loved the area so much that they eventually sold their home in South Dakota and moved to a retirement community in Surprise, Arizona.
Unfortunately, mother was diagnosed with myeloproliferative disorder soon after they relocated to Arizona.
Luckily, with her pluck and determination, mom was able to keep her disease in check for eight years and maintain an active life style with mild chemotherapy. She continued to thoroughly enjoy golfing with friends and family, attending adult education classes, playing mahjongg with her Arizona girl friends and online Scrabble with her extended family.
Our mother loved to socialize with neighbors, friends and family. She never missed a party, and never wanted to be the first one to leave. She had the longest legs of her siblings and was a “natural” dancer. Over the years, she and Gerry burned many holes on the dance floor doing polkas.
Mom’s first setback came in December 2007 when she required an emergency splenectomy. After a long recovery, she was able to regain some of her active social life. That year, a highlight for mother was the family reunion in the Black Hills, where we gathered for one more trout fishing trip and to celebrate our parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Our mother had great passion for life. She was a wonderful wife, great mom, and a good friend to all. While her disease took her from us too early, we are comforted by the fact that she enjoyed life to its fullest and infected all that knew her with her enthusiasm and optimism. Our mother will be missed, but she will never be forgotten.
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