Cover photo for Suzanne S. Hotter's Obituary
Suzanne S. Hotter Profile Photo
1941 Suzanne 2023

Suzanne S. Hotter

February 7, 1941 — August 17, 2023


On August 17, 2023, Dr. Suzanne S. Hotter of Stoughton, Wisconsin passed peacefully while in Agrace Hospice Care at Fitchburg, Wisconsin. Suzanne was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Irene Smith, and her husband of 37 years, Thomas Hotter. Surviving family include her younger sister Jane Price; son Michael Robbins, wife Katy and grandchildren Victoria and Jackson; daughter Erin Mullins, husband Stu and grandchildren Riley Plagge (Husband Jack) and Ellie Mullins; daughter Heather McGee, husband Jason and grandchildren Aidan and Cael; step-son Tom Hotter, wife Amy and grandchildren Anna and Joey; and step-daughter Mya Campbell and grandchildren Luka, Casper and Henry.

Born February 7, 1941, Suzanne’s life began with a firm foundation rooted in the small Iowa town of Columbus Junction--riding horses, working hard in school, and getting involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. From a young age, she learned the importance of education and community through her father’s example; this became a theme for much of her life to come.

Following high school, Suzanne completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Iowa State University in 1964. Deciding to put her career on hold to raise children, she and her first husband, Larry Robbins, moved throughout the northern Midwest states of Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the upper peninsula of Michigan to follow his career with the US Forest Service. In 1974 they decided to move back to Columbus Junction with a career change to offer their family more permanency. At this time, Suzanne started teaching for the Columbus Community School District and subsequently started graduate school at the University of Iowa to complete an EdS in Special Education and, later, a PhD in Educational Administration. Her family thrived for many years in Columbus Junction, but as life can throw in many obstacles, Larry and Suzanne parted ways in 1984.

The next chapter of Suzanne’s life began with a move to Stoughton, Wisconsin where she took a new position as Special Program Coordinator for the Stoughton School District and continued work on her PhD. It was here that she met and married her husband, Tom Hotter. Tom and Suzanne were inseparable as they enjoyed so many of the same things: learning, world travel, collecting antiquities (each with its own unique story), watching ball games (Badgers, Packers and Hawkeyes), and keeping tabs on their children’s families. They loved nothing better than gatherings at their home with friends and family. Suzanne’s career also continued to move forward, as she became Advanced Studies Coordinator then Assistant Elementary Principal for the Verona School District. In 1988 Suzanne joined the Watertown Unified School District, where she served as the principal for Douglas and Concord Center elementary schools during the 1988-89 school year and as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction 1989-90 school year. From 1990 until her retirement in 2002, Suzanne served as the Superintendent of Watertown Unified School District. She additionally gave back to the field of education and her community through teaching classes for the doctoral program in Educational Administration at UW Madison, serving on the Wisconsin State School Board, volunteering as a patient advocate, and serving on the hospital board for Meriter Hospital in Madison. It was during the 11 years as superintendent that Suzanne felt she was able to make her greatest contributions to her community and the education of students. Her many accomplishments include the building of a new high school in Watertown and being named WASDA Outstanding Educator as she supported and navigated her staff, students, parents and school board with courage, fairness, and expectations for excellence.

Upon retirement from the Watertown School District, Tom and Suzanne built their dream home in Rockdale, Wisconsin, and although Suzanne jumped briefly back into service as interim Superintendent for the Stoughton and Evansville School District, she retired for good in 2005. In retirement, she and Tom continued to enjoy travel, sports, family, collecting antiques, gardening, and spending time with their beloved dog, Jet.

The family has planned a private memorial service and would like to thank the Stoughton Senior Center, Milestone Senior Living (Stoughton), and Agrace Hospice In-patient Care Unit (Fitchburg). A special thank you to personal care attendants Cindy Aaberg and Tammie Houser. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be gifted to the Stoughton Senior Center in the name of Suzanne S. Hotter.

Please share your memories of Suzanne by posting in her Guestbook.

Cress Funeral Service

206 W. Prospect Street, PO Box 231, Stoughton

(608) 873-9244

To order memorial trees in memory of Suzanne S. Hotter, please visit our tree store.


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