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Susan Rita Schrepfer

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Susan Rita Schrepfer

AGE: 72 • Highland Park

Susan Rita Schrepfer, 72, passed away at St. Peter's Hospital on Monday after a lengthy and stoic battle with cancer. Susan was the life companion of the late Edward Ortiz, and the daughter of the late Robert and Rita Schrepfer.

She is survived by her brother Steve and his wife Diane, her beloved daughters Amy and Cecilia, and her grandson, Kai. Susan was born in San Francisco in 1941 and grew up in Gilroy, California. Through hard work and picking prunes, she graduated from Gilroy High School and made her way to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned a bachelor's degree in History. She went on to earn a PhD in History from the University of California, Riverside. Susan was a college teacher in California and later a research associate with the Forest History Society in Santa Cruz, CA. where she began publishing her research in environmental journals. In 1974, she joined the history department at Rutgers University and found a true passion in teaching. A remarkable classroom teacher, she taught until the week of her death. Her specialties were environmental and frontier history, topics on which she published two unusually influential books, The Fight to Save the Redwoods, and Nature's Altars. Her Rutgers colleagues valued her friendship and wise counsel. Her dedication to her students showed both in her classes and in her creation of programs to support K-12 teachers in the state by providing significant professional development in topics related to History.

Susan also met her companion Edward at Rutgers. Together, the two of them traveled all around the west, hiking, visiting redwoods, and dipping their toes into the ocean. Susan loved to spend time with her daughters and she and Amy traveled twice to Italy in the last few years to enjoy the Alps, gelato, and the Mediterranean. She also spent time snorkeling with both of her daughters and her grandson in Maui.

A Memorial Gathering will be held at the Crabiel Parkwest Funeral Chapel, 239 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ on Friday, March 7, 2014 from 10-11am with a Funeral Service at 11:00am. Interment will follow at Elmwood Cemetery, New Brunswick. Calling hours will be at the family home from 1-4pm following the burial. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rutgers Oral History Project or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Published in Home News Tribune on Mar. 6, 2014
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