Cover photo for Mary Sue Eckroth's Obituary
Mary Sue Eckroth Profile Photo
1936 Mary 2017

Mary Sue Eckroth

July 23, 1936 — October 26, 2017

A Few Words about My Sister, Sue, from Robin Johnson-Drogo Sue grew up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. As a child, her earliest memories are living on a ranch. She was raised in a lush landscape of mountains and open spaces. Animals figured into her childhood, too – especially horses. Actually she befriended all farm animals and she took every opportunity to be with them. Throughout her life she made sure she had critters around her. In recent years, at her home in Kimberly, she doted on two dogs, a cat, a chicken ("Blue"), and most recently, the temporary company of a cow and her calf. Two more creatures to hug and talk to. As a girl and young woman, she rode horseback for hours. She kept up with her homework but jumping on her mare after school and on weekends brought her great joy. Local, small town horse shows also fed her passion for riding. If it was an equine, she loved it. That adoration never dimmed. In the last few months, she was eager to design a barn and bring a new horsey friend into her life. Sue was a great cook and homemaker. She could design and sew anything. Even as a teenager, Sue handmade moccasins covered with tiny beads in a Native American motif. They were a testament to her respect for indigenous people. No matter where she was living - in a small trailer (where she and Richard lived while they built their mountain dream home in the Southern California mountains) - or their current home in Kimberly, her unique and special talents graced each room. When it came to gardening, you could count on a yard around any of her homes to be bright with color and caring. As a young mother, Sue, and her family, lived in New Jersey for awhile. She decided to express another talent by participating in a community theater production as a dancer. Prior to that, as a teen, she danced the Charleston in a variety show fundraiser to raise money for the community's fire department. Dancing was not only a way to exercise – it was another way to feed her love of self-expression. Her favorite genre was jazz dance. She was good at it, too. Sue's life wasn't always easy. There were tough choices made through the years. But the greatest gift in her life was the first day she and Richard spoke. Both were unhappy. Perhaps both were searching for a deep connection that neither one of them had experienced before. I was a witness to the grace that befell both of them. When I first saw Sue and Richard together, the love and happiness they had both been searching for was found. Soulmates' lives aligned to form a bond that was unstoppable. I took some of the first photographs of the two of them together. It was magic. And that magic continued for all the years they've been in love. It's a love that lasts forever, beyond time and space. Now Sue has gone to live in God's house – her safe haven in the hands of the Lord. I will always remember my sister as a survivor, a force to be reckoned with, and a beautiful, fiery one-of-a-kind sibling. Sister, you will be missed. From Sue's daughter, Abbey Wallace: Mom loved the creek at Forest Falls where they built their dream home from scratch. One winter when I was visiting she uttered the dreaded words "let's go for a walk". Anyone who ever took a walk with mom came back convinced she was trying to kill them. But I rarely said no to her so, bundled up in 20 Ibs of goose down, gloves and snow boots, off I went behind her, not convinced I would be corning back in one piece. Now you must know, a walk with mom could mean scaling a mountain and dodging oncoming traffic. I mean, who would dare run her down??? We went down to her beloved creek and actually had a nice, if chilly, treacherous walk alongside it. Mom was always at her happiest if she could get you going down her path, willing or not. As we got closer to the road to her house, she decided a short cut across the creek and then scaling up the side of the rocky hill where the road had zero shoulder.....was a grand idea. Did I mention I rarely said no to mom? Of course, she leaps across the creek like a goat and starts to scramble up the side of the hill. Ok then, if she can do it says I .... well, that was my last clear thought as I leaped over the creek, slid on a rock and landed solidly in that creek, all 20 Ibs of goose down and cold weather gear. Decidedly NOT HAPPY was I. Mom, on the other hand, well, I have never heard a grown woman snort laugh so hard that she almost lost her grip on the side of the hill. Note I said almost because she got home perfectly dry, naturally, and thoroughly entertained. And no, never did I once hear the words "are you okay???" I'm not sure I ever loved my mother more than I did in that moment, pure unfiltered laughter, even at my expense.
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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