Celebration of Life Luncheon
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Lino Lakes American Legion Post #566
7731 Lake Drive, Lino Lakes
Condolences & Tributes
Susann Kay "Sue" Hembre
January 21, 1945 – September 5, 2020
Susann ‘Sue’ Kay Hembre, 75, of Circle Pines, passed away unexpectedly on September 5, 2020 at her cabin that she loved in Bigfork, MN.
Sue was passionate about her family and always wanted to be in on the action. This was especially true when it came to her grandchildren and the many areas of their lives where she was involved. She did her best never to miss a school or sporting activity for her kids and grandkids. At sporting events for her kids, she would often cheer and yell so loud as to make them cringe. She referred to each of them with not always flattering nicknames which she had created for all her family members. She did this without consent, of course, and for her efforts she was also the recipient of a few, including the name “Fishing Grandma” amongst her grandkids. She was more refined with her grandchildren, but with no loss of enthusiasm for them. She was always thrilled to be involved in their lives and they always knew that if they needed something Grandma Sue was just a phone call away.
She stayed in touch with every far-flung shirt tail relative she knew over the years, and with the advent of 23 & Me started reaching out to even more distant relatives. Something we all “enjoyed” was her analysis of the physical and behavioral characteristics of different family members and her attribution of those characteristics to some strand of DNA originating from an earlier family member. She was a family historian and left behind bins of photos, documents and memorabilia that filled most of the square footage of her home, though not in a particularly organized manner. She was a Pitbull of an advocate for a family member in need. Her dedication to family was best illustrated by her role as caretaker of her husband Jim until his dying day many years ago, and caretaker for her mother Florence until her own dying day. We are all grateful to have had her in our lives and we are similarly grateful that she was active and engaged in life until her final moments on earth.
She was always there when her family or friends needed something. You could never tell her you needed an item because she would go out and get a half a dozen options for you to choose from. If there were Olympic gold for shopping, she would have been reigning champ many times over. She preferred to shop with friends or family members, but few had the stamina to keep pace with her in this activity.
Sue loved fishing and hunting at her cabin and was always thrilled to host family and friends, though the occasional brawl resulted. The thrill of having company would sometimes be comingled with a thrill for free labor, but she would always provide meals. She liked to captain her pontoon and to educate her grandchildren on the world of fish and fishing. She once starred in a home video clip we titled “Muskies Are Lower Than Carp” which explained why muskies were the lowest of the low in the world of fish species due to their effect on the lake ecosystem, but probably more importantly due to her disdain for their taste and therefor their lack of value.
Sue loved food, going out to eat, cooking and “helping” in the kitchen at family gatherings. She always had a refrigerator and cabinets full of food, though some of it she kept long enough that it exhibited changes in chemical and biological composition. When going out to eat she was a self-appointed restaurant critic and could, at times, help establishments weed out the less dedicated members of their staff. She was always concerned that everyone had enough to eat and had a fondness for less common items such as liver and onions, chicken gizzards, Braunschweiger, and oyster stew which she would readily share. She saved bacon grease to make her almost nightly batch of popcorn, which could only be topped with real butter. But she was always enthusiastic about trying new things when in new places.
Traveling with Sue was an adventure. Alaska was her favorite destination, but she was usually up for an adventure to most anywhere with friends or family members. When traveling by car, she always knew the best route to get anywhere and was an expert on the rules of the road. She continually analyzed traffic and was quick to point out with a very colorful vocabulary those that did not always follow those rules. She would proudly call out the year and make of any old classic car she would catch a glimpse of while on the road. She also travelled by air occasionally but unlike almost every other aspect of her life, oddly enough there are no overly colorful memories of these experiences. Perhaps it was the altitude.
The events that most excited Sue were celebrating birthdays, Christmas and other holidays and special occasions. She often went over-the-top in her efforts for these occasions. Decorating for Christmas was an annual mission where she filled every available space inside and out with every type of décor and lighting she could find. These sometimes-gaudy displays were to remain in place until spring thaw every year. She completely dismissed the concept of “less is more” when it came holidays and celebrations. She would buy a truckload of presents for her grandkids every year at Christmas, and of course the grandkids were always happy to celebrate with her. Birthdays, graduations, weddings and other events were similarly celebrated.
Floral arrangements were a specialty of hers that she would happily create for any occasion. She was very much into nature. Working with trees, flowers and gardening were a passion for Sue. She knew every aspect of the plant world, and she would happily share her knowledge equally with both willing and unwilling listeners.
Her character was shaped by her own unique personality and her history. Sue was born in Sherburne, MN January 21, 1945, grew up in Circle Pines, and attended Centennial High School, North Hennepin Community College and St. Cloud State University. She was married in 1966 one day after her 21st birthday, and along with her husband James raised her family in Rockford Township, where she lived until recent years following James’ death in 2002. She worked in various jobs, was a labor advocate and union Chief Steward, and spent her final working years at the Flower Farm in Delano where she was able pursue her gardening passion. She was also an avid supporter and volunteer in youth athletic associations for her children. She enjoyed reading, was a member of a local book club, a stitching club, and loved the several dogs she had over the years.
Sue is preceded in death by her husband, Jimmy, and fathers. Survived by mother, Florence Shearer; siblings, Craig Shearer (Liz), Richard ‘Butch’ Shearer (Kathy), Sandy Shearer and Nancy Sorenson (Kelly Arthur); sons, Keith (Jennifer) Hembre, Kenneth (Susan) Hembre and Kevin (Amanda) Hembre; grandchildren, Matthew (Katherine) Lohr, Jaimie (Parker) Smith, Ethan Lohr, Kaitlyn Hembre, Madalyn Hembre, Steven Hembre, Trevor Hembre, Anna Hembre, James Hembre; great grandson Archer Smith; cousins, nieces, nephews and special friends.
In addition to her other passions, she loved western movies featuring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne. She always said when your number is up, it’s up. So Happy Trails to you Sue, until we meet again.
Happy Trails ! ~ Love Sue
Due to Covid, the prayer service will be limited to family and other invitees. A Celebration of Life luncheon will be held at the Lino Lakes American Legion Post 566, 7731 Lake Drive (Co Hwy 23), on Wednesday, September 16 at 12 noon.