, 2023-04-03 15:20:00,
Susan Marie Rathke of Emporia passed away on March 31, 2023, due to complications from cancer. She was 67.
Susan was born on October 19, 1955, in Kansas City, Kansas to Milton D Merritt and Shirley Marie (Cowgill) Merritt. She was the third of four children. Susan grew up in the KCK area, winning spelling bees, belonging to 4-H, the Camp Fire Girls, the Presbyterian Church and its youth group, and other clubs and groups. She truly enjoyed working on her parents’ Christmas tree farm.
She was a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) for high level swimming skills, gave swim lessons, and was a lifeguard for several pools in the KCK area throughout her high school and college years assisting with many AAU swim events. She was also on the Washington High School girls swim team and was involved in theater productions. Susan was an avid softball player in her early years and continued to play through her twenties and early thirties.
Susan came to Emporia in 1973 to attend KSTC and never left. She graduated from ESU in 1977, being one of the rare students to attend KSTC, EKSC, and ESU. She worked in banking for 16 years, starting at Citizens National Bank and finishing her banking years as the Office and Supply Manager at Columbia Savings. She joined the Emporia Chamber of Commerce office team and enjoyed over 28 years working with the public, eventually retiring as the Convention and Visitors Bureau Director.
Susan was instrumental to many community groups, serving on numerous boards including the Emporia Rec. Commission, ESPI, Twin Rivers Festival, and many more. Susan was often called upon by various organizations due to her knowledge and experience in planning successful activities and events. Some of these include such notable events as the All-Veterans’ Tribute, many disc golf tournaments, and the (DK) Unbound Gravel biking races. Susan will long be remembered for her dedication to making Emporia a great place to visit, live, and play. Susan was also involved with many state and regional groups for tourism including the Travel Industry Association of Kansas and the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, where her opinion was requested, respected, and appreciated.
On June 25, 1977, she was married at the First Presbyterian Church in KCK, to Edward J. Rathke. To this union three children were born, Leslie Ann Seeley, Russell (Rusty) Edward…
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