Mary “Suzanne” Gilbert, 81, of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at The Windsor of Lawrence.
Services for Suzanne will be held at the First Baptist Church, 1330 Kasold Drive in Lawrence, Kansas at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 18, 2020. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. at the church. Rev. Dr. Matthew Sturtevant will be officiating. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery.
Suzanne was born February 16, 1938 in Cassville, Missouri the daughter of Ralph and Susie Sandusky. She graduated from Canoga Park High School in California in 1956 and earned an Education Degree from the University of Kansas in 1977.
Suzanne married Verlin Gilbert on June 28, 1957 in Woodland Hills, California. Verlin survives at the home.
They settled in Lawrence and joined the First Baptist Church in 1957. With the help of the church, she was able to fulfill her lifelong passion for early childhood development by establishing the Johnnie Appleseed Preschool in 1980, utilizing Montessori teaching methods. Suzanne was loved by all the children that attended. She also volunteered for the Lawrence Public Schools. In 1995, the Lawrence Education Association presented her with the Friend of Education Award.
Suzanne was preceded in death by her daughter Dana Marie Hammond Knappenberger on February 22, 2004.
She is survived by a daughter, Sharna Miller and husband Dale and a son, Darren Gilbert and wife Gaila, siblings: Ralphetta Gibbons, Roy Short and wife Elvie and Margo Ary, seven grandchildren: Tyler Hammond, Dustin Gilbert, Alex Miller, A.J. Gilbert, Kaylea Knappenberger, Dale Miller, III and Grayson Gilbert, and two great grandchildren: Martin Hammond and Bronson Gilbert.
Suzanne was a member of the Lawrence Civic Choir for over 25 years and a board member of Mother to Mother.
She will be remembered as a beautiful woman who had a kind and nurturing heart, a soft-spoken and calming presence, a natural gift for storytelling, a passion for music and writing, and the deepest love for her husband, children and grandchildren.
Memorials may be given to the First Baptist Church, Lawrence, Kansas.
The family wishes to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Visiting Nurses Hospice and The Windsor of Lawrence, Memory Care.