Cover photo for Suzanne Batenhorst's Obituary
Suzanne Batenhorst Profile Photo
1928 Suzanne 2011

Suzanne Batenhorst

February 7, 1928 — August 13, 2011

Mass of the Christian Burial for Suzanne O'Brien Batenhorst is scheduled for Saturday, September 10, 2011, at 9 a.m. at Saint Phillip's Catholic Church in Basin, Wyoming. Inurnment will follow immediately at Mount View Cemetery, Basin. A reception will immediately follow cemetery rites and will be held at the Basin Chamber of Commerce gathering room. A 7 p.m. rosary will precede the funeral services Friday evening at St. Phillip's Catholic Church, Basin. Father Ray Rodriguez will officiate at both services. Suzanne O'Brien Batenhorst, aged 88, died on August 13, 2011 at St. John's Living Center, Jackson, WY, of natural causes following a brief illness. Her son John & his family as well as daughter Mary were able to be there with Suzanne at her time of death. Suzanne was born February 7, 1928, in Aberdeen, South Dakota, as one of two daughters born to Fredrick and Lucille (Grace) O'Brien. She grew up amongst family and relatives, including her special Uncle Johnny Grace, a South Dakota farmer, until the difficult times of the Great Depression beckoned the O'Brien and some of the Grace family to move to Burlington, Wyoming. Following high school graduation from Burlington Suzanne took a position with the Big Horn County Sherriff's Office as a radio operator. Basin was where Suzanne met and fell in love with Arthur "Art" Batenhorst, a local Basin fellow, just returned to Basin from his WWII service as a staff sergeant on a B24 Heavy Bomber with the 15th Army Air Force, 782nd Bomb Squad, 465th Bomb Group; he was newly discharged and returning from duty at Pantanella Air Force Base, Italy. Suzanne and Art were married June 23, 1949 at St. Phillip's Catholic Church in Basin, Wyoming and settled into a home which Art had recently purchased on North 7th Street. The couple designed a home to be built next door on an empty lot at 652 North 7th, where Suzanne focused her attentions on homemaking while her children were young. Finally in the late 60's, by The State of Wyoming Highway Department as a radio operator and office assistant at the Basin Regional Office; she continued that work until the early 1980's when retired. Art & Suzanne decided that her return to work would, in particular, help to supplement their goal of assisting with expenses in order that each their three children might obtain a college education. That sacrifice was handsomely repaid many times over. The "pink house" that was enjoyed by the couple until some 6 years ago when Suzanne came to live at St. John's in Jackson. The summer of 1999 found the home's park-like backyard a beautiful setting for entertaining family and close friends for their 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration. The couple were married 55 years and had three children and four grandchildren. Suzanne was a member of Saint Phillip's Catholic Church and the Basin Altar Society. She was a member of the Marion Tanner American Legion Auxiliary and Chapter AN PEO, Basin. Suzanne trained for and assisted a local adult literacy program helping several to learn to read. One of her great loves was her volunteer work as a Reading Grandmother for Basin Elementary School children. Had her dreams materialized, Suzanne often remarked that she thought she would have made a great elementary teacher. Her interests included homemaking, including a constant and wonderful creation of all things wonderful to decorate her home for each and every holiday. Suzanne loved to read, play golf, and go camping or picnicking in the Big Horn Mountains. Suzanne valued, throughout her lifetime, the love and nurturing of her friends; as a young matron she and her friends had frequent summer coffees in the backyards of their homes. She and Art traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, often visiting friends. In particular, most pleasant trips to distant locales were fashioned around visits to the homes of Arthur's nieces, Connie Hartman (Lewie) Dunning & Bette Hartman (Bob) Jaedicke. They were afforded generous hospitality and many a special outing in the company of these two special "girls". On several occasions, Art's nephew Mark Batenhorst, of Medford, OR, also hosted the couple treating them with the same loving hospitality. Locally, the couple were frequent guests of their niece and nephews. The couple's travels included visits to a wide variety of locales to attend, yearly, Art's 15th Army Air Force reunions. Suzanne explained once that she attended her first of many subsequent reunions that, "I could truly understand why the camaraderie of the airmen and Art's crew was so precious." Suzanne also loved music. She sang in the Burlington High School glee club and played saxophone in the school band. She was a long time participant in Basin's Christmas community choir. For all her years Suzanne could be heard to sing or hum a tune while she worked about the house; for years her kitchen was adorned with a poster