MADISON - Susan N. Munson, age 89, passed away on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, at her home. Of the four children between Anthony (Tony) J. Nilles and Edna L. (Rummel) Nilles, (who were married in northern Michigan) they gave birth to Susan, their only daughter, on October 26, 1929, in Madison, WI.
Susan moved several times during her life; from being born, raised and married in Madison to New Orleans to Manitowoc to Mt. Prospect to Arlington Heights then back to Madison. While the family lived outside of Manitowoc, and with their young boys at her side (and Siri shortly behind), Sue always kept her hands busy. She managed a large family garden and canned much of its produce. She sewed for herself and her children, making most of her own cloths and numerous Halloween costumes. Sue gradually got involved in knitting, quilting, caning and upholstering chairs, making dolls and doing calligraphy. As a young mother she was very involved with her kid's activities. She helped at her church through teaching, working in summer school and was the superintendant of their grade school. After moving to Mt. Prospect she taught kindergarten at church as well as summer school and was the advisor for the Jr. High youth. Sue kept very busy as a Cub Scout den leader for her younger sons' in Arlington Heights and was a fixture at her children's school activities, seasonal plays and athletic events throughout their educational years.
After moving back to Madison, Susan singlehandedly raised four young kids. She worked diligently to support her family; earlier as an insurance secretary, then on to the UW campus. She was blessed to work with Dr. Bruno Balke and Dr. Francis Nagle in the Department of Kinesiology Bio-Dynamics Laboratory at the UW-Natatorium, until they retired, then she transferred to the UW Dance Dept at Lathrop Hall where Susan retired after 24.5 years within the UW system. Through her determination, frugalness and strong work ethics she was able to secure a mortgage to purchase a house and raise her three sons and daughter.
Finding her spiritual home at Covenant Presbyterian Church, she was a disciple there for 47 years. She enjoyed her church roles of Deacon, Elder, Sunday school teacher, being active with mission work, and involving herself with the CARE program for the elderly.
Once the children were out of the house, and after she retired, Susan started to venture out to see the world and be introduced to new cultures. She truly enjoyed and was enriched by her travels abroad, to: South America, Brazil, Patagonia, Argentina, Chile, Bahamas, Panama Canal, Canada, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Tanzania, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Prague and China. She enjoyed travels within the US and various places like; Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, Arizona, California and Colorado to see relatives.
As a young child involved with Girl Scouts, she embraced the mission to help and serve others. That mission was the driving force until her passing. Susan was a true energetic servant to our Lord and demonstrated this mission of serving in many ways: with her culinary skills she baked for those in need, delivered fresh hot meals to those who were bed ridden, dropped off homemade cookies or bars to those under the weather, delivered fresh cut flowers from her sidewalk flower garden and gave rides to activities or doctor's appointments to her 'kids' (friends of hers most older than she) who couldn't drive.
From what little time there is in a 24-hour day, she also found time to volunteer in the areas of; being an election official for 25 years, Habitat For Humanity, Meals On Wheels, Madison Senior Center, Concerts on the Square, the homeless shelters, Art Fair on the Square, Wisconsin State Historical Museum, Olbrich Gardens, Civic Ctr./Overture Center, Madison Children's Theater, Madison Theatre Guild, Kanopy Performing Dance Center, Salvation Army, and Plato ... to name a few. Her generosity in supporting many local charities helped fund their needs. She was an avid listener, watcher, volunteer and supporter of WI Public Radio and WI Public Television.
Sue was blessed with great genetics and was an athletically involved lady. She enjoyed trips to the Rose Bowl, took flights to Virginia to visit with her daughter's family to hike and sightseeing. Age never defined her love of the outdoors as she jogged, golfed, kayaked, cross country skied, biked, was involved in yoga, stretching and water aerobic classes until her Heavenly Father called her home.
What can we draw from Sue's journey on earth? Reflecting on the positive (yes, we all have faults!), for those who knew her, she set the bar high with her numerous involvements. Susan involved herself with many, sincerely cared for others, served willingly, humbly reached out, and was generous with her time and financial gifts. These are characteristics she gained from our chosen servant, Jesus Christ. She lived her life sharing those traits with us. What reflections do we shine onto others? That is our reason for being. Our hope is that we can continue the legacy by passing on the blessings of God's Spirit to others.
