Suzanne Donna Ruth Willette Ahlbrecht, age 67, of Litchfield, passed away peacefully at her home Wednesday, March 27, 2019, surrounded by family and pets.
She was born Jan. 23, 1952, in Montevideo, and spent her childhood years in St Paul. When she was 13, she moved with her parents, Wally and Dolores (Kuehl) Willette, to Dassel, and was later confirmed at Gethsemane Lutheran Church.
Sue was the salutatorian of the class of 1970 at Dassel High School.
She was united in marriage to Allen Arvid Ahlbrecht June 19, 1970, at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel. The couple moved to the Ahlbrecht family farm, northwest of Hector. Besides raising three children and numerous pets, they enjoyed building a home together: finding and refinishing antiques, decorating, landscaping, cooking, and having family gatherings to show off their beautiful home.
Around 1983, Sue and Al became foster parents. They fostered over 30 children during the next 10 years, and also took care of dogs for the Humane Society.
Sue decided, at the age of 35, to go back to school, where she obtained her associate degree from Willmar Community College, and then her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Cloud State University. She graduated summa cum laude and won several awards, including a writers’ award from the American Association of University Women.
Sue was a trailblazer in her field in many ways. She went back to school after starting a family, when not many women were doing so. She taught women’s studies classes during grad school, and she helped run the Family Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, working with a population that many practitioners do not want to work with.
Sue earned her psychology license and helped start Greater Minnesota Family Services, which now has hundreds of employees all over the state.
Eventually, she bought a building in Bird Island and went into private practice, continuing to see clients even in her home office in Litchfield up until the days before she got sick.
Suzanne has certainly touched numerous lives, and will be dearly missed by many.
She was preceded in death by her husband and best friend, Allen Ahlbrecht; brother, Paul Willette; and grandparents, Walter and Laura Kuehl, and Arthur and Leona Willette.
Suzanne is survived by her parents, Wally and Dolores Willette; daughters Laurel Ahlbrecht, and Rebecca Dillingham and her husband, Shawn; son, Allen Ahlbrecht; granddaughters Aleisha Ahlbrecht, and Samantha Mortenson; grandson, Dan Ahlbrecht; and countless other family members and friends.
A memorial service took place Thursday, April 4 at 2 p.m. at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel with the Rev. Laurie O’Shea officiating.
There was a time to gather with the family Wednesday evening, April 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel; continuing Thursday at the church, one hour prior to the service.
The Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel handled the arrangements.