Suzan Lorraine Johnson

Suzan Lorraine Johnson, born 11/29/1953 in Emporia, KS, departed her Earthly shell on 1/10/2020 at Holiday Resort in Emporia, KS. She was eagerly greeted by beloved family members, Scherri Buchtel (sister), Cheyanne Watson (niece), Travis Watson (nephew), and Ross and Leah Crawford (parents) at the Gates of Heaven.

Suzan is survived by her daughters, Michelle Zumbrum of Emporia, KS, and Wendee Eaton (Neil) of Junction City. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Tobey Eaton (Michaela Hoover), Jacob Zumbrum, Neillee Eaton, and Miranda Taylor; great-grandchildren, Michael, Bennie, and Titan; sisters, Lynn Platt (Brett) of Emporia, KS, Sheila Kivi of North Pole, Alaska, Stacy Welsh of Americus, KS, and Shelley Parkman (Timothy) of Emporia, KS; and several nephews.

Never afraid of hard work, Suzan started working at the age of fourteen. Throughout her life she worked as a waitress, in meat packing, but primarily in retail management (Alco, Sally Beauty Supply, Cracker Barrel). During her tenure as manager of Sally Beauty Supply, she earned several incentive trips to places like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, in which she made beautiful, fun memories with her daughters. She retired in December 2017 due to her declining health.

Suzan loved dogs and there was never time in her adult life that she did not have at least two canine friends living in her home. Her hobbies included crocheting afghans for various family members (a skill neither of her daughters had the patience to learn) as well as reading suspense novels and watching murder mystery movies (she could almost always figure out the who-dun-it way before the end). She loved the gracefulness of dolphins- they decorated not only her home but also her calf as a tattoo.

Suzan displayed a biting wit and a bluntness that sometimes cloaked the softer side of her personality, her compassion, and her dedication to her family. She was a determined, fierce fighter and no matter what life threw at her (divorce, poverty, cancer), she never stayed down long. She stoked Michelle’s awareness of social justice issues when Michelle was in fourth grade with a subscription to Time Magazine (which Michelle has to this day).  She was Wendee’s best friend and they often checked in with each other a couple of times a day by telephone. On Friday nights, she could be found at home, hanging out with her dogs and drinking coffee with Stacy. She enjoyed family gatherings on hot summer days at Lynn’s pool. She greatly appreciated all the ways Shelley supported her in her final months of life. She had friendly fun sparring with Sheila over political differences of opinion.

Suzan’s family miss her deeply and her daughters have a hole in their hearts that can never be filled, but ultimately they are thankful she is no longer suffering.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, January 25th, 1:00pm-2:30pm in the Parlor of the First United Methodist Church of Emporia (823 Merchant St).

The family requests donations to Central Cancer Center of Emporia or the Relay for Life in lieu of flowers.

4 “Suzan Lorraine Johnson

  1. Michelle, Wendee and the rest of the family,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your mom, sister and auntie. I agree with the obituary, you will never be the same without Suzan. The pain will lessen over time and hopefully it will be replaced by beautiful memories. It is so hard to lose your mom! I mean, she was your best friend, too! Again, my condolences.

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