Susan Diane Krebs was born in Newark, New Jersey, on Feb. 11, 1941, to parents Robert Harrison Krebs Sr. and Marie Lindlau Krebs.
The whole family moved to Arizona in 1946. Susan graduated magna cum laude from Tucson High School in 1959, and magna cum laude from the University of Arizona in 1965, then enrolled into Stanford University for graduate work. First she went to Europe, Spain, France and Italy. A graduate fellowship then took her to Oxford University in England. Susan became a Shakespeare scholar.
She arrived Fairbanks in August 1968 to teach English at UAF. There she met Patrick Kalen, who took a course from her. He helped her during a brutal cold spell, keeping a 1949 DeSoto she had purchased running all winter. In 1969 Susan moved up to a homestead on Chena Ridge with Pat, who had fallen in love with the teacher. She showed her mettle, earning her Pioneer bona fides by chasing a bear off the roof wielding a broom. In 1968 Pat and Susan and a partner purchased a 40 acre homestead where they lived on Chena Ridge. They were married there in 1970 by chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, Jay Rabinowitz. They formed a business, Kalen & Associates Inc., in 1969.
A Chena Ridge connection was with the Koponen family. There were many visits between us and gathering at saunas was a regular happening. Susan worked for Niilo Koponen as a legislative aide for several years.
Susan made the business work as it grew. She became acquainted with the surveying community. She was asked to become secretary of the Fairbanks Society of Professional Land Surveyors in 1980. In 1993, Susan was inducted into the Pioneers of Alaska. She became secretary of Women's Igloo #8, then president. Pat and Susan arranged for a Grand Igloo Convention to be held in Dawson in 1998 and another in Fairbanks 2002. In 2009 Susan chaired a Grand Igloo Convention while Pat was on a big survey.
Susan regularly attended church at First Presbyterian Church. She served as a deacon. She brought Pat with her to church; in 2015 they decided to move to University Community Presbyterian Church (UCPC) liking their new pastor. In time, Susan influenced Pat to join UCPC and become a Presbyterian. Her health gradually declined in the 90s, and she lost mobility in 2020. There is a space in the second row at UCPC for Susan's wheelchair. On May 16, 2021, after a UCPC service, Deacon Judy Fowler-Morris and Pastor Neil McKay followed Pat to Denali Center. Judy read a card for Pat and Susan's 50th wedding anniversary. While Pat held her hand, Susan went to heaven.
She is survived by her husband, Pat; son, Karl Kalen; granddaughter, Anna Kalen; sisters-in-law Elizabeth Albecker and Barbara Kalen; sister, Kathy Ice and her children, Michael Ice and Jennifer Vandenberg; her brother, Robert H. Krebs Jr. and his children, Kimberly and Rachel.
Services will be held at 4 p.m. today, Wednesday, June 9, at University Community Presbyterian Church, 3510 College Road. Persons who have not been vaccinated and those of you far from Fairbanks may view the service online: click on YouTube, then search for "UCPC Fairbanks" to find the live stream.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Jun. 9, 2021.