Sue Barringer Lentz Casebeer, age 85, died following a brief illness Aug. 17, 2018, in Carbondale.
Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Church of Saint Francis Xavier, 303 S. Poplar Street, Carbondale. Interment will be at a later date in Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin, where several generations of family are buried.
Sue, the eldest of six children, was born to Arthur George Lentz and Alta Harriet Miller on Feb. 28, 1933, in Eldora, Iowa. She married the late Dr. Arthur Larkin (Casey) Casebeer in Madison, Wisconsin, on Aug. 15, 1953. Casey preceded her in death Feb. 12, 2008.
Sue was educated at Madison West High School, and then the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sue was an artist, did advertisement layouts and “drew” clothing sketches for the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal.
The Casebeers’ travels took them to far-flung places such as China, Nepal, the West Bank, Thailand and throughout Europe. They lived in India and Japan, went to about 55 countries and visited all 50 U.S. states. Sue embraced her passion for travel and learning about new cultures and ways of life. Perhaps most memorable to Sue was when the family lived in New Delhi in 1969, as Casey taught under the first of three Fulbright Grants. She would regale family and friends with tales about monkeys pick-pocketing money from her three boys, the smells and sights of the market and the many lifelong friendships made along the way.
In 1969, Sue, Casey and their sons arrived on Orchard Drive in Carbondale. They later built their “forever” home in Heritage Hills, which became a treasure trove of family heirlooms, exotic artwork, books, antiques and more, magically woven together in synchronized harmony by Sue’s practiced eye.
A gracious hostess, Sue adored her friends and community and welcomed acquaintances – new and old alike – into her home to share in holidays and events. She was particularly fond of hosting exchange students and professors during traditional American holidays and making them feel right at home.
Sue was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Carbondale, since 1970. She was on the vestry for many years and sang in church choirs for a total of 75 years. Sue also served as president of Episcopal Church Women-Diocese of Springfield, was on the National Church Board to the United Thank Offering and belonged to Daughters of the King. Sue was also a member and past Regent of the Daniel H. Brush Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Sue saw beauty everywhere. She built and designed her home from the ground up, could instantly identify nearly any bird she came across, and carefully tended her garden and pond. Her interests were many, and her talent was vast: whether it be art, music, needlework, design, gardening, the environment, travel and reading, Sue dabbled -- and excelled -- in many mediums. She showed a particular talent for designing stained glass windows that depict biblical symbols and scenes, which can be seen today at both St. Andrew’s Church and New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Carbondale.
In 1970, Sue’s love of nature and art combined led her to the Evergreen Club of Carbondale. For years, she hosted the club’s annual holiday party in December, treating members to beautifully decorated tables set with her finest tableware. In 1976, Sue was elected president, and she served again in 2009 and 2010, respectively. She also was the director of District VII Garden Clubs.
Sue’s concern about the environment was deep. In 1971, she was instrumental in leading the first Jackson County recycling program at the old Brewery in Murphysboro, precursor to Clean and Green and today’s recycling center. A decade later, Sue was on a committee that designed, raised funds for and ultimately oversaw the construction of the Carbondale Public Library’s Japanese Garden, as well as other parks in Carbondale. She was also involved with every subsequent effort to improve the gardens.
One of Sue’s greatest pleasures always remained in flower shows. She became an accredited judge and eventually earned the coveted “Master” designation. Sue also was a member of the Greater St. Louis Council of Nationally Accredited Flower Show Judges. She did not just judge shows; she also competed as often as possible at all levels, and was frequently included in the St. Louis Art Museum’s annual invitation-only “Art in Bloom.” In fact, photographs of her still-life and arrangements were featured many times in the “Art in Bloom” calendar. Locally, Sue led club and district flower show efforts and was a mentor to attendees of the monthly design workshops, where she taught novices the art of non-traditional design. In recent years, she was the District Flower Show Chair.
Sue’s love of design was clear in her personal appearance, as well. Never fussy, she remained consistently and immaculately put-together; for decades, she styled her long hair into neat bun and wore her favorite style of jewelry: gemstones.
Besides art and beauty, Sue cherished her family and many friends. She was a very sophisticated person who saw the world through a large lens, yet also retained her Midwestern spirit and called things as she saw them. Sue did not hold back when she noticed injustices in the world, but she was always fair and yearned to keep learning through every stage of her life.
Sue was described by her sons as “a loving mother, passionate artist, activist and an easy person to talk to. She had strong opinions and fought for them with passion. She fought for the rights of others, especially those in need. She inspired us to appreciate art and beauty, to work a garden and to have great conversations about just anything. She always taught us to be civic and environmentally-minded, aware of others and to help when possible and to raise our voices against the ills and the injustices of our world. She accepted our failures and celebrated our triumphs.”
Sue is survived by her three sons and their wives: David (Cindy), Daniel (Susan) and Jonathan (Doris); six grandchildren: Elizabeth (Marc), Michael (Brandy), Alexander, Mariah, Jason and Larry; seven great-grandchildren; and her siblings: Judith Howard, Debra Brown, Mark Lentz and Derek Lentz.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Women’s Center in Carbondale are welcome and appreciated.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Interment will be at a later date in Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin, where several generations of family are buried.