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Rochester Hills – On Tuesday morning, July 28, 2020, Susie was reunited with her dearly departed family and friends in heaven.
Susie was born in South Haven, MI on February 17, 1949. She grew up on her parents’ farm with her two brothers in Bangor, MI, a town where she would renew ties with family and friends on a regular basis throughout the years to come. Her early years included work and play around the farm (she always thought of herself as a country girl), numerous family camping trips (feeding her life-long passion for travel) and regular gatherings with the many family and friends in the area. She was a member of 4H, a regular at local church camps, sang in school choir and was a top student in her class. She developed a love of sports through her active lifestyle, attended local community sports events and treasured the trips into Detroit when her favorite sports icon, Mickey Mantle, came to town. She grew up attending the Bangor Church of Christ where the family worshiped for years. She also received an upright piano as a gift from her Grandma June paid for with money that Grandma had raised picking blueberries. She would hone her skills on the piano for years to come.
Susie graduated from Bangor High School in 1967 and went on to college at Ferris State. It was there that she met Tom and in 1969, they married and began their shared journey.
Tom and Susie moved to Taylor, MI where they had their first son, Steven. After several moves, they settled in Tom’s hometown of Port Huron, MI and they had their second son, Timothy. In 1987, Tom, Susie and the boys headed west to Aurora, CO where Tom and Susie would remain until moving back to Michigan in 2012. Susie provided care for her mother and father in their later days and ultimately moved into the 3-generation family home in Bangor following their passing. As Susie’s physical capabilities diminished, she and Tom shared their final residence together on the St. Clair River before she moved to nursing care.
Susie is survived by sons Steven (Jennifer) Marlette and Timothy Marlette, grandkids Meghan and Nicholas Marlette, and brothers Gary Freestone and Gordie Freestone. She was preceded in death by her parents, Warren and Helen (Overton) Freestone and her beloved Thomas Marlette.
Susie was a consummate planner deft at coordinating a busy schedule. She worked several full-time jobs over the years as an assistant in the local high school office, an office manager for a forms printing business and ultimately owning and operating a cleaning business which helped provide extra capital for further education and travel for the family. She was always generous with her time and served as a board member and active participant in numerous churches and charitable organizations. However, there were three activities that she most poured her passions into – her love of her family and friends, her love of sharing God with others through music and her love of the great outdoors.
Influenced by the generations before her, Susie inherited an uncanny ability to connect with others. Her genuine interest and concern for the life experiences of so many led to an endless stream of phone calls, prayer chains, tea parties, quilting sessions, koinonia gatherings and dinner events. Mom was an effective communicator and she brought her all to each conversation.
Her love of Jesus was demonstrated through her sharing of music. Hours of practice and making music around the house helped her become a uniquely talented musician. Her vocal, piano and organ performance ministered to the hearts of many for well over half of a century. And, when she wasn’t producing music of her own, she loved to attend musical events – Christian artists, orchestras, piano and vocal recitals and the theatre.
And then there was Susie’s love of “God’s creation”. She cherished the detail of nature – studying the designs on a flower petal, observing the wispiness of summer clouds, searching for shooting stars from the blanket on a backyard hill, splashing with grandkids in a rain puddle, smelling the fresh Colorado mountain air on a 100-mile bike ride, listening to the trickle of a creek on a walk in northern Michigan, enjoying a drive through the deep green countryside during visits to the British Isles and the list goes on. And, when in these settings, it was not unusual to hear her break into song.
The family appreciates the prayers and contacts made through phone calls, emails, text messages, cards and flowers to Susie. The pandemic created a challenging environment for her to connect with others in recent months. She did enjoy her FaceTime discussions with her boys and especially hearing about the happenings of her grandkids who would play their musical instruments for her. Seeing the heritage of music being carried on in this youngest generation brought special joy and peace to her in her final days.
Susie will always be remembered for her authentic love and deep understanding of her family and friends, her steadfast faith, her gentle spirit, her appreciation for and recognition of the simple things in life, her quick wit, her willingness to help others in unimaginable ways, her commitment to physical fitness, and her excitement in new experiences.
The family honored the memory of Susie with a virtual musical celebration.
Private graveside services for Susie will be held at the Lakeside Cemetery in Port Huron, Michigan and the Arlington Hill Cemetery in Bangor, Michigan.
Memorials may be made to:
First Congregational Church of Bangor, 211 N Walnut Street, Bangor, MI 49013 – https://www.ourlittlechurch.rocks/take-action
Bangor Historical Society, c/o Bob Emmert, PO Box 25, Bangor, MI 49013
Crescendo Detroit, 18696 Cherrylawn, Detroit, MI 48221 – https://www.crescendodetroit.org
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