Suzanne Robbins Oelklaus

Suzanne R Oelklaus, 78, passed away peacefully on April 26, 2024, at Delmar Gardens Skilled Nursing Facility in Lenexa, KS. Suzanne recently moved to Overland Park to be near her son, Todd, and daughter-in-law, Scotti, who treasured being with Suzanne daily and comforting her during her final days.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Claremore First Methodist Church on Wednesday May 8th at 2:00 PM.

Suzanne was born May 15,1946 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, daughter of William L. and Helen (Savage) Robbins. Suzanne’s youth was filled with international travel and adventure, leading to her lifelong love of learning, reading, teaching, and sharing knowledge with others.

She began school in Seminole, OK where her father was an engineer with Exxon Petroleum. When the family was transferred to Venezuela, South America, Suzanne attended middle school there. Suzanne was a good student and an exceptional athlete, especially golf. Suzanne and Helen teamed up to win several mother/daughter golf tournaments in Venezuela.

Suzanne returned to the states to attend boarding school in Northampton, Mass, while her family stayed in Venezuela. After deciding to pursue a degree in Elementary Education, Suzanne entered Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri and then went on to graduate from University of Missouri, Columbia where she was an active member in Delta Gama sorority and enjoyed following Tigers football games.

During school breaks, Suzanne and her sister, Nancy traveled with their mother, Helen to England, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. After college, Suzanne also traveled to Tripoli, Libya to visit her father who was working there with Exxon.

While at Mizzou, Suzanne met and married Harlan Oelklaus. After graduation, the couple moved to Indianapolis where Suzanne taught fourth grade primary school for two years. Harlan worked in human resources for a large industrial company that soon transferred the young couple to Geneva, Illinois. Finally, they were able to settle down and start a family of their own.

Raising two rambunctious boys kept Suzanne busy while Harlan traveled for work. Suzanne also enjoyed being active in the Young Mother’s Club of Geneva.

After the family was transferred to Claremore, Oklahoma for Harlan’s career, Suzanne set out to create a preschool as a mission outreach for the First Presbyterian Church. Suzanne, Linda Polson and Gwen Eschliman, along with Elizabeth and Rev. Wallace Farris, founded The Mustard Seed Learning Center where Suzanne taught preschool and later became an administrator. The school grew quickly and is still thriving in Claremore today.

As her own children grew and became active in school and sports, Suzanne enjoyed cheering for the Claremore Zebras and watching her boys play basketball and football. When the boys were young, Suzanne also enjoyed sharing her love of travel with them on trips to Germany and Switzerland with their grandparents.

In her spare time, Suzanne was a long-time member of First United Methodist Church and was active in the Mary Magdalene Circle for Women. At home, she was a voracious reader of historical biographies and non-fiction books and also collected southwestern art of her Oklahoma homeland. To relax, Suzanne enjoyed doing counting cross stitch and gifted many of these intricate handmade treasures to beloved friends as well as the Presbyterian and Methodist Church.

Suzanne and Harlan divorced in 1994 and Suzanne built her own custom home in Claremore where she enjoyed entertaining many friends including the famous “Bourbon Gang” including friends Terri Baker, Judy and Howard Hermann, Fran and Charlene. The gang played cards on many Saturday nights and enjoyed bourbon-soaked cocktail hotdogs along with other delicious appetizers and libations. Suzanne was blessed to have so many close friends and neighbors! She enjoyed road trips with her girlfriends to The Amana Colonies and shopping excursions to Branson. Suzanne also treasured time with her mother, Helen, and escorting her on a memorable tour of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Suzanne treasured the frequent visits from Todd and Scotti, and also enjoyed visiting them at their home in Kansas City for fun filled weekends and holidays.

In 2019 Suzanne moved to Courtyards of Claremore Assisted Living, where she quickly enjoyed making many new friends and reconnecting with old friends who helped her stay engaged in her love of reading and teaching others. Suzanne enjoyed sharing her weekly summary of “current events” with the residents and giving the weekly Devotional for all who cared to listen. Suzanne called Courtyards her “sorority” because she had so much fun with the many crafts, activities and local outings to museums and parks. The staff became good friends and a beloved part of Suzanne’s family.

Suzanne was blessed with an intelligent and curious mind, a loving heart and a generous spirit. She was a light to all she encountered. We are comforted to know that she is now resting in the light of her Lord.

Rest in Peace, Suzanne. “Love you all the heart!”

Suzanne is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Scotti Oelklaus of Overland Park, Ks and is also survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Brad Schrader of Chatham, NJ, along with their four children and five grandchildren.

The family invites friends to honor Suzanne with memorials to Claremore First Methodist Church. Click here to donate, in honor of Suzanne.

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