The music is not quite as sweet, the stars have lost some of their twinkle, and the sun has dimmed a bit.
Susan Tenney Walker, born in El Paso Texas July 17, 1943, to Lynn and Maude Tenney, passed away June 27, 2023 in McKay Dee Hospital of a ruptured coronary artery. Sue graduated from Encina High School in Sacramento, California in 1961 as an honor student, excelled in drama and dance, and was a member of the acapella choir. She was named “Teen of the Week” by the Sacramento Union.
In 1962, Sue met Jim Walker in a Sunday school class in Sacramento with varying accounts of their first meeting. Sue’s account was that Jim entered the class, looked around, said that there were no pretty girls and immediately left. Jim’s version was that Sue was the prettiest girl in class. Apparently, his was the more accurate account since he was soon calling her. After a period dating, Sue announced that she would not marry any person that was not good looking, intelligent, and funny. Jim asked if she would settle for two out of three. She did. Sue, a sophomore and Jim a freshman at Brigham Young University, were married February 5, 1963, later solemnized in the Oakland Temple.
Education was on the forefront of their minds and both Sue and Jim continued college at Sacramento State University. Sue graduated in 1967 in psychology, now with two children. That summer, they moved to Provo, Utah to attend graduate school at Brigham young University where she was awarded a full NIH fellowship. It was a hectic two years, managing a household, rearing (now) three children, coursework, therapy preparation, and thesis research. Sue graduated with a master's degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology in 1969. Her thesis on stuttering was published in a scientific journal.
Sue was a business owner and an educator. After completing school, the family moved to the Santa Cruz area in California where Sue contracted with Dominican Hospital to provide rehabilitation services to patients with stroke and traumatic brain injury. Over the next 15 years, Sue developed and provided similar programs for three additional hospitals and several convalescent centers. During this time, she served on the Stanford Tri-County Stroke team and taught at UC -Santa Cruz on the symptoms, causes, and treatment of stroke.
Despite her busy schedule, Sue’s family remained the center of her universe. Every day she exposed her children to literature by reading to them, especially fantasy novels (before it was mainstream). There were weekly visits to the beach, children had to be enticed back to the car with a promise to stop on the way home at Buffalo Chips for cookies. Other times, Sue would just hang out with family telling stories, laughing, and enjoying one another's company. Music was always a theme in the household and in her life.
She and her family, now with six children and seventh on the way, moved to Farmington, Utah in 1984. Initially, she was content staying at home, but felt the need to share her expertise. Consequently, she again developed care programs for stroke and traumatic brain injury in hospitals and convalescent facilities.
Sue unconditionally loved her children for their uniqueness, saying that God blessed and kissed each one with differences. She also loved and respected her children’s spouses. Character, honesty, and work ethic were of supreme importance to her. Not one to mince words, they, as well as Jim, always knew what was on her mind. Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were her favorite times of the year. Christmas in the Walker’s home was magic, such a delight, a month-long time to decorate and just as long to take down and put it away.
Sue retired in 1998 to spend all her time with what she cherished most; her family, gardening, smiling, music, reading, laughing, shopping, and traveling, most recently to Italy this past November. Sue particularly enjoyed taking grandchildren shopping for clothes, both she and they always returned happy. Recently, Jim had a serious discussion with Sue about shopping, the thrust of which was that they had too many things and there was not enough room for more. It was not a particularly smooth conversation, but the resolution was that anytime Sue bought something, she would throw something away. The next week, Sue bought something. Perplexed, Jim asked, “What about our agreement that you would throw something away?” She responded, “I did, it was something of yours.”
Single-word free association by her children (epitomizing Sue): Faithful (Michylle), Industrious (Michael), Persistent (Jason), Exuberant (Marcel), Compassionate (Brandon), Dynamite (Jared), Joy (Preston). Jim- all of the above.
A faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Sue always strived to provide service. At age 16 she was ward choir director, followed by teaching Gospel Doctrine in the student ward and subsequently taught throughout her life. Sue shepherded the young women in the Santa Cruz ward and in the stake as Young Women’s President. Sue was the first woman to offer a closing prayer in her Sacrament meeting after informing the bishop that women could pray too. She wept with joy at the 1978 policy change extending priesthood blessings to faithful members of African descent. Sue expressed her strong faith in her everyday interactions with those that she loved, knew, and met. She treasured and deeply loved her friends and neighborhood, which provided her with companionship, love, and kindness. In her mind, there was not a better place to live.
Sue is survived by Michylle Bateman (Kevin), Michael Walker, Jason Walker (Greg Jones), Marcel Walker (Gary Berger), Brandon Walker (Stephanie Sorensen), Jared Walker, and Preston Walker (Rebekah); 17 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lynn and Maude Tenney, sister Maude Tenney, and brother LynnTenney. Survived by brother George Tenney, and sister Patricia Larsen, Eleanor Texie Smith, and Kathy Alba.
To each of her children: never forget that your mother knew you, she knew your heart, she fiercely loved you, and was extremely proud of you and your character.
In Jim’s mind, after sixty years of marriage, Sue is still the prettiest girl, the smartest, and the one with the greatest sense of humor.
When next we meet, the music will be so precious, the stars will blaze, and the sun will ever be so bright.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, July 6, 2023 at Russon Mortuary & Crematory located at 1941 North Main Street, Farmington, Utah. A viewing will be held at the same location Wednesday evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and Thursday morning 9:45-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment at Farmington City Cemetery.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.