August 30, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.
Susan Marie Shulze, 81, also known as Sue, transitioned to glory Aug. 17, 2023, in Thousand Oaks, California. She passed away following complications of a recent illness, with her loving husband Bob at her side.
Born Dec. 11, 1941, to Jim and Eleanor Benson in Sauk Centre, Sue was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and aunt who touched the lives of many through her dedication, positivity and selflessness. She was a true angel on earth and among the kindest people anyone would meet.
Sue was an influential leader in her community, making a difference through her teaching, volunteering and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of others, particularly the most vulnerable, including many immigrants and refugees new to the country. She loved her family and was forever dedicated to her children and grandchildren. She recently celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary with her adoring husband, Bob. Sue’s strong faith, constant positive outlook and genuine empathy propelled her hope and optimism, inspiring those around her. Her passion for learning and humble nature endeared her to those around her.
Sue was very bright and excelled in school, but her humility was such that those around her would never feel less intelligent or inferior. Her sharp wit and sense of humor were much like that of her father, Jim. She possessed a wonderful ability to listen and observe without the need to immediately comment, similar to her mother, Eleanor.
In addition to her husband Bob, Sue is survived by her son Scott Shulze of Oak Park, California, daughter-in-law Brigitte and granddaughters Abbey and Ella. She is also survived by her daughter Mary Esser of Westport, Connecticut, son-in-law Jeff and their two sons. Sue is also survived by her brother Jim Benson of Shorewood, his wife Mary and their children and grandchildren – Kari Benson, husband Erik Overlid and their daughter Gretchen and Jessica and Aaron Sorbel and sons Henry and Joshua.
Sue is preceded in death by her parents Jim and Eleanor Benson of Sauk Centre, her granddaughter Sarah Shulze and her nephew Eric Benson.
Sue’s educational journey began at Sauk Centre High School, where she excelled in class. She continued earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a minor in French from the University of Minnesota in 1963. Sue’s career was teaching, specializing in English as a Second Language. After various initial teaching jobs, including at The International Institute, Sue worked full-time at Hopkins High School, primarily teaching ESL, and retired after a 37-year career. Her ESL teaching continued until recently at University Village, helping non-English speaking staff learn English. Sue found solace and community in her places of worship, including the Colonial Church of Edina, now called The Meetinghouse, and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westlake Village, California. These spiritual spaces provided her with support and guidance throughout her life.
Outside of her family, community and faith commitments, Sue loved golf, the outdoors, tennis and reading. She especially enjoyed the many summers spent at the family cabin on Fairy Lake in Sauk Centre from childhood and throughout her adulthood. She also enjoyed exploring the world through travel and dedicated much of her time to volunteering. Sue and Bob made trips to many different countries with Global Volunteers. Her service to her community was continual.
Notably, Sue headed the Families Moving Forward program at Colonial Church for 15 years, significantly impacting the lives of many homeless and families in need. She enjoyed playing with the children and getting to know the guests by listening to their stories.
Two memorial services will be held to celebrate Sue’s remarkable life. The first service will occur at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, in the Balboa Room at University Village in Thousand Oaks. Following the service, a reception and light luncheon will be held. Non-resident attendees are asked to RSVP to [email protected] with their name for the security gate at University Village and should park outside the gates on Campus Drive. The second service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, at Meetinghouse Church in Edina. A reception and lunch will follow. Instead of flowers, contributions can be made to the Sarah Shulze Foundation at www.sarahshulzefoundation.org, World Vision or a community-supporting charity of one’s choice. These organizations reflect Sue’s commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Sue’s memory will forever be cherished by her family, friends and all those whose lives she touched. Her compassion, dedication and legacy of love will continue to inspire and uplift those who knew her. H-35-1P