Susan Ruth (Betts) Buckman
June 1, 1932 – May 28, 1923
Susan Buckman, 90, of Colorado Springs, CO passed away May 28, 2023, in her daughter’s home in Valparaiso, Indiana. She was born in Clearfield, PA, on June 1, 1932. She married William Arthur Buckman on September 2, 1953, and by their 69th anniversary were winning all the “how long have you been married” dance contests. Susan was kind, wise and direct, she could get to the heart of the matter in just a few words…words you would hold on to for years. Even in her later years with dementia, she had the sharpest wit and would come out with hilarious one-liners that you weren’t expecting. She had an uncanny ability to win games. The grandkids remember her beating them all the time in UNO. In her last year, she almost never lost a BINGO game; we could never figure out how that was even possible.
Susan completed her 2-year degree at Whitworth College in Spokane studying watercolor painting and, though shy, acting in school plays. While raising 4 children she worked for the Frederick’s Fabric stores in Denver, hand-painting signs and sewing fashionable clothes for their displays. She later worked briefly at a publishing house and for many years as a teacher’s aide in the Denver school system for emotionally and physically challenged children. Susan was a life-long tennis player and loved shopping for and refinishing antique furniture. With a strong interest in world events, she belonged to the Great Decisions women’s group. Her understanding of which often challenged us to think on a wider scale and seek first to understand before forming an opinion.
Susan and her husband Bill moved to Colorado Springs in 1977 where they lived in the Black Forest for 45 years. There they dedicated themselves to the community and particularly to the restoration of the 1920’s log-built Community Center. For their many contributions they were given the Black Forest Community’s “Keeper of the Keys” in 2013. Susan was also a member of the Black Forest Homemakers Club and High-Altitude Gardening Club, enjoying the challenge of creating beautiful gardens in an alpine desert climate. She helped create publications on caring for local trees. To save the trees on their 2-acre property, she worked over 15 years removing any mistletoe and thinning the trees, an effort that awarded recognition in the BF News as the model property in the forest for tree spacing. Susan’s love for the trees had some kids dubbing her “The Lorax.”
After her husband’s passing in March of 2022, Susan spent her last year in Valparaiso, Indiana, playing games, working puzzles, and teaching her daughter how to paint in watercolor. She had a chocolate ice cream cone every day and Andy’s famous pancakes for breakfast, listened to Elvis, watched tennis and loved to have books read to her, particularly her father’s detective stories and his hysterical biographical short story about the Coudersport Affair in 1933, which he credited Susan for having him write.
Susan is survived by children: Barbara (Philip) Anderson, Linda (Jo) Buckman and Bruce (Sopit) Buckman; grandchildren: Benjamin (Elena) Anderson, April (Randy) Swinford, Brionna (Steven) Howl, and Megan Stohr; great-grandchildren: Teagan Swinford, Ethan Anderson, Anya Waddington and Sage Sommer; ‘adopted’ grandchildren: Simone (Chris & baby Killian) Leonard, Ashton Kalhorn and Nicole Kalhorn; her sister Barbara (Leo) Maloney, brothers Tom (Judy) Betts and Rick (Diane) Betts; and much loved nephews and nieces. She was preceded in death by her husband Bill, whom she missed terribly, son Barry Buckman, grandson Luke Anderson, her parents Thomas Murray Betts and Esther Susan Bowes-Betts, and sister Nancy Cade.
A private service will be held in Valparaiso, Indiana. Internment later in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Susan Ruth (Betts) Buckman