Susan Bennett, age 57, of Pierre, South Dakota, died on Friday, January 18, 2019 at her home in Pierre.
Susan Mary Schoenfelder was born January 28th, 1961, in Huron, South Dakota. She was adopted on February 17th, 1961, by Clem and Eleanor “Mike” (Helmberger) Schoenfelder, and joined an older brother, Tom. At the age of four she moved with her family from Mitchell to Gregory where her parents bought a Chevrolet Dealership. Susan worked for her parents at the dealership doing bookkeeping with her mother from junior high through high school.
After graduating high school in 1979, Susan attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where she received a Music Education degree and later a Masters Degree in Voice. In 1986, she accepted a one year vocal music position in Philip. The music teacher returned after her maternity leave and Susan moved to Highmore where she taught vocal music for five years. She returned to Philip on numerous occasions to visit friends and met the love of her life, Merlin Bennett. They started dating and were married on June 20, 1992, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.
Susan taught vocal music in Kadoka the following year. They moved to Spearfish the following year, where Merlin returned to college. Shortly after moving to Spearfish, their daughter Megan was born. Two years later, they moved to Vermillion where Merlin finished his undergraduate classes, and their son Dylan was born right after the move.
From Vermillion the family moved to Woodridge, Illinois where Merlin started graduate classes in Chiropractic and Susan started to work at Jefferson Junior High in the Special Education Department as a tutor. In 1999, they moved to Pierre and Susan started to work at Jefferson Elementary in the Prolonged Assistance classroom. Over the years, she also worked with early childhood and resource students. She was later asked to be a one-on-one tutor for a young student with cerebral palsy. She worked with this student until she retired.
Susan also worked at Walmart for 17 years after moving to Pierre. She was a sales associate in fabrics, toys, and lawn and garden. She really loved the garden area where she could be outside during the summer and put out the holiday items during the other seasons.
On October 23, 2006, Susan met her birth mother, Barbara Ann (Sisk) Bouren, from Ree Heights, South Dakota. They laughed and cried over the stories they told each other. Susan found out she had three younger sisters with her mother and that had Susan so excited because she always wanted a sister. Susan never got to meet her father (Merlin Gibson) originally from Highmore, but she had met her siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and Grandma Lucille.
After retiring in 2018, due to her illness, Susan enjoyed watching her two beautiful granddaughters, Brooklyn and Destiny, after they got out of daycare. Susan enjoyed working with children, attending all sporting events, especially those of her children, being outside in the sun, watching her grandchildren grow and being with family and friends.
Survivors include her husband Merlin; daughter Megan Bennett (Ed) Rattling Leaf of Pierre; son Dylan Bennett (special friend Daae Ahn) of Aberdeen; granddaughters Brooklyn, Destiny, and Carlie; step-grandchildren Audry and E.J. Rattling Leaf; sisters Sandi (Robert) Hall of Ree Heights, Vicki (Rick) Oligmueller of Miller, Nicolle (Chris) Stallkamp of Selby; brothers Tom Schoenfelder of Gregory, and Matt and Eric Gibson of Kansas City; In-laws Glen (Rose) Bennett and Toni Rhodes of Philip; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Susan was preceded in death by her parents Clem and Eleanor “Mike” Schoenfelder; Merlin Gibson and Barbara (Eldon) Bouren; a sister Cheryl Gibson; grandparents Barney and Leota Schoenfelder, Joseph and Norma Helmberger, Brian and Lucille Gibson, Carl and Josephine Sisk; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation will be held 6-7 p.m. CST on Thursday, January 24, at St. John's Catholic Church in Ft. Pierre, with a vigil service at 7:00 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 a.m. CST on Friday, January 25, at St. John's Catholic Church in Ft. Pierre, with Father Ron Garry as celebrant.
Graveside services will follow the luncheon at 1:00 p.m. MST on Friday, at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
A reception will follow the graveside services at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.
Arrangements are with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.