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Life Story / Obituary
Beloved sister, aunt, wife, teacher, friend; very, very kind and caring, whose friends were as important to her as her family, Susan Modderman Schrepper will be forever cherished and deeply missed by all whose lives she touched.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young Americans were called to help fight for the cause while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods such as coffee, rubber, sugar, and paper. It was during this eventful time that Susan was born to Richard and Martha (McLain) Modderman on October 12, 1942 in Kalamazoo, MI. After two years, her sister, Linda, joined her as the Middle Sister and when Susan was 12, her sister Jan was born and completed the family. Susan attended area schools, graduating from Portage Central High School in 1964 and later graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in education.
Around this time, Susan was set up by a friend on a blind date with Jerry Schrepper, just to attend a boat show and maybe share a meal or a cup of coffee. This turned into a whole day spent together, which turned into 45 years together. Jerry, being a quiet man who liked to keep to himself, must have decided Susan understood and balanced these characteristics and that was it. They were married in 1969.
Susan was planning to teach high school but instead was drawn to seventh grade because in seventh grade, the kids learn about the Eastern Hemisphere and that was such a joy to teach. This later developed into a love of travel to destinations all over the world, but especially to places in the Eastern Hemisphere. Susan’s travels always included a theatre stop along the way to catch a musical or a play. For 34 years, Susan taught English and Social Studies, a few years in 8th grade but for a majority 7th grade, at Portage North Middle School and then Portage West Middle School, from which she retired. Susan truly treasured her time as a teacher, as it was not a job but a calling. Six days a week, Mrs. Schrepper’s students could find her in the classroom preparing for another day, grading papers, offering extra help to those that required it, or making her classroom the warm, friendly learning environment “her kids” always looked forward to visiting. Many a student that wouldn’t think to pick up a book before having Mrs. Schrepper as an English teacher soon discovered a newfound love of reading as she was quick to share her love of books with them by reading aloud to them each day. Susan's classroom was filled with ceramics she had painted, hanging mobiles, posters, and ever changing bulletin boards - all to keep her students' minds engaged and involved. Jan often helped in the classroom at West Middle school on Saturdays when she was a young girl. That meant straightening up the room or desks, changing bulletin boards, and helping mark report cards while Susan graded papers or assisted other students who dropped in. After leaving middle school, there were always former students who came back to visit, share memories, and update their favorite teacher on the latest in their lives. She also shared her love of nature and gardening with the school and students by planting and tending gardens and trees in the school courtyard on Saturdays.
Susan’s love of theater was cultivated throughout her life, beginning at an early age when her parents took her to the theater for the first time. To say Susan enjoyed theatrical productions would be a vast understatement as The Arts were among her dearest loves, whether it was Shakespeare, musicals, comedies, Scottish Festivals, Renaissance Fairs, Ballet, the Harlem Boys Choir, the Kalamazoo Concert Band, and the Stratford Theatre in Ontario. Susan introduced everyone she could to the wonders of theatre and found herself amidst a wide circle of friends who shared her passion for The Arts. The Annual Stratford Festival trip in Stratford, Ontario, Canada was among many theatre trips Susan made every year. After her retirement from teaching, she joyfully supported and volunteered in the local Theatre community.
Another of Susan’s dearest loves was animals and she was a huge supporter of Animal Rights. At a time when she wanted a dog, she initially wanted an Irish Setter but found herself immensely taken with Golden Retrievers, a love which continued on throughout her life. Not having children of the human variety, Jerry and Susan always enjoyed the company of furry children, three Golden Retriever girls, Shandy being the first, and one special Golden Retriever boy, Sailor (not all necessarily at the same time). They were great company and entertainment, a wonder to watch when a new dog was introduced into the family and the older dog would show the young pup “the ropes”. Susan loved attending the Apple Blossom, AKC, and UKC dog shows and she most enjoyed the Agility portion of the shows. Susan loved supporting and volunteering with the Kalamazoo Humane Society, doing everything she could to help her beloved animals even if that meant begging and strong-arming her sister Jan into adopting a poor, sweet cat because “Tigger” desperately needed a home.
Susan absolutely treasured her sisters, nieces, and nephews and loved spending as much time with them as she could. One of the times the whole family looked forward to was a Family Cruise, which they were able to do for many years, five of which included Susan’s parents while their health enabled them to go. Susan’s newfound love of horses was due to the fact that her niece Brianna was involved in horse shows and Susan enjoyed attending as many shows as she could to watch Brianna ride. Susan also enjoyed traveling with her travel buddy, sister Linda to many places in the United States, and in the Eastern Hemisphere.
After retirement, Susan found great joy in gardening on their wooded property, creating colorful creations amidst the trees, and she was an active member of the Kalamazoo Area Retired School Personnel. In December, 2014 Jerry died; Susan quietly learned how to manage life on her own, continuing her support and volunteering in the community as well as making plans to travel as much as she was able. Sadly, Susan’s life was cut short before she could finalize her plans and see them to fruition. She will always be remembered for the way she treasured each and every person and animal that was a part of her life, and the experiences she so thoroughly enjoyed and enthusiastically shared with others. Many considered her a “Best Friend” and “Champion” and she truly cared about and communicated with everyone she met.
Susan Schrepper, age 72, died suddenly April 20, 2015 at her home. She was born October 12, 1942 in Kalamazoo the daughter of Richard and Martha (McLain) Modderman. Susan will always be remembered as a dedicated English teacher at Portage North and Portage West middle schools, for her love and support of Theater and the Arts in Kalamazoo, and for her involvement with the Kalamazoo Humane Society. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her husband Jerry in December, 2014. She is survived by 2 sisters: Linda Eide and Jan Modderman-Hui (Frank Hui), by her nieces and nephews Shann Eide (Guy Fullerton), Eric Eide (Liz Ben-Ishai), Brent (Jamie) Hui, and Brianna Hui, and by two great-nephews, one great-niece, and “Act Four” in production. A memorial open house where friends can spend time with family while sharing food and refreshments will be held on Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 4:00-7:00 PM at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler - Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900). Please visit Susan’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Farmers Alley Theatre, The New Vic Theatre, The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, or the Kalamazoo Humane Society. Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive; 375-2900.