Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Sue Boyer

August 9, 1933 - October 9, 2017
Mattawan, MI



Thursday, October 12, 2017
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

6:30 PM the Rosary will be recited.

Driving Directions


Friday, October 13, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
St. John Bosco Catholic Church
23830 Front Street
Mattawan, MI 49071
(269) 668-3312

Burial at St. Mary's Cemetery, then lunch will follow back at the church hall.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

St. John Bosco Catholic Church
23830 Front Street
Mattawan, MI 49071
(269) 668-3312
Web Site

Caring Network
C/O Catholic Charities, 1819 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
(269) 381-9800
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With unending devotion to her family, Susanna Boyer made such a significant impact in the world around her. With an unwavering faith as the cornerstone in her life, she exemplified what it means to be the hands and feet of the Lord she loved. Life was not always easy for Sue, but she faced whatever came her way with a quiet strength coupled with graceful courage that was truly inspirational. She had her own family to care for, but her door was always open to anyone in need. Life will never be the same without Sue here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.

Life was anything but easy for countless American families during the dark days of the Great Depression throughout the 1930s. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and a drought covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Despite the hardship around them, Henry and Barbara (Toth) Thias were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Susanna Rose on August 9, 1933. Born in Lake Town Township, Michigan, she was the eighth of nine children in her family as she joined her siblings, Louie, Mary, Jack, Marion, John, George, and Bobbie in the family. Their family was later completed with the birth of Sue’s younger sister, Margaret. She was raised in the Saugatuck area where her parents had a small farm. Sue’s father also worked in tool and die at Hart and Cooley. Growing up on a farm meant that she had chores around both the house and farm. Sue learned to cook on a wood fire stove, and she knew even as a young girl that things are to be earned. She and her siblings were very musical and all took piano lessons. Sue was especially talented playing difficult songs such as Clair de Lune. Sue’s love for music followed her throughout her life, and as a mother she saw to it that each of her children also took piano lessons. She also encouraged her children and grandchildren to express themselves through a variety of instruments and would often cover the costs for the lessons. She was raised in the Catholic Church, and Sue remained true to her Catholic faith for the rest of her life.

New and exciting changes were in store for Sue when she met the young man who would forever hold the key to her heart. His name was Philip Boyer, and they met at a square dance at a place called The Big Pavilion in June of 1950. She was there with her sisters Barbara (Bobbie), and Margaret (Marmie). Since Phil was preparing to join the Navy he asked Bobbie to write to him while he was overseas. Although she initially agreed, Bobbie passed the assignment off to Sue because she was already writing to two other soldiers. During this same time, Sue was still finishing her schooling. She graduated from Mt. Mercy Academy High School in June of 1951 and then went to nurses training at St. Lawrence School of Nursing in Lansing.

Through their letters, Sue and Phil fell deeply in love. On March 25, 1953, Phil asked her to marry him, and on July 18, 1953, they were married at St. Peter’s Church in Douglas. The newlyweds headed west to California for their honeymoon because Phil still had to finish six months with the Navy. In 1954 the happy couple started a family in Coronado when they welcomed their first precious baby boy named Lawrence. Shortly after they moved back to Michigan moving to a house on Austin Lake in Portage and later to Mattawan. In all they welcomed 13 children. Following Lawrence came Rosemary, Steve, Teresa, John, Phillip, Mark, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Kathleen, Nick, Kelly, and Maria into their hearts and home. With such a large family to provide for, Sue knew how to be frugal. Since they raised chickens, there was always enough to go around as chicken was a staple in their home. Sue's favorite dish was liver and onions and though the kids did not particularly enjoy it they were made to eat it. In fact she liked liver and onions so much she would often order it at restaurants when she and Phil would go out later in life. Sue also did plenty of gardening, canning, and sewing while nothing ever went to waste. Although their family was large, there was always room for one more as they took in many a friend or family member who needed a place to stay over the years. The dinner table was always open, too, as she regularly invited guests over. Catholic education was important, and many sacrifices were made so their children could attend Catholic schools. In addition to caring for her home and family, she also worked part-time as a nurse. As the family grew she eventually became a full-time stay at home mom who loved to attend her children’s extra-curricular activities including athletics, piano recitals, choir, band, theater and much more.

As her family and friends can attest, Sue had a way of making the ordinary extraordinary. She always made sure her children were well cared for, and she never stopped being a mom even when her children were grown. Sue taught her children many important things in life such as a strong work ethic, the importance of work before play, and so much more, but her primary focus was making sure that all of her children would have a place in Heaven someday. She loved reading and frequently read to her children and grandchildren and often took them to the library to check out books. She also passed this love for reading on to all of them. Sue’s hands were always dry from doing dishes, to her children her “sand paper hands” made for the most satisfying back rubs which she gave frequently. Those hands also made the best apple pies! She went to daily Mass and also led the family in praying the rosary each day making sure to pray for so many in need including the unborn. Sue was nicknamed “Sister Sue” because her first response to anything was to cover the situation in prayer. She always knew exactly what saint to pray for each situation as her faith was an integral part of her life. She combined her love for music with her faith as a member of the choir at St. John Bosco Catholic Church. Sue also played the organ there. She enjoyed both Christmas music and church music. Birthdays and holidays were always special times, and they were huge since the whole family got together. Sue loved entertaining family, and everything was always thoughtfully put together. Her love of family led to her and Phil organizing the family reunion every year at Tunnel Park in Holland. She loved the conversation, laughter, hugs, photo taking and all around good times. The reunion was not over for Sue until she watched the sun go down over Lake Michigan. She always took time to appreciate the beauty of the setting sun. One little known fact about Sue is that she not only had an appreciation for beautiful sunsets but also an appreciation for baseball. Her favorite player was Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers.

All who knew Susanna Rose Boyer would agree that she was a gift to everyone she met. She volunteered freely of her time for several causes including multiple pro-life causes. She was nurturing, caring, and full of endless amounts of unconditional love. Sue was always willing to help someone in need with no questions asked as she could see Jesus in all people. Strong, resilient, and gracious, she will be forever missed.

Susanna Rose Boyer of Mattawan, died peacefully at Bronson Commons in Mattawan on October 9, 2017. Sue is survived by 10 children: Lawrence Boyer, Rosemary Blade, Steve Boyer, Teresa Boyer, John Boyer, Mark Boyer, Elizabeth (Paul) Carra, Nick (Mary) Boyer, Kelly (Tony) Sehy and Maria (Chris) Allen; 33 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren; and a sister, Bobbie (Stan) Meyers. Sue was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Phillip Bohnet on April 21, 2017; 3 children: Kathleen Boyer, Phillip Boyer and Eleanor Boyer; and a grandson, Joshua Boyer. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Thursday (Oct. 12) from 4-7 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where a rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday (Oct. 13) 11 a.m. at St. John Bosco Church. Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Paw Paw followed by a luncheon back in the church hall. Please visit Sue’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to St. John Bosco Church and the Caring Network.