Carolyn Sue (Colvin) Douglass, also known affectionately by most as “Susie”, was welcomed by a host of loved ones gone before her at 2:25 a.m. on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Though it may have made her slightly uncomfortable because Susie was usually the hostess making all those around her feel welcome, it is certain it was a warm reception filled with laughter and hugs.
Susie was born in Canton, IL on January 1, 1943—a daughter born to Don Ollin Colvin and Bessie Marie (Petty) Colvin and her family lived in a small farm house near London Mills, IL. A family of eight, Susie was the only daughter among five brothers. She loved animals, and was involved in 4H. Susie got her nickname in elementary school where there were two “Carolyns” and the teacher called her “Susie”—and it stuck.
Susie met Paul Douglass in third grade in Avon, IL. Classmates for several years, they started dating in high school. Susie was the prom queen her senior year, a member of the cheerleading squad, and enjoyed playing drums in the marching band at Avon High School where she graduated in 1960. She was an excellent student and had many friends.
Susie married her high school sweetheart on March 2, 1963 where they rented a small white house in Avon, IL and lived there until March of 1966 when they moved to Galesburg, IL. She had begun working at Tompkins State Bank as a teller, putting her number-crunching skills to good use. During those early years of marriage, their daughters, Julia and Kathryn, were born.
In Galesburg, Susie enjoyed being a housewife and mother where you could find her hosting holidays, birthday dinners and family get-togethers almost every week of the year. Surrounded in the area by in-laws, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins, she could be found making room for groups of up to 16 in their small, two-bedroom bungalow on Johnston Street, where the best fried chicken ever made may have been served, or one of many other rib-sticking culinary delights, and birthday cakes too numerous to mention. Susie was a Girl Scout leader and went on a couple of camping trips, and helped with her daughters’ school events. At dusk during those hot early-1970s summertime evenings, you could hear her call for her girls to come in from playing all the way down to Greenleaf and Beecher Streets.
During those formative years, Susie could also be found organizing the food for family camping trips, hosting afternoon Bridge parties, driving her girls to piano, flute and saxophone lessons, and learning more about her love of cooking. In 1973, Susie and Paul welcomed their son, Mathew—now a family of five. A tribute to her strength and tenacity, Susie, who, at eight months pregnant, was still going on family camping trips and sleeping in a tent. Her laughter with family and friends sitting around the campfire was contagious and delightful. Having two daughters in marching band, Susie would be at every parade and football show cheering for the home team in Susie fashion. After Mathew was born, she returned to her vocation as a banker working at The Bank of Galesburg.
In the summertime of 1980, Susie and Paul moved their family to Littleton, Colorado, and enrolled their two daughters at Heritage High School, and their son at Damon Runyon Elementary. She was instrumental in getting her family comfortable in their new surroundings by planning trips to the mountains, to the pool, and getting to know the area. She also found a job in Customer Service at The United Bank of Littleton, which she enjoyed very much.
As her family grew up, she expanded her love of cooking with the newly broadcast Food Network, and brought home kitchen gadgets that awed and inspired. Also, her love of Hazelnut coffee was born. Susie was known to joyfully sing frequently throughout the day, and there were many original compositions about coffee, the family dog, and her kids—and she would endure the playful ribbing of her kids’ mimicking her coffee songs. There were many nights of hosting her adult children and their friends for game nights and apres ski meals that delighted the taste buds and kept them coming back for more. Over the years, there were many road trips back to Illinois to see family, and lots of out-of-town company could be found at their home on Jamison Ave with that familiar hospitality only Susie could provide.
When the family moved to Colorado, Paul had a new job that took him to far away places, and Susie’s love of travel expanded which took her over borders with her faithful companion. Though never a fan of airplane travel, she would travel with Paul to Mexico, Canada, and most of the countries in Europe. A farm girl amazed by the opulence of Baroque architecture, Susie would frequently talk of the aesthetic beauty of her favorite spot: the Palace of Versailles in France. Many of their travels included others—a nephew and his wife, her kids, a cousin, good friends—she and Paul loved to include others on their many adventures.
Travel to Susie didn’t just mean overnight trips—Susie was well-known for her lunches in mountain towns. After her children had grown and moved out of the house, Susie discovered exploring Colorado on daytime trips to be a fun adventure. She and her friends would pile in the car and could be seen in Craig, Breckenridge, Leadville, and many other mountain towns on a weekday laughing and enjoying a midday meal. Always bubbly, she was a breath of fresh air to all around her, a comfort, and always so good to others.
Susie’s strength and care for others was apparent and inspirational throughout her life. When she was sensing it was no longer feasible to live at home, it was her idea to move to assisted living. As her husband and kids moved her into her memory care, she said, “I have never lived alone. I’m looking forward to it.” Always looking on the bright side, always strong enough to bear what is in front of her, she has been a shining example of love and light.
Carolyn Sue Douglass is survived by her beloved husband Paul of 58 years and her strength is passed down to her three kids and their spouses: Julia and Rich (Allee), Kathryn and Jay (Scherff), and Mathew (Douglass) and Angelica (Rivera); and her three granddaughters: Kathryn Ruth, Taylor and Sara. Susie is survived by her brothers Steve and Keith “Pete”, and many nieces and nephews.
We all will deeply miss her unceasing sense of humor, her wit, her amazing home-cooked meals and warm hospitality, her never-ending smile, and her wonderful companionship.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carolyn "Susie" Douglass, please visit our floral store.