Susan “Susie” Elaine Buterbaugh
Susan “Susie” Elaine Buterbaugh, 78, of Overland Park, KS, passed away peacefully at Shawnee Post Acute Rehabilitation Center, after an extended illness on August 23, 2022. All of her children and grandchildren visited her this summer when she was in the hospital and then in hospice. Her daughter and family lived nearby and saw her daily to the end. Susie had no doubt that she was loved and supported by all of her family.
She was born on December 6, 1943, in Waynesboro, PA to the late J. Charles “Charlie” Myers and the late Leona Zulieme “Dewey” Myers (née Feagans) originally from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Susan graduated from Waynesboro High School and former classmates still remember her mischievous antics and overall joyfulness. She also attended Shippensburg State Junior College where she began nurses’ training, but later dropped out after getting married to her high school sweetheart Neil Buterbaugh and deciding to start a family. Being a homemaker, mom, and political activist was all Susan ever wanted to be and she spent the rest of her life focused on those pursuits.
Susie considered herself to be a success because according to her, she raised the three best children on the planet! Her love of them and her belief that they were all extraordinary and able to do anything they wanted in life resulted in all of her kids growing up as successful adults, happily married and each with thriving children of their own. Susie’s grandchildren also have all grown into amazing humans and she loved to brag about all of them!
In addition to being a fantastic mother and grandmother, Susie was a champion for social justice. From the time they could walk, she would take her children along to protest rallies against the Vietnam War and racism and for LGBTQ rights, as a young mom. She bravely took these stands even though she was living in a little town, Boiling Springs, where most people had different political views than she and her husband Neil did. She always put her principles and beliefs above being popular, even though she was by nature, a quiet, introverted person.
In 1978, Susie and Neil moved their family to Kansas as part of Neil’s job relocation. Even though they later divorced and Neil eventually moved to Florida with his late wife Judy, Susie remained a lifelong Kansas resident, along with her youngest daughter, and she maintained a friendship with both Neil and Judy. The entire extended family of three generations was able to gather together happily on holidays from time to time, due to the mutual respect Susie and Neil had for each other as friends and co-parents. Their ability to rise above their own issues for the sake of their children gave them all a sense of security and well-being.
One of Susie’s proudest accomplishments was in 1985, when she realized that she had an alcohol problem and went to Valley Hope for rehab, followed by her membership and active involvement in AA. She never had another drink and stayed sober for over 37 years. She also helped others to become and stay sober along the way.
Susie was so committed to her recovery that she refused to take even pain medication, even when prescribed by a doctor following her knee surgery. She had battled ovarian cancer in 2005, and went through chemotherapy and radiation without ever complaining. Her family marveled at her extremely high tolerance to pain, and the commitment she made and kept to staying drug and alcohol-free.
Forgiveness, love of family, and authenticity were Susie’s highest values. She lived a very simple, grateful life. She had a wonderful sense of humor, taught her family to play board games like parcheesi, and card games, including pinochle, of which she was a particular fan! She loved music and played it all of the time when her kids were growing up. Consequently, they are still fans of Bob Dylan, Bruce Sprinsteen, Joan Baez, Carly Simon, Barbara Streisand, the Eagles, and many others.
Susie also loved writing poems and short stories when she was younger and was an avid reader to all three of her kids from birth, teaching them poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Browning, Walt Whitman, and Rudyard Kipling; philosophy and civics by Martin Luther King, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thorough; and heart-warming fiction by E.B. White and Louisa May Alcott, to name only two examples. Even until her day of passing, she kept a stack of books in her hospice room.
Susie’s love of animals started with her beautiful dog, a Collie named Heidi, that she got as a teenager and had until Heidi passed away, which was after she had had children. In recent years, she had a rescue Chihuahua named Pepe and a cat formerly known as Ravin, Houdini, Darth and back to Ravin. Ravin now lives happily with Susie’s daughter, Kim. Susie also loved to watch birds and in the end watched them from her room at a bird feeder her grandson Kane hung on a tree just outside her window. She always said that she could not even kill a spider, because she loved animals and creatures so much.
Susie had good taste in clothes, sunglasses and jewelry, especially turquoise, which was her birthstone. She loved to find her fashion at thrift shops and sales as she was not materialistic or money-minded. It did not take much to make Susie happy as she just loved life itself and seeing her children live it alongside her.
Susie was a devoted Christian and her advice many times, when asked by her children, would be “Get down on your knees and pray.” She was a lifelong member of the United Church of Christ in Waynesboro, Boiling Springs, and then in Johnson County.
Susie’s body is gone, but her spirit and the memories and experiences she gave her family will go on forever.
Susie was predeceased by her beloved nephew Eric Godshall, of Moscow, ID, as well as her aforementioned parents and numerous uncles and aunts.
Susie is survived by her daughter Kirstin Elaine Martin, her husband Thomas Martin of Gloucester, MA, and Kirstin’s children Kane and Ariana Oshiro; son Kevin Buterbaugh, his wife Claudia Bosch, and their children Lukas and Charlotte, of New Haven, CT, and Kimberly Sue Martin, her husband James Martin and their children Charlie and Juliana of Overland Park, KS. Other survivors include Susie’s ex-husband Neil P. Buterbaugh, of Orlando, FL; her sister Janet Godshall of Waynesboro, PA; her nephew Kurt Godshall and wife Lou Godshall of Lexington, KY; her niece Gretchen Rockwell and her husband Bob Rockwell, and their three children Cody, Sasha and Jackson, of Plymouth, MA. She also left behind her cousins Renner “Buddy” Feagans and his wife of Dayton Ohio; Chuck Feagans, his wife, and their children.
Susie was cremated. Her children and their families will gather together on Thanksgiving at one of the places their mother loved to scatter her ashes together in a private ceremony.
No flowers or donations are needed or requested but if you knew Susie, you are encouraged to honor her memory by being grateful and donating your time or money to a cause about which you are passionate!