Susan Malan

Susan passed away in her O’Fallon Missouri home with her loving husband and sons attending to her every need, assisted by Hospice Nurses from BJC Home Care Services.
Susan was preceded in death by her devoted parents, Elsie (nee Schrameyer) and Thomas See, and by her dear sister Millicent (Mrs Harry) Winchell.
In addition to David (a retired architect), Jeff (employed by Convergys, an out-sourcing company) and Phil (employed by bioMerieux, a French-owned medical manufacturer), Susan is survived by nieces Vicki (Mrs Paul) Jenkins, near Springfield IL, and Margie (Mrs Jim) Yancey, near Dallas TX; first cousin Dr. Robert Schrameyer and second cousin Fred Vogt of St. Louis County, first cousins Nelda (Mrs Henry) Bodeman and Ray Schrameyer of St. Charles County, MO — all of whom have children, and some have grandchildren — plus other relatives whose status and/or whereabouts is unknown.

Susan grew up in Spanish Lake MO, playing with Herman – her pet rabbit – and next-door neighbor Johnny Porbeck. Much less fun was the time a cow stepped on her foot, presumably out in the country somewhere. She attended Elmhurst College in Chicago for two years. In Aug, 1963, she met David on a blind date, arranged by the late Grace Graef, then secretary at Raymond E. Maritz & Sons, Architects, where David worked (until 1972). Grace lived a few blocks from Susan in Spanish Lake, and her younger son Don was Susan’s high school classmate. Her best friend during those years was Marjorie Vogelsang, and they reconnected 4 or 5 years ago and met for lunch several times.
Susan and David were married 9-26-64 by Rev. Adolph Friz in the Salem United Church of Christ (now Salem Evangelical Free Church) at the corner of Pohlman and New Halls Ferry Road in North St Louis County. For several years Susan was a key punch operator at Union Electric (now Ameren). From 1967 to 1986 they lived in Black Jack. Jeff and Phil were born, and Susan served on the city’s Cable TV Board. In 1991 they moved to O’Fallon, and Susan was last employed in 1998 as a bond clerk in the Creve Coeur office of the St. Paul Insurance Company.
Susan’s main leisure activity for many years was sewing, and, gradually, computers, as they became popular and affordable. In her later years, she also developed an interest in nature photography. She enjoyed an Aug, 2007 trip to Colorado, and took several dozen photos at Garden of the Gods (near Colorado Springs) and Red Rocks Park (overlooking Denver). Her last photo was a pretty tree in full sunlight at Meramec State Park on 10-27-07. Walking was already difficult for her by then. A couple hours later, off of Hwy 94 near the new Klondike County Park, David photographed some even prettier trees while Susan dozed in the car, too tired to even take pictures out the window.

Susan never smoked, but in early 1997 she had started coughing. A lung biopsy two years later revealed that she had Idiopathic (Latin for “unknown illness”) Pulmonary Fibrosis. After 4 days of tests at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in April, 1999, she was placed on their transplant waiting list. Her number finally came up on July 9, 2001.
Three days later she was walking around the hospital corridor. Then she caught pneumonia. But a couple months later, with just a couple rest breaks, she triumphantly climbed a couple hundred feet to McAdams Peak, in Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, Illinois, just north of St. Louis. For one of the few times in her life, she posed for David to take her picture.
Several months later, Susan’s body started trying to reject her lungs. For a couple years her Wash U Med School doctors tried various drugs and radiation treatments. None worked until they got to their last resort: Twenty-two blood treatments spread out over four months (Nov 03 – Feb 04), using Pheresis equipment. It had been tried on only 3 other patients out of about 700 who, up to that point, had received lung transplants at WU/BJC since the late 1980’s. But it sure worked for Susan! She suffered no further lung deterioration for over 3 years, and, perhaps because of that, Pheresis treatments have since been used more often, according to Tom Archer, the Second Wind Support Group president.
Susan then enjoyed a fairly normal life until 8-23-06 when she tripped on an extension cord (which she had placed on the bedroom floor many months earlier) and collapsed in an awkward heap. She was hospitalized for several days, and later had minor surgery on one vertebra. The injury caused her almost constant discomfort, and some pain, the last 18 months of her life.
During the years before and after her transplant, Susan never complained about her medical misfortunes. She also tried to live as independently as possible by looking after herself. And she continued thinking about her family, like the snowy night she worried whether her 40-year-old son Jeff would make it safely home from work.
Last Fall Susan’s breathing capacity started decreasing. In early November her doctors discovered she had a partially-collapsed lung, which seemed to open the flood gates for a host of other problems. She had to go back on bottled oxygen, like before her transplant, and by late January, she needed a wheel chair.
Doctors had told the family that when transplant surgery was successful, patients had a 50-50 chance of living 5 more years. Susan lived 6 years, 7 months and 2 weeks, for which all of her family, relatives and friends are grateful.
Thank You. Enjoy life.
PS: While surfing the web to find what day of the week Susan’s 10-14-43 birthday was on, it was discovered that on that date, Jewish prisoners in the Sobibor extermination camp staged a successful uprising — the only one — against their Nazi captors. One of the surviving heroes who later told the story was Yehuda Lerner, who had previously escaped from 7 other camps!

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