Susan Marie Eckstaedt
1951 - 2020
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Susan Marie Eckstaedt

Waukee - Susan Marie (Eslinger) Eckstaedt, 69, was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on May 25th, 1951, and passed away peacefully on August 8th, with loved ones at her side after a courageous battle with ALS.

Sue was the oldest child of Marlyn P. and Doris M. (Drilling) Eslinger. She enjoyed a wonderful childhood in Eau Claire, and was a proud Regis High Rambler, class of 1969. Sue then attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and earned a degree in Education and Library Science and

later a Master's in Counseling at Drake University. Sue taught for 36 years in Wisconsin and Iowa, retiring from the Waukee Community School District in 2010. Sue loved her career, colleagues, and her students.

Sue married Tom Eckstaedt in 1974, and they began their life together in Milwaukee, WI. After a few years, they moved to Des Moines, IA, where they remained their entire married life raising three daughters, Ann, Elizabeth, and Catherine. Sue loved her family more than anything; she was a dedicated wife, mother, sister, friend, and #1 Grandma Gigi. Sue had a warm, generous, and loving soul. She never missed an opportunity to tell all in her life how much she cared, loved, and was grateful for them.

All will miss her smile, sweet voice, red lips, and lively spirit. She made everyone's day brighter. Our hearts are full because of her.

Sue is survived by her devoted husband and caregiver Tom; their daughters, Ann (Michael) Lucas of Newton, MA, Elizabeth (Nathan) Panther of Muscatine, IA, and Catherine Eckstaedt, St. Louis Park, MN; her mother, Doris Eslinger of Roseville, MN; her beloved sister and best friend, Carol (Jim) Thury of Roseville,MN; nieces, Christine (Ben) Adamson and Maggie Thury; and nephews, Dave (Dionne) Eckstaedt and Joe (Nicole) Paton. Sue was blessed with four beautiful grandchildren that she adored, Cole Panther, Reese Lucas, Kate Panther, and William Lucas. Sue is also survived by sister-in law, Jill Eslinger and brothers-in law, James (Kathy) Eckstaedt and Norman (Martha) Eckstaedt.

Her father, Marlyn P. Eslinger and her brother, Joseph Eslinger preceded Sue in death.

We thank the University of Iowa ALS Clinic and Unity Point of Des Moines Care Teams for their dedicated care to Sue and all our friends and family for their love and support.

Sue has requested a private service. Condolences for the family may be offered online at

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Des Moines Walk- ALS Association Iowa Chapter- Walk to Defeat ALS "Team Sue". 3636 Westown Pkwy, Ste 204 West Des Moines, IA 50266.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Des Moines Register from Aug. 11 to Aug. 16, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
August 18, 2020
Sue and I came to Waukee about the same time and it was an honor to be her coworker for many years. She was very invested in the students on a personal level, but her library was also a hub for adults and staff. Sue was very caring and had a fantastic sense of humor. Wanda and I cherish fond memories of joining Sue and Tom for The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney concerts at ISU.
Ben Holthaus
August 16, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always. I enjoyed working with Susan at Younkers and at Bible Study.
Kay Siemering
August 15, 2020
Sue was an awesome sister in law. Even though we didn’t get to see each other often, when we did get to visit each other she went out of her way to make me feel like family. Her late brother Joe loved her so much and would look forward to his visits back home so he could be with his family, usually celebrating both of their birthdays that were one day apart.
You all have my heartfelt and deepest sympathy.
Jill Eslinger
August 13, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
cara kazor
August 12, 2020
Mrs. Eckstaedt was a joy to know and learn from. She had a beautiful laugh and joyful smile. She went out of her way to feed my sons passion of reading; always find a new adventure for him to read. She will always hold a very special place in my heart as my teacher and my friend.
Jade Wadding
August 12, 2020
My families thoughts and prayers are with Sue’s family. She was such a phenomenal person. I was so lucky to work with and become friends with her. I feel so very blessed to have known her. She had the biggest heart and was the best school librarian ever. She made a difference in everyone’s life and she loved her family beyond measure. We’ve lost a wonderful soul. May she Rest In Peace.
Reva Hunzeker
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