Susan J. Smith Armstrong

Portage, Columbia County, Wisconsin, USA
Death 21 Jan 2017 (aged 66)
Wisconsin, USA
Burial Briggsville, Marquette County, Wisconsin, USA
Memorial ID 176107564 · View Source
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Armstrong, Susan J. (nee Smith)

Susan was born in Portage, WI on January 26, 1950 to Donald R. and Marion (nee Ginther) Smith. She died on January 21, 2017 from complications of Huntington's Disease. She fought a great 12-year battle with determination, courage and grace. She never gave up hope and resisted its crippling effects to the very end.

Susan graduated St. Vincent's Academy in Savannah, GA. After High School, she enrolled at Clark College in Dubuque, IA for a year. During the summer, she waitressed at Pheasant Inn in Briggsville and Del-Bar Supper Club in Lake Delton before transferring to UW-Madison and continued waitressing at Tony Frank's-North. She graduated with a B.A. degree in theater and Drama. She was a behind the curtains guru for several plays and in many Little Theater productions. Susan helped choose and paint back drops, directed lighting, organized and procured wardrobe and furniture set designs. The use of color and efficiency were her hallmarks.

Susan married Dennis Armstrong of Baraboo, WI in a backyard wedding at her grandmother's gazebo. Her father walked her down the road from her aunt and uncle's neighboring farm house. The couple moved to the Milwaukee area and later divorced.

Susan accepted work at a job fair with All State Insurance Company. She quickly rose through the ranks and became a claims adjuster. She served as a member of the Nationwide relief team and was dispatched often as the 1st person in and the last out at disaster scenes such as Gulf Coast and Florida hurricanes and in California earthquakes. She rutted out fraudulent cases filed against the company and exposed rings of crooked individuals preying on the industry. Often opposing companies settled when they learned she was on the case. She held that position for 32 years before retiring early due to health reasons.

Susan was a family trend setter, mentoring and counseling others and excelling in outdoor activities and sports. She loved to travel. She was an active runner entering 4 marathons, taking 10th place in the Lake Co. Ill. Race with a time of 3 hours 29 minutes' flat. This qualified her for the Boston Marathon. She also entered many 5 and 10 K races. She chalked up many 1st place finishes. She participated in the week-long bicycle ride across Iowa. This event was from West to East and she did it 4 times, staying with different farm families along that stretch. She was the team captain of her softball team. A natural lefty, she played 1st base. She was the spark plug, the cheerleader and batted clean up! For excitement, she vacationed out west. Whitewater rafting the Colorado River in Arizona, way down deep in the Grand Canyon and the Snake River in Idaho and Washington State were her favorites. They provided a challenge and she gave it her all getting wet and loving it. In later years, she was content to walk to and from the grocery store using nearby Glacier Drumlins hike-n-bike trail.

Susan was also a world traveler. Summer trips were saved for European Tours including stays in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Spain and France were next, followed by the British Isles and Ireland. In the winter months, she took trips to the Southern hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand ranked high on her list. A safari ride with big game and wild animals in Africa was her favorite. She said it was so real you could almost reach out and touch them. The zebras were the best.

Susan's hobby was watching the latest Hollywood movie release, but she loved them all. She claimed she liked the romantics and comedies the best but enjoyed drama and thrillers as well. She didn't care what time era the film was either. Academy Award winners and golden age movies did just fine as far as she was concerned. We never found out who her leading male actors were. True to her nature, she went out on her terms watching a movie with her brother and sister-in-law.

Susan is survived by her father Donald and 2 brothers, Darrell, Baraboo, WI and Steven (Sherry) Smith, Germantown, WI. 2 nieces, Michelle Lepenski, Hartford, WI, grandnephew Mason and grandniece Madison, Jennifer (Joseph) Rodriguez, grandnephews Austin and Able. Susan was preceded in death by her mother Marion (Ginther) Smith, grandparents, aunts and uncles and sister-in-law Ginny Murray Smith.

The family wishes to thank her dear friends Arnie, Marty and especially Betty who shared many hours watching films together. A shout out also goes to the staff and caregivers of the 2nd floor West Lutheran Home in Wauwatosa, WI. Your care recently and throughout the years has been outstanding, loving and kind.

Susan, we are going to miss your smile, courage and independence. God speed and farewell.

The family will greet friends on Thursday Jan. 26 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, N565 County Rd. A, Briggsville, WI 53920 from 11 AM until the time of Mass at 12 Noon. Burial will follow at the Church Cemetery and a reception will follow at the Church. Memorials to Huntington's Disease Society of America are appreciated.

Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral and Cremation Services, N84 W17937 Menomonee Ave., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 24, 2017

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  • Created by: LMW
  • Added: 7 Feb 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 176107564
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Susan J. Smith Armstrong (26 Jan 1950–21 Jan 2017), Find A Grave Memorial no. 176107564, citing Saint Marys Catholic Cemetery, Briggsville, Marquette County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by LMW (contributor 47059509) .