Suzanne L. Dowden

Traverse City, Michigan


Traverse City, Michigan


Send Flowers

TRAVERSE CITY — Suzanne "Suzie" died peacefully at her home after a long battle with ovarian cancer and heart disease. Connie Riopelle, her partner of 42 years, and her niece, Kimber Thatch, were at her side.

Parkersburg, W.Va., was her place of birth. She resided there until her mother, Ruth Evelyn Lenhart married James Hockenberry, then moved to Oxford, Ohio.

She was preceded in death by her father, James R. Lenhart, her mother, stepfather and brother, Crane Clinton Hockenberry.

Suzanne was a graduate of University of Miami, Ohio, majoring in physical education and a graduate of University of Michigan with a master's degree in counseling.

Her career of teaching, coaching and counseling included Lockland, Ohio, Detroit, Ferndale, Eastern Michigan University and Kalkaska.

Playing tennis, field hockey, swimming, camping, music, nature and her pets all brought her great joy.

She was an active member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elk Rapids. She directed Sunday school, chaired the Altar Guild, visited shut-ins, taught catechism and edited the monthly newsletter for many years in the '80s and '90s.

Sue loved to minister to others spiritually and emotionally. Sue completed the four-year course for Education for Ministry, was a charter member of Daughters of the King, St. Teresa Chapter, and participated in Cursillo weekends.

The Celebration of Life service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Elk Rapids, 403 Traverse St., Elk Rapids, MI.

Please share memories with the family on their online guest book at

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 403 Traverse, Elk Rapids, MI 49629; Munson Medical Center Heart Center, 1105 Sixth St., Traverse City, MI 49684; or Hospice of Michigan, 16250 Northland Dr., Southfield, MI 48075.

The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Traverse City.

This obituary was originally published in the Record-Eagle.

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

You and I went to college at Eastern Michigan together many years ago. You introduced me to Suzie after I bought my house in Northern Michigan. What wonderful times we had together!
I know that Suzie is at rest, and I know that you did all that you could for her.
You and the critters are in our prayers.

Sue was the first of our close friends to pass. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you as you move on with your life.
Karen and Mary

I have fond memories of working along side Sue at KHS. Her office was just off mine and we shared a great friendship. I especially remember getting my start at jogging by beginning walking the track regularly with her. She was a good friend. My
thoughts and prayers are with you Connie.

What a valiant struggle Sue has had...we are so glad we saw you two recently at the airport! You are an integral part of our 'history' and appreciate all that you both have been and will continue to be in our life. Know our thoughts and prayers are with you. gary and lynn Herbers