Sue Ann Harris Wilson passed away December 22, 2018, at her home in The Dalles, Oregon. She was born December 5, 1940, in Grand Junction, Colorado. She was 78 years old.
She grew up in Rifle, Colorado. She was the fourth girl born to Nevada Pearl Sullivan Harris and Roy M. Harris. Norma Jean and Barbara Jane were her older sisters, and there was a considerable age gap between the older girls and Sue. She was delighted when she was eight and became the proud sister of a baby brother, Dougald Ross. Pearl was the owner of her own Beauty Salon located in the back of Roy’s Jewelry and Watch Repair Shop. Isola Harris, Sue’s paternal grandmother, took care of Sue and her sisters while their parents worked. Eight years later, they lost their mother. Luckily, she was old enough to help her dad in the jewelry store while Dougald played with his friends after school. The three of them, Dad, Sue and Doug got along very well until Sue graduated from Rifle Union High School in 1958. Roy became incapacitated due to a brain tumor in 1959. Dougald moved in with Bob, Sue and their two children in Boulder. Her father died in 1963 of pneumonia. Dougald then moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., with their sister Barbara.
Sue was a student at the University of Colorado from 1958 to June of 1968 and graduated with a BA in Education. During this time, she married Robert Wilson and they lived in Boulder with their children, Mike, born in 1960, Mitch, born in 1961 and Mary, born in 1963. Faye Warren or “Nana” cared for the children while Sue finished her degree. Sue substituted, worked part time as a pre-school teacher at First Baptist Pre School and as a teacher’s aide. When the children were old enough, Sue started a full-time teaching position in Adams Co. District 12. She taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades until she retired in 1998. She obtained her master’s degree in 1983-1985 in an off-campus evening program with the University of Northern Colorado.
She wrote many district grants to further the curriculum for her students. Some of the grants included field trips to the Colorado School of Mines museum, mines in Idaho Springs, Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison Colorado and trips to a wolf sanctuary. Geologists came to Thornton Elementary to teach the entire school about types of rocks and formations in Colorado. They set up a sluice box, and the students were able to pan for real gold in ore furnished by the geologists. Children took home samples of mineral crystals, obsidian calcite roses and other sample of Colorado minerals.
Bob and Sue had two foster sons, Rick McCarthy and John Wheeler, until they graduated from high school in Boulder, Colorado. Many of the children in the Thornton area never got out of the inner city, and with the help of her foster son, Rick McCarthy, they wrote a grant for the children to visit the University of Colorado campus, paired with fraternity and sorority students. They attended classes, visited dorms and off campus housing, met some of the CU football players and tossed footballs around the CU stadium. They even visited the student loan departments so they could see how anyone could apply to attend college if they wanted.
After retiring from teaching, Sue worked for Hospice of Boulder County as an administrative assistant to the fund raiser. There, she learned even more about writing grants and wrote a Sun Grant for Thornton Elementary. This enabled the teachers to use one computer lab for children doing research while the computer teacher taught computer skills in another lab.
Sue and her husband Bob volunteered for many years with the City of Boulder Open Space by maintaining trails, removing huge areas of knapweed and teaching hikers about wildlife on the trails.
After moving to Oregon, she was able to acquire two new computers and a printer for the Senior Center in The Dalles. She continued in the service of children by serving on the board for the non-profit Family Bridges of The Gorge.
United Church of Christ Congregational became a second family for both Sue and Bob when they moved to The Dalles. Sue served as a representative to the Fellowship of Churches for four years. She promoted a scholarship for recovering drug or alcohol users and supported the efforts of the Fellowship in furthering the organizations helping people in need in The Dalles.
She loved family, writing poetry, gardening and her dogs. She contributed to many charities with emphasis on children and wildlife. She loved and advocated for wolves. She saw wolves in Yellowstone and visited the White Wolf Sanctuary in Oregon.
She was proceeded in death by her parents; sister Barbara. Sue is survived by her husband, Robert of The Dalles; sister, Norma Dunning of Yreka, California; brother, Dougald Harris of Santa Cruz, California; sons, Michael and Mitchell Wilson of The Dalles; daughter Mary Wilson of Littleton, Colorado; grandchildren, Johanna and Quinn Wilson; nephews, Larry Dunning, Christopher Harris, Galen Harris; and niece, Debbie Porter.
A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Christ Congregational in The Dalles on Saturday, January 12, 2018, at 11 a.m. with a reception and luncheon held in the church dining room after the service.
In lieu of flowers Sue wanted donations sent to three of her favorite charities: Doctors Without Borders, Smile Train, Defenders of Wildlife or a charity of your choice.
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