Sue Beaumont, age 75, died at home on November 19, 2020, surrounded by her family, after a brave and miraculous battle with pancreatic cancer. Sue was born on the west side of Warren Avenue in Park Ridge and both grew up and raised her own children in the house across the street. It is everything she did in between that makes her the mom, grandma, friend, and neighbor that everyone will miss.
Sue was born to Shirley and Irv Witt and grew up with her beloved brother, Bob. Sue attended Washington Elementary School, Lincoln Junior High, and Maine East High School. She and Bob loved spending time at their grandparents’ farm in Antioch and spending time with their Aunt Esther and Uncle Harry and Aunt Lynn and Uncle Ron. She was a social butterfly, an avid girl scout, and a lifelong parishioner of St. Paul of the Cross church. Sue was married (Rich Beaumont) in 1967 and had five children: Kristin (1970); Doug and Jeff (1973); Katie (1976); and Karin (1978). Kristin was born in Germany, where Rich was stationed in the army at the time. When they returned to Park Ridge, they moved to a house on Clifton where Doug and Jeff were born just six days after she first learned she was having twins. The Beaumont family grew to include Katie, Karin, and Sue’s favorite dog, Britta, who all moved back to Warren avenue when Sue’s mother and husband, Dixie Dykeman, relocated to Florida. Sue was also Mom to her Belgian AFS son, Michiel Van Kelecom (Kirsten) who lived here in 1996-1997.
It was in Sue’s nature to be a mom. She took jobs that allowed her to be home from school when the kids got home, no matter how old they got. Most people knew her as the Maine South “bookstore lady,” where she had a strict but compassionate mothering touch for students that needed it. Sue always thought it was as important to be around for teenagers as it was for toddlers. She insisted on eating together as a family, even when that meant dinner was at eight o’clock and even when she was tired of deciding what was for dinner. Sue knew how to do everything, from cooking to gardening to sewing to fixing everything around the house. She chauffeured each kid from event to event in her large green van. The same van that would bring the family of seven to and from Spring Hill, Florida on epic Spring Break and Christmas Break road trips. She was a soccer Mom before the term existed, and never missed a soccer, baseball, softball, or basketball game. She also enjoyed cheering on her runners from track meets, to Turkey Trots, to marathons, to one son’s Iron Man. She had her set five spots that she could bike to on the Chicago Marathon course and the Edison Park Turkey Trot will not be the same without seeing Sue at mile 2.8. She loved watching her kids’ competitions, even when they were the coaches, and continued to watch the games of her grandchildren. The stands, tracks, and fields will be so much quieter without her cheers.
As a grandma, Sue tapped into an eternal well of energy for her grandchildren: Kaily, Collin, and Justin (Kristin and Jay); Luke and Sydney (Doug and Sarah); Danielle, Annie, Teagan and Aniya (Jeff and Charyn); Sean and Nora (Katie and Garrett); and Molly and Braden (Karin and Samantha). She is also the beloved Grandma Sue of Tyler and Emerlyn (children of Charyn’s sister, Chris Deck); Angie Rodriguez (daughter of sister-in-law, Carol Beaumont); and Lucas and Mila (children of Michiel and Kirsten Van Kelecom). Her grandchildren are grateful for sleepovers, movie nights, star-gazing, park-in-the-dark, Chex-mix making and baking lessons, and big Grandma Sue hugs. She spent hours reading books and playing games on the cushiony bright red carpet of her family room floor and was never too old to crawl after a grandchild. Grandma Sue was also big on adventures. In addition to apple picking, pumpkin patches, ski trips, and family vacations, her hallmark Grandma moment was to take each grandchild on a one-on-one trip when they turned 10 years old. She travelled to the Grand Canyon, Space Camp, the Bahamas, Alaska, the Mall of America, Great Wolf Lodge, and Harry Potter World – twice.
Sue also had a close and special relationship with her family all over the country that spanned generations: her niece Cori (Fred) and their children Joshua and Jacob and her nephew, Ryan, in Florida; her Texas cousins Stan and Eileen Stancukas and their children Lisa, Sarah, Caroline, and Steven and their children Grace, Emily, Lauren, Sean, and Ellie; and her California cousins Dawn (Eric) and Paul (Marilyn) and their children Alexis, Austin, and Lauren.
Sue’s door was also always open to her friends and neighbors. Sue remained close with her friends from childhood, the twin club, her bridge group, and her Maine South co-workers. Some of Sue’s closest friends were the friends she made while raising her children. She was a consummate volunteer but perhaps her all-time favorite group was the Washington School Playmakers, a parent organization that raised money for the elementary school by putting on original plays filled with eye-roll puns and songs set to famous tunes. She also dedicated countless volunteer hours to the Park Ridge 20th Century Club Juniors, the AFS exchange program, Action Ridge, the Park Ridge Center of Concern, and Maine East reunion committees. She served as a Park Ridge Alderman and a polling place volunteer. She was overjoyed to visit Africa where she was able to see a library that she helped build in Kibosho, Tanzania, through the volunteer efforts of Park Ridge Cares. She was also the friend that always had a meal ready for an elderly neighbor; time to babysit, dogsit, or a temporary home for anyone; a chauffeur service to the airport; or a seat at the dinner table for anyone in need. She enjoyed making holiday cookies for her family, friends, and neighbors and nothing compared to her Thanksgiving zucchini bread and Christmas cookie plates.
Sue had an adventurous spirit that took her skydiving, parasailing, racecar driving, plane piloting, 18-wheeler operating, hot air balloon flying, and glider plane flying. She enjoyed travelling including recent trips to England, Belgium, France, Africa, and Israel. She also realized a lifelong dream when she took her oldest daughter to see her birthplace in Germany. In recent years, Sue raised monarch butterflies from her garden milkweed and gave so many people the opportunity to watch the caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies and spread their wings. The butterfly is a free spirit just like Sue Beaumont.
In July of 2017, Sue was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. She asked the first oncologist she consulted whether she would live to see her garden come up in September. He said he thought he could get her to one more ripe garden tomato. She received a second opinion from a doctor that refused to put an end date on her life, told her that she was a lot younger and healthier than he thought she would be by reading her chart, and always fought as hard as she did. For that, the Beaumont family is forever grateful to Dr. William Leslie, her nurses, and the entire team at Rush. They would also like to thank all of her friends for the rides to chemotherapy, the meals, the visits, and the unending love and army of support during her battle. In July of 2019, Sue reached a major milestone: no evidence of disease. They call it “dancing with NED.” The whole family was able to get together for a survivor party that summer. At the time, she said she did not feel like a survivor. But everyone that witnessed her fight knows that Sue more than survived cancer; she lived life to the fullest every single day, and that is certainly something to be celebrated.
Despite everything Sue packed into her 75 years, the Beaumont family remained Sue’s pride and joy and her surviving children and grandchildren will be lost without her. She is preceded in death by her mother, Shirl and her father, Irv; her mother-in-law, Helen, and father-in-law, Tom; and her Uncle Ron.
Memorial donations in Sue’s name may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Foundation; the CdLS Foundation; or the Park Ridge Center of Concern. Due to Covid, a private family funeral will be held on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Paul of the Cross Church (livestream services will be available). A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date and we look forward to celebrating a life well-lived. Until then, remembrances and condolences can be sent to the Beaumont Family at 505 Warren, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068.