Susan is survived by her four children; son Steve (Melissa) Munson, granddaughters Amanda (Ben) Prodell, Payton, Zoe, son John Munson, son Mark Munson, daughter Siri (Kary) Ricketts, grandson James (Jessica) Ricketts, great grandsons Jayson and Jameson, and grandson Jacob Ricketts, brothers: Ralph Nilles (NC) and Paul (Maizie) Nilles (CO).
Sue was preceded in death by; her parents, sister-in-law Shirley (Ralph Nilles) (NC), brother and sister-in-law Fred and Agnes Nilles (CO)
A memorial service will be held at COVENEANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 326 S. Segoe Rd., Madison, WI on Saturday January 19, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be take place at the church prior the service from 10 - 11:00 a.m. Following the service a hot buffet reception with refreshments will be served at Covenant.
In lieu of flowers or financial gifts, please direct your generosity to the many missions at Covenant Presbyterian Church or one of the local involvements/charities she loved volunteering with or giving to.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road Madison
We will truly miss Sue and our adventures. Amazing tribute to her legacy. The spirit and the life that she lived. This gave a great snap shot of who she truly was. It's lovely. In the many days ahead as you face walking on without her. May sweet memories comfort the family and keep you warm!
Peace to all!
Jan and John Lang
To the family of Sue Munson...I will really miss her, and she was a great companion for various activities! We met at SAS (sports for active seniors) and we did a number of active things. She joined me on a bike trip in the Loire Valley in France. Another time we went to Tanzania in Africa for an impressive safari. We did things together in WI such as hiking canoeing, and XC skiing. She came to Tucson, AZ when I was there and spent a few days. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and certainly will miss her.
All best to her family....sincerely Marilyn Meister
We will miss Sue, she was a very kind and caring person always having energy to spare, especially for others. Our thought's and prayers go out to Steve, John, Mark and Siri
2 Corinthians 1:3,4
With care and love
Bill and Jackie Nilles and family
Sue was a dear friend that I met many years ago through an East High School friend and classmate, who also left us a couple of years ago. She graduated from West High but retained some of her East high friends throughout the years. She was one of the most thoughtful of people and I so admired her dedication to the community through her volunteer work. It won’t be the same going to Concerts on the Square and not seeing her! However, she did not think highly of my opinion that maybe we should give up snow shoveling at our age! She pursued life with zest and courage and will be sorely missed by many of us. Bicycle on, Sue.
A tribute to my ex mother-in-law: Thank you for all the years of being my mother-in-law. We had so many great times together volunteering at the mayor's convention, art fair, olbrich gardens and attending fashion shows for dance council, just to name a few. Enjoyed working with you at the duplex and felt honored taking you to your cataract surgery and spending the night. I had a lot of lovely luncheons at you home with your many friends and enjoyed the many christmas mornings you came to the house for breakfast before flying to Siri and family. I will never forget your special treats you made for us at christmas, especially your chocolate pie, being my favorite! A special thank you for all the support you gave me when my parents passed away. May you be surrounded by all lovely flowers in heaven and I will never forget you. Always your daughter-in-law, Lori
I was so sad to read the obituary for Sue especially as I reread the Christmas card she dropped of at the retirement home where I reside a week or or so before Christmas. I was a professor and three times chair of the UW Dance Program/Dept. for forty years and worked closely with Sue who was the administrative secretary two of the times I was chair. She was wonderful to work with: courteous, efficient, knowledgeable about the workings of the Dept. and ever ready to help staff and students. Three years ago I entered a residence home because of the effects of a brain tumor. Over these years Sue would drop off concert programs from the Dept., special event reports and holiday cards so I would know what was going on in the Dance Dept. I never personally saw her probably because I was not able to react with visitors early on. She would leave items at the front desk or slip them under my door. Reading of all the things she did over the years does not surprise me, She was a Very Special Person. I will look fondly many times over her Christmas card.
Mary "Buff" Brennan
So sad to hear of the passing of Sue. She was always a happy, energy filled person who took genuine interest in you and your life. I always looked forward to our family visits at the Munson home. My sympathies to the family, she will be missed by many.
Surprised and sad to read of Susan’s death. We were in Monday’s water aerobics together. Always enjoyed visiting with her, she was such an intrepid woman. Susan kept a volunteer schedule that most people 20 years younger than she wouldn’t be able to keep. Rode her bicycle almost daily. Always talked about what gourmet things she was fixing for dinner.
My sympathies to all of her many friends and family members.
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