Susan Joyce Wohlgemuth
Dec. 18, 1952 – Feb. 13, 2021
Sue completed her time on Earth just before midnight on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, in the loving embrace of her husband and daughters, following her triumphant return home from Providence Hospital in Anchorage in January.
She was born in Cincinnati to Walter Carl “Pat” Jr. and Joyce (Jelsma) Wohlgemuth and raised across the river in Louisville (which, typically, she refused to pronounce correctly her entire life) with her three brothers, Pat, Dick and Rob. Being the only girl in the family slowed her down not one iota, and she earned her fair share of scraped knees and elbows.
She was Homecoming Queen and Miss Junior Louisville. She graduated from Westport High in 1970, and, after taking her sweet time about it, from the University of Kentucky in 1977 with a degree in Applied Cultural Anthropology. She was an ardent fan of Kentucky college basketball and, to the dismay of the rest of her family, when it came down to it, she’d root for UK over the University of Louisville (go Big Blue!).
She loved being out in nature and had many epic adventures hiking and white water rafting the back country of the American West, which naturally drew her to Alaska after graduation with her then-husband Jeff Foley. Later, single again, she worked with draft horses in New Hampshire, but the call of Alaska was strong; she settled in Fox, outside Fairbanks, in a cabin on the side of a mountain, with no running water, to raise her two daughters as a single mom – which included potty training in an outhouse, and cutting firewood and hauling water with a baby in a pack. True Alaskan adventures! She ran the Fox General Store, the de facto community center. She was the epitome of the tough Alaskan woman and embodied the Alaskan spirit, always there for her friends, and her friends were always there for her.
In 1989 it just got too ridiculously cold in Fairbanks, so she packed up the kids and the dog (there was usually a dog) in the old Subaru (maybe the yellow one, maybe the green one, maybe the one that had candles on the dashboard because the defrost didn’t work; one of ‘em) and drove to Homer, where she happily spent the rest of her days. She worked as an accountant at the Homer News, and later at Land’s End Resort, until finally she was at the Kachemak Bay Branch (“Kachemak Babe Ranch”) of the Kenai Peninsula College, where she helped countless students find the financial resources to realize their dreams and made even more forever friends.
In 2007, on Bastille Day, Lance Petersen married her and Ken Landfield at Halibut Cove. Upon retiring from the College with a “tacky” retirement party for the ages in 2010 and after a certain Icelandic volcano relented, she and Ken flew off to Paris, where Sue wept at seeing the beauty of the Impressionists at the Louvre. There was also a side trip to Saint-Malo in Brittany and to Jersey in the Channel Islands. That trip was so much fun they did it again in 2014, this time including side trips to the Côte d’Azur, Monaco, Torino, Catalonia, Andorra and the Basque country. She loved every single minute of it.
Sue was one stubborn, hard-headed, funny, smart and beautiful woman, beloved by all who knew her, kind, and generous to a fault. She loved cranes, flowers, and puppies. And Hallowe’en, and April Fool’s Day: her Hallowe’en house was legendary in the neighborhood, and her April Fool’s pranks were infamous. She also loved chocolate.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Walter Carl “Pat” III and is lovingly remembered and cherished by her husband Ken Landfield; her strong and beautiful daughters Emily Wisdom and Hana Rose Wohlgemuth; her brother Dick and his wife Diane; her brother Rob and his wife Joyce; nephew Jason and nieces Casey and Kelsey; and beloved friends too numerous to list. In lieu of flowers, anyone desiring to do so may make a donation to Planned Parenthood or any other organization working for the betterment of the planet. Her remains will be cremated and her ashes scattered at a future date.