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Suzanne Jean Van Vechten

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Suzanne Jean Van Vechten Obituary
SUZANNE JEAN VAN VECHTEN (nee Tegland) passed away August 15, 2016, in Indian Wells, CA, at age 81. As throughout her life, Sue spent her last days surrounded by family and friends. People - fun people, caring people, inspiring people, irreverent people - were the joyspring of her life. Born in Windom, MN, Sue grew up in Riverside, CA. She stayed locally for college, enrolling in the University of California, Riverside, during the university's first year, and it is there that the willowy blonde met Pete, the man with whom she would spend the next 63 years. Sue's interests ran the gamut. She had an eye for Modernists and Cubism, and a deft hand with a brush of her own. All was not highbrow, however, as her craftiness produced one-of-a-kind Halloween outfits every year, and no event, birthday, promotion or graduation went without a handcrafted SueBanner. She also was a skilled pianist and when the turntable was switched on you heard folk music and Broadway musicals. But it was her skill in the kitchen for which she might be most remembered. She loved camping - to the extent that she and Pete once took the kids - one five, one six-months - across the desert to the High Sierras, in summer, without air conditioning in the car or disposable diapers. Once the kids were out of the roost she and Pete selflessly abandoned leaky tents, combustible Coleman stoves and freeze-dried meals for trailer life, and then with retirement embraced it full time, spending many happy years on the road before settling for good in the Coachella Valley. Long before JFK's call to all Americans to embrace community service, Sue was living the life of volunteerism. Be it church or Head Start, the indigent or the blind, Sue served, with her last act of helping others being knitting receiving blankets for newborns at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital. Sue lived life with charm, grace, love and a kind word at every turn. She lived it with a spot of Chardonnay here and there, too. Thank you, Sue - wife, mother, grandmother, sister, mother-in-law, aunt, friend. Our Sue. Sue is survived by her husband Pete; daughter Cyndy Maletis and her husband Ed; son Ken and his wife Teresa Gallavan; siblings Leighton Tegland and Bette Samdahl; and beloved grandsons Bryan, John and Andy Maletis, and their spirited spouses Abby, Dasha and Joana. Should friends desire, memorial contributions can be made to Coachella Valley Rescue Mission in Sue's name: www.cvrm.org; 47470 Van Buren Street, Indio, CA, 92201.


Published in Press-Enterprise on Aug. 21, 2016
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