DECATUR -- In the early morning hours of December 26, 2017, Suzanne (Gebhart) Reeder died at the age of 83 in Decatur, Illinois.

Suzanne was born July 19, 1934 in Decatur, Illinois to parents Helen (Nemyer) and Gordon Gebhart. She attended St. Patrick Grade School and was in the 1952 graduating class of St. Teresa High School. Susie loved every aspect of school including new school supplies, homework and singing in the choir.

Suzanne married John Collins in 1954, and they had six children.

Susie worked for A.E. Staley Mfg. Co. before having her babies that came quickly and frequently. She worked for years at Gebhart Auto Supply – a family business founded by her grandfather.

Susie went back to school at Richland Community College, and while raising her kids and working full-time, she graduated with a 4.0 from Sangamon State University (now part of U of I) with a degree in communication.

Besides being a wife and mother, the role of adult re-entry counselor at Richland Community College was Suzanne’s favorite job. She helped many juggle classes, family and jobs to earn a degree. She also managed the admitting department on the third shift at St. Mary’s hospital.

In 1982, Suzanne married her true love, Paul Reeder, MD and the two lived blissfully in Ft. Myers, Florida until Paul passed away in 2012.

Those with the good fortune to have Susie’s acquaintance know her ability to make everyone feel included. She could make anyone break into laughter, and she would do so at every opportunity; at the grocery store, while walking her doggies or waiting at appointments, Suzanne did not know a stranger. She was the life of the party at any gathering, putting people at ease with her robust sense of humor!

Susie earned her black belt in Shopping specializing in shoes. Nary a shopping opportunity would she pass. She loved shopping for others and was very generous with her family and friends as well as with her donations to numerous organizations.

Among the list of favorite things are: family, guitar mass and dogs, the morning paper, photography, the opera, mail-order catalogs and witty conversation. She enjoyed her coffee and iced tea with 3 packets each of both Sweet n Low and Equal. Susie loved milkshakes, Paul’s chili, cream horns, fried chicken, a double cheeseburger with double onion from Steak n Shake and Krekel’s, cherry cokes, frozen snickers and Panera cheese soup. Susie loved the United States of America and felt fortunate to visit such swell destinations such as San Francisco, Chicago to the opera and to the national parks – especially the Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.

Suzanne cherished her family and enjoyed wonderful relationships with all generations and branches of her family tree.

Suzanne is preceded in death by her beloved husband: Paul S. Reeder, MD, her firstborn: Andrew J. Collins, her dear parents: Helen and Gordon Gebhart, stepfather: Stuart H. Gebhart, brother: Gary Gebhart, sister: Carol Treece and many treasured pets.

Left to honor Suzanne are her children; Amy (Jim) Hobbie, Chris Collins, Dan (Carol) Collins, Laura Collins and Suzanne (Todd) Plott, 13 grandchildren; Courtney, Meghan and Katherine, Max and Sam, Andrea, Sarah and Wesley, Greg, Jess, Brian and Danielle, and Oliver, and 5 great grandchildren with another due next month.

Susie will be remembered as a beautiful, bright, shining light by many communities and an extensive family of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors.

Visitation will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 6, 2018 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 407 E. Eldorado St. with a funeral mass following at 11 a.m. Suzanne will be laid to eternal rest at Mt. Gilead Cemetery, 4975 S. Franklin Street Rd. in Decatur, Illinois. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association at ALZ.org in the name of Suzanne Gebhart Reeder.

Dawson & Wikoff North Chapel is assisting the family with the arrangements. Messages of condolence can be sent to the family at www.dawson-wikoff.com.

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