APPLETON - Susan Margo Benedict passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 28, 2020, at Azura Memory Care in Oshkosh, Wis.
Susan was born to Robert W. and Margaret Fenske in 1943 in Berlin, Wis. She tried her best to stay out of mischief, but didn't always succeed - in her early years she managed to lead her sister to her father's classroom to give him mud pies, paint the neighbor's dog red, and wash carrots in the toilet for a family party. The family followed her dad's appointments as coach, principal, and superintendent throughout Wisconsin: Berlin, Hammond, Westfield, and Wisconsin Dells. But it was in secondary school that Susan hit her stride. She won numerous awards in academics, music and leadership while being a Wisconsin Dells kid: babysitting, stocking shelves, soda jerking, sales person, and waitressing. Susan was especially active in grade school and high school but was relegated to playing basketball, football, and volleyball with the neighborhood boys in the summer and after school as girls weren't yet able to participate in school athletics. Susan started dancing the jitterbug each day after school when American Bandstand was on TV. This was an activity she loved to do throughout her life.
Susan took her role as a cheerleader very seriously. She did it officially for Wisconsin Dells High School (in the days before many interscholastic sports were available for girls), but unofficially for years to come. As a mom and grandmother, at all of the sports events she attended, she was an enthusiastic, positive voice: she cheered on her kids, grandkids, their opponents, the coaches, and the referees. She was always reminding athletes, coaches, and referees to "do your job."
She proudly attended UW-Eau Claire and earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics education. She met her partner, Edward Benedict, at UW-EC and they raised three sons, of whom she was so proud. Susan was a competitive high achiever who expected the same standards from her sons and students. Molly and Maggie, her two Shih Tzus, were the beneficiaries of Sue's motherly petting and affection for many years. They were the only family members who weren't pushed to excel.
After settling in Appleton with Edward, she became a beloved instructor of mathematics and learning strategies at UW-Fox Valley for 25 years, earning the very highest ratings from her students. Prior to teaching college, she taught math at Einstein Junior High school for four years. She shared her love of mathematics not only in the classroom, but also with hundreds of students who came to her home for tutoring at her kitchen table.
For Susan and Edward, education did not end in the classroom. During summer vacations, they traveled to U.S. national parks and historic sites with their boys. They also enjoyed fabulous adventures all over the world including Europe, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the Holy Land. She was a tireless supporter of education: at Appleton East, she organized scholarship newsletters, and at McKinley Elementary, she started Hot Dog Days and Cookie Days through the PTA. As the population of Appleton grew, she campaigned energetically for several elementary-school referendums, ensuring all students in Appleton had access to a quality education. Sue and Ned loved to attend performances at the PAC. Sue had a deep appreciation for the arts - equally enjoying Broadway hits and her kids' recitals.
Sue generously shared her many talents with organizations like Women Build, Prince of Peace ministry programs, and sewing and knitting for her family. She was always on the move (gardening, walking, laundry, dishes, never sitting still), putting the needs of others before her own.
She dearly loved her grandkids, who appreciated her encouragement. As her memory faded, she still enjoyed attending their activities. She may not have known which grandchild she was cheering for, but she knew it was important to cheer for them.
She is loved and cherished by her husband of nearly 55 years, Edward; her three sons, Paul (Heather), Mark (Kimberly), and Eric (Christine); her five grandchildren, Nicole, Andrew, Jacob, Joshua, and Emily; her sister, Karen (Christian) Wyse; her brother, Robert (Carol) Fenske; her AFS brother, Rob Crawford; nieces, nephews, cousins and many close friends. She was preceded in death by her parents.
The family is particularly grateful to the staff of Azura Memory Care in Oshkosh, Wis., for the loving care they provided to her when her family could not be with her.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Susan's name can be directed to ministry programs at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church located at 2330 E. Calumet St., Appleton, WI 54915.
Due to Covid-19, a memorial service for Susan will occur in 2021. Her immediate family will soon have a private service and inurnment.
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