From her first days on this Earth, Susan Joan Byer-Cearbaugh took life on with a full embrace. She was happy and kind, and a friend to everyone she met. Her outgoing nature was a magnet for strong friendships that lasted a lifetime. She was a caring mother, a loving grandmother, and a cherished friend to all. Susan will be dearly missed in this life.
In the year of Susan's birth, the world was very busy making history. The Baby Boomer years hit their peak in the year of 1957 while more and more couples settled into life without as much hardship. Many enjoyed the use of credit, and this was notably prevalent with the ownership of cars which averaged a price tag of $2,749. The Soviet Union and the United States began the challenge of the Space Race when they launched the first man-made space satellite called Sputnik 1. Closer to Earth, Elvis Presley purchased a mansion in Memphis, Tennessee and named it Graceland. Children all over the country were entertained with Slinkys on the stairsteps, the amazing gliding ability of the first Frisbee, and whirled their bodies for hours using the ever popular Hula Hoop. Life was pretty good!
Life was about to get even better for Eugene G. and Marilyn (Bantham) Byer as they were preparing to meet their precious baby. Susan Joan was born on February 23, 1957, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She spent her childhood days in Columbia City along with her sister and two brothers. Their home was full of happy chaos and the occasional sibling squabble. Susan was the rambunctious and adventurous one of the family, and these qualities were only enhanced throughout her lifetime. Susan soaked up the joys in life and lived to find excitement in the ordinary day.
Susan's outgoing and vivacious outlook naturally attracted her to many activities. In her youth, she was very involved in Girl Scouts, first as a Brownie and then later as a full Scout. From the first social introduction to friends, Susan made many in life and enjoyed the company of each one. Early on, she and her friends loved the adventure of visiting Schultz Dime Store where they collected PEZ candies together every Saturday. She also looked forward to her annual camping excursion at Camp Whitley where she proudly earned the Annie Oakley Shooting Award. Susan found peace when she was in or by water, and this passion helped her excel as a swimmer on the Columbia City Swim Team.
Her social skills only improved with time which made her teenage years more fun and memorable. At the age of 12, she and her family took a long family vacation to California which opened her eyes to the world around her and created the realization of how much more there was to see and do in life. As a result, she charged forward with incredible zeal and spirit as a cheerleader in the Cheer Block at Columbia City High School. She made more friends during this time in her life, and she loved sharing time with them at sleepovers on the weekends. For many of her spring breaks, she traveled to Florida to soak up the sunshine and the ocean waters in the company of her dear friends. She graduated with the class of 1975 and went on to receive her Licensed Practical Nurse degree from Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Upon obtaining her degree, she held a few jobs - all of which showcased her passion for caring and tending to ill folks or anyone who was in need of assistance. She was an aide at Miller's Merry Manor, Alfran, and several Fort Wayne nursing homes. She also worked for the American Red Cross, but her true calling was in Home Health Care.
In her adult life, she was given the gift of two amazing children, Meredith and Weston. They brought great joy to her life and kept her spirit young. As they matured to find adult lives and love of their own, they also shared another blessing in life with their mother. As they added children to their own families, grandchildren became a wonderful blessing to Susan; Danyn, Jayce, Bryelle, and Emma all held a special place in their grandmother's heart.
As an adult, Susan thoroughly enjoyed the extravagant and the simple times. She traveled to the Grand Canyon, Cape Cod, and other beautiful ocean destinations; however, she was just as pleased to attend the Kendallville Apple Festival each year. In fact, she loved going to any street fair or art and craft fairs where she could find various folk art and people watch. She was attracted to miniature items and often found these at fairs to add to her collection. She also adored her handmade clay whistle collection of which she had over 20. Each year, when she visited the Apple Festival, she would study every design and pattern of the clay whistles until she found the prized one to take home. Technology captivated her interests as well, and she sought out the latest and greatest Apple iPhone when they were released. Susan's spiritual side found solace as a member of County Line Church of God and Dayspring Church, both in Auburn.
In her 60 years, Susan lived her life with incredible zest. Her contagious joy will be greatly missed. Sadly, we are forced to hold on to the memories we shared with Susan, as she passed away at 6:39 p.m., Thursday, May 11, 2017 at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We will keep her spirit alive in our hearts as we look to one another to find comfort in our loss of such a good soul, and we will never forget her.
Survivors include her mother, Marilyn Joan (Bantham) Byer, of Columbia City; two children, Meredith J. McCloskey, of Auburn and Weston (Rachelle) Cearbaugh, of Fort Wayne; four grandchildren, Danyn, Jayce, Bryelle and Emma; a sister, Valerie A. (Richard) Rouch, of Columbia City; two brothers, John B. Byer, of Fort Wayne and David E. (Heidi) Byer, of Winchendon, Massachusetts. She is preceded in death by her father, Eugene G. Byer.
Visitation is 4 to 8 p.m., Monday, May 15, 2017 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the funeral home with Chaplain Kurt Snyder officiating. Burial will follow at Thorn Cemetery, Ormas. Memorials may be given in memory of Susan to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana or Visiting Nurse and Hospice Home. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences or sign the guest register book.