Susan Goodall Witcher was born into this life 12 January 1947 in Waco, Texas, and was immediately adopted by Dr. Seth Lamar Witcher, Sr. and his wife, Willie Sue Goodall Witcher of nearby Clifton, Texas. Susan relished in the idea that she was “a chosen child”, noting that her dad, Dr. Witcher, upon seeing their new daughter, told Susan’s new mother that Susan “was the most beautiful baby you ever saw.” The color photos from the early years clearly reveal her dad’s joy while in her presence. In addition to her parents, Susan was blessed to have her own live-in grandmother, Mrs. Willie McNeill Goodall, Sue’s mother and widow of Dr. Claude L. Goodall of Waco.
Susan grew up in Clifton, was educated in the Clifton school system and graduated in 1965. These formative years were blessed by wise teachers who molded their students and encouraged their best efforts, notably Nora Harris; Jennie Gilliam; and Mae Elinor Schow. And Susan’s interest and involvement in music and drama were guided by Lottie Bettis in One Act Play and Nell Jenson in music.
Susan sat under the piano tutelage of Mrs. R. O. Bass, developing into an accomplished keyboard musician whose zest for life only added to the impact of her playing. Her skills were concurrently developed by Dr. Robert Markham, organist in the School of Music at Baylor University. She continued throughout her life to play wherever the opportunity arose. Her love of music spanned not only current genres but also the classics of composers like Handel, Bach, Hayden, Beethoven and Mozart.
Susan developed a keen appreciation for her community and loved it dearly. She accumulated close friends with an ease and grace to be envied, and found in the world of her youth a society of grace and culture, taught foremost by her parents and grandmother. But she was also nurtured by her parents’ peers who looked to and valued the higher things in life, and Susan never left that influence. And she never left her friends though she lived far from Clifton. She stayed connected long before the “computer age” made such activities easy. Facebook merely made it impossible to escape from her contacts. The Clifton High School reunion activities were especially pleasing to her because she got to visit with friends from long ago, whose friendships never seemed to be affected by time or distance.
She graduated Clifton High School in 1965, matriculating at Baylor University that fall as a member of the Class of 1969. Susan loved to cite “Ever faithful to the Line; we’re the Class of ‘69”, but she graduated early with a BA in education in order to marry her high school sweetheart, Ronny Gene Thomas on August 26, 1967.They continued to live in Waco while she taught school and Ronny completed his Master’s degree in geology in 1971. Between those graduation events came Ronny’s basic training in Fort Gordon, Georgia and the birth of their first son, David Seth Thomas in 1970. Their second son, Robert Gene Thomas arrived in 1979.
Ronny’s work in geology and the oil industry took them to Houston and to Midland, finally settling permanently in Corpus Christi in 1974. Susan taught at the elementary school level until her retirement in 2006, while Ronny worked in the petroleum industry, finishing his career in 2011 at Texas A & M Kingsville, teaching and managing the Scanning Electron Microscope. In every city, Susan made each house a home for her beloved family, and nurtured friendships which are enduring and rich. She knew no one as a stranger and was an encourager to all who shared her life.
The past few years brought declining health which had been difficult to diagnose and treat. Despite the trials and challenges, she maintained her hope and faith, and her humor never failed her. On September 29, 2017, Susan left this life as she had lived the rest of it: in grace—in peace—and in great hope for the next life. One dear friend summed it best: “Heaven is now more tempting for us since Susan is there.”
She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Ronny Gene Thomas of Corpus, who, despite his own health difficulties, was a great example of support to Susan in this season; eldest son, David of New Braunfels; David’s son and Susan’s and Ronny’s grandson, Hayden of New Braunfels; and son Robert Gene and his wife Quinn of San Antonio. She is also survived by her brother, Dr. Seth L. Witcher, Jr. and his wife Jane of San Antonio.
There will be a Memorial Service in Corpus Christi at Seaside Funeral Home at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
A Graveside Service will be held at Oakwood Cemetery in Waco, Texas at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to Goodall-Witcher Hospital Foundation, 101 Ave T, Clifton, Texas 76634; or to Friends of the Library, Corpus Christi Chapter.