Susie Marie (Stoner) Klingler, 94, died on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. She was born, the second of three children, to Marie (Arnold) Stoner and David Stoner on Dec. 26, 1928, in Rensselaer. She was preceded in death by her parents, by her two brothers, Harry and Robert, by her husband, Charles, and by a daughter, Susan.
When she was 6, the family moved to a farm near Pendleton, where she lived until her graduation from high school and her completion of three years at Manchester College. In 1949, she married Charles Klingler, a recent Manchester graduate who was teaching at Mount Morris (Illinois) High School. During their year there together, she worked in an office at Watt Publishing Co., and they were both active in the local Church of the Brethren. For two years they attended Indiana University, Susie to complete her bachelor’s degree and Charles to earn a master’s. Then the children began to come — two in quick succession while Charles taught at Columbus, two more while he taught in Kokomo, and three more after he began teaching at Manchester College. Meanwhile, Susie cheerfully carried out the tasks of raising a large family. It was her persistent dream that all of her children would become praiseworthy adults. She read to them, she canned, she baked bread, she made soap, she helped them with their projects, large and small. She was a constant source of encouragement and support to all her children as they grew.
As the children grew up, Susie devoted increasing energies to activities at church and college, and to works of kindness to neighbors and strangers. She served more than one term as president of College Woman’s Club (later called College Community Club). She invited to dinner, innumerable times, students and visiting faculty from various countries — Germany, England, France, Spain, Nigeria, Japan, China and more. Susie was remembered with affection by these visitors for her gracious hospitality. Her children benefited directly from these contacts through exposure to diverse people, languages and cultures, and indirectly through inspiration to study and travel in foreign lands.
Susie also nurtured other people’s children throughout her adult life, including caring for infants and toddlers during church and fostering for brief periods children whose own families were unable to care for them. These children, too, she came to love, and they her. When her parents and her husband’s widowed mother became unable to care for themselves, Susie became their caregiver, her parents living at Peabody Retirement Community and Charles’ mother staying at Susie’s and Charles’ home.
Another great source of joy in Susie’s life came with the births and lives of her grandchildren, who today range in age from 43 to 9 years old. She became the family matriarch, presiding over large gatherings with bounteous, nourishing meals and activities full of laughter. As a doting grandmother, she and her husband hosted her grandchildren gladly and frequently, creating a warm, welcoming environment with wonderful food, persistent education and fond memories.
Susie was in her 80s when her daughter Susan died from pancreatic cancer at age 60. Shadowed by this grief, Susie and Charles grew increasingly to appreciate each other and their surviving offspring. With the death of her husband of nearly 74 years this past March, Susie’s decline in health accelerated, yet her true nature of kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity emerged ever more fully, as witnessed by her family, her caregivers and her fellow residents at Timbercrest Senior Living Community. Her bright smile and joyful, optimistic nature will be missed by all.
Susie is survived by son David, of North Manchester, son Robert (Jill Rieman), of Cincinnati, daughter Rebecca (Ernie Lee), of Los Angeles, son Tom (Nathalie Dajko), of New Orleans, son John, of North Manchester, and son Mark (Jennifer Dush), of Columbus, Ohio; son-in-law David Hippensteel, of North Manchester; and nine grandchildren.
A celebration of Susie’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28, at the Manchester Church of the Brethren, 1306 Beckley St., North Manchester. Susie’s family will receive friends following the celebration of Susie’s life.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Timbercrest Senior Living Community, or Manchester Church of the Brethren, or Manchester University Charles Klingler Scholarship Fund, or the Community Foundation of Wabash County Susan Klingler Memorial Endowment, c/o McKee Mortuary, 1401 SR 114 W, North Manchester, IN 46962.
The family of Susie Klingler has entrusted McKee Mortuary with care and final arrangements.
Condolences may be emailed to mckeemortuary.com.