- Ken Blake
Blake, Susan was born Nov. 23, 1946, who served our Lord through our church in both the Northern New England and Carolina Conferences, fell asleep in Jesus on Oct. 31, 2022, following a 3-year battle with colon cancer. Her daughter, Heather, prepared the following beautiful and spirited tribute, which I am submitting to you in the hope that you will find it an acceptable announcement to include in the death notices of the Atlantic Union Gleaner and Southern Tidings. Please email or call me at 828-582-0379, if you have any questions (or editorial concerns,) or would like more information.
Sincerely, Kenneth B. Blake, pastor (ret.)
My beautiful, sweet Mama passed peacefully in her sleep Monday evening, Oct. 31. We had a truly wonderful last weekend with her. She was so at peace, smiling often and expressing gratitude even though her fragile body was tired and she was too weak to speak.
Susan Beth Blake (nee Gottschalk,) was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio, the blonde blue-eyed middle child sandwiched between two boys. Sue was a sweet, energetic, and curious little girl, getting into occasional mischief, such as swinging on her grandmother Josephine’s chandeliers!
She was a smart cookie with many talents, studying Philosophy at Oberlin College on a scholarship. She was an accomplished pianist, with a songbird soprano voice to go with it, akin to her favorite folk artists, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. She spent a memorable semester abroad in Germany and Italy, studying the German language.
After college, she moved to Berkeley and met a handsome/aspiring artist/Candlestick Park souvenir salesman/Berkeley student named Ken (aka Dad). She was on her way to the bakery, and he was headed to the barber shop. Her smile caught Dad’s attention! A whirlwind hippie romance ensued, including hitchhiking and camping their way through Big Sur, hopping freight trains, and living in a Studebaker school bus.
Curious about the future, they attended prophecy lectures, leading to Christ and their 1973 baptism in Salem, Oregon, and enrollment at Pacific Union College the same year; followed by two years of literature ministry in San Diego, then (with Sue as an educator) as a pastoral team in Northern New England (1976-1989,) and North Carolina (1989-2013.) [Editorial elaboration]
Eventually my two brothers were born. Mom obtained her teaching degree, dad became a pastor, and together they devoted their lives to the ministry and education. They lived in a few different states: California, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire. 14 years later – SURPRISE! - I was born! And then came my sister. Mom named me “Heather Joy” because she was so happy to finally have a girl. In 1989 they settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and Mom transformed our red brick house into a home.
My mama was a true renaissance woman, proficient in nearly everything. Her hobbies and passions included gardening, canning our food, healthy living, making everything from scratch (bread, granola, jam – you name it, she made it!), home schooling ALL FOUR of her children, guitar strumming, piano playing, bird watching, writing in the most gorgeous penmanship, hiking, backpacking, camping, ice skating, skiing, mountain biking (she started this hobby at age FIFTY), teaching, volunteer work in the community, youth and church ministry, and the list is endless. She was a woman of faith and loved God with her whole heart. She was an incredible mother, completely and selflessly devoted to her children. She even rescued one of her young students from a horrific family situation and became a foster mother for a time.
I've never known anyone more compassionate, positive, resilient, creative, or hard working than her!! She fought so hard to heal herself after the cancer diagnosis, and managed to live another 2 good years beyond what the doctors had given her. During that short time, she attended my wedding and welcomed the birth of my son and my sister's two daughters– tremendous highlights for her! She spent the last few months of her life here in Santa Cruz with me, and finally in San Diego with my sister. We are really blessed to have had that time. She was spoiled and loved and pampered immensely. Dad tended to her faithfully and tenderly. During her final days, she expressed readiness to go to sleep, confident that the next time she opened her eyes, she would have a new body and be reunited with her family in heaven.
Miss Sue was a priceless treasure - truly an angel on earth! I am SO LUCKY to be her daughter, and will always do my best to carry her beautiful spirit on ❤️
Services for Susan were held on Nov. 13 at the Statesville, NC SDA Church, with Pastor Mark Heisey officiating. Interment was at the church's Pine Grove cemetery.
Sue is survived by her husband of 53 years, Ken, of Purlear, NC; brothers Gary Gottschalk of Bedford, OH and Jim Gottschalk of Chicago, IL; sons Chris of Lakewood, FL, and Andy of Gulfport, MS; daughters, Heather (Rob Born,) of Santa Cruz, CA, and Melissa (Paul Kosinski) of San Diego, CA; foster daughter Ann Marie Jones-Jensen of Hendersonville, NC; granddaughters Madeline Blake of St. Joseph, MI, and Zofie Lou and Mila Sue Kosinski of San Diego; grandson Beau Louis Born of Santa Cruz, CA and step-granddaughters Elery and Ivy Born of Santa Cruz, CA. Sue will also be deeply missed by a number of nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.