which proclaimed: "God likes me when I work but He loves me when I sing!" For the past 6 years physical assistance from Saint John's allowed Suzanne to continue attending performances at The Grand Teton Music Festival; Suzanne and Art, together, had previously enjoyed a variety of Festival performances over the course of many years. Finally and most of all, the major love of Suzanne's life, concerned her immediate family. ssed by Her own words and heart express her feelings best: "My pink house in Basin wasn't just a house; it was a home for my husband and children." As with her whole life, her last years were some of her most wonderful years with family and many new friends for the six years Suzanne made her home at St. John's Living Center, Jackson, WY. A stroke the summer of 2003 left Suzanne unable to safely live on her own after the death of her husband in 2005. She arrived at St. John's in the Fall of 2006 and staff grew to know her many interests and life story. The ever-caring St. John's staff found her to be quite a character for wearing hats to fit every occasion; a particular hat was sometimes worn for weeks afterward until Suzanne deemed it the "right time" to change hats for a new occasion. Her endless smiles, vigorous singing, and joking was a blessing for her last home. Her love of the outdoors was satisfied by a wonderul patio that she spent hours on as well a huge bay window she could look through across the elk refuge to the Tetons. Her last outing was July 30th to a wedding (see photograph) for one of the St John's volunteers who ran the Fun with Grace program on Saturdays. Right to her last hour she could muster a smile when they would ask, "How's my Susie Q." Her robust character kept everyone's lives interesting for family and her St. John's friends. She will be missed. Suzanne is survived by her three children and all four of her grandchildren: daughter Mary Batenhorst of Oaxaca, Mexico; daughter Shannon Lucy Batenhorst - Palladino and son-in-law Joe Palladino of Lander, WY, & grandson Robert Douglas Bryans of Lander & Casper, WY ; and lastly by her son John Arthur Batenhorst and daughter-in-law Patty of Jackson, WY, and grandchildren, Glennis Coursey of San Francisco, CA; and Lawton Coursey and Sean Batenhorst of Jackson, WY. Christine Shanahan, a great niece, of San Bernadino, CA, also survives her as do sister-in-law Madonna (Adam) Hartman; Herman and Sylvia Batenhorst, brother & sister-in-law; and numerous nephews and nieces: Mark & Tom Batenhorst, and Becky Batenhorst (Jack) Lindsey; Connie Hartman (Lewis) Dunning, Bette Hartman (Bob) Jaedicke, and Phillip Hartman and their families; her Shanahan nephews, Tom, Brian, and Mark. Finally, Ann Olsen, cousin from the Grace family, survives Suzanne as well. Suzanne felt privileged to be a familiar great aunt to the children of her nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her many dear & long-time friends from the Basin-Burlington-Greybull community. Even though she adamantly could be heard to exclaim "I am NOT that dog's Grandmother!!" Suzanne loved girl visits when Shannon brought Addy Rose, black English Labrador, and predecessors, to St. John's. She had kept on her bulletin board, to the day of her passing, a photograph of Abby, the beloved dog rescued by John's family from the Jackson dog pound as a mere puppy. Also a frequent and popular St. John's visitor, Abby, aged 18 years old, barely preceded Suzanne's passing. Suzanne loved animals; in photographs from her early married days one can spot her black cocker spaniel, Frankie, as a constant companion. Suzanne was preceded in death by her parents; her Batenhorst inlaws, Lucy and Herman Batenhorst, Sr.; Art, her husband of 55 years in April of 2005; sister and brother-in-law Mary Lou (summer 2010) and Thomas Shanahan; brother & sister-in-law, Henry and Clara Batenhorst; brother-in-law Adam Hartman; and George Hoffman, Art's cousin and long time guest in the Art & Suzanne Batenhorst home. Suzanne's family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be directed to St. John's Living Center, In memory of Suzanne Batenhorst to: St. John's Foundation-Living Center, PO Box 428, Jackson, WY 83002. The donations will go to the St. John's Foundation to be used by graduates of the nursing programs to obtain their state licensing in order to work at St. John's Living Center and Hospital. Correspondence may be sent in care of John Batenhorst, PO Box 8422, Jackson, WY 83002.

to the Central Wyoming Nursing Scholarship Program for both certified nursing (registered nursing, licensed practical nursing) and certified nursing assistant (CNA) programs. Surely Suzanne was greeted by angels at the gates of Heaven, however in her Earthly home at St. John's she was first greeted at the moment of her arrival by at least a dozen white clad CNA/nursing students flying out the doors to assist with her every need. Her family firmly believes that St. John's staff and internees were Suzanne's angels on Earth! PO Box 8422 83002


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