Susan Jane Rightmyer Kodlick, 77, of Beaver Springs, died peacefully Thursday, September 9, 2021, at Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, surrounded by her three loving children.
Born on September 12, 1943, in Kingston, NY, she was the only daughter among the five children of Evelyn Muriel Ball Rightmyer and Sgt. Richard Cornelius Rightmyer. A natural caretaker, Sue adored and looked out for her four brothers, Richard “Dickie”, Peter, Jon and Randy. In turn, they, and all of Sue’s beloved cousins in the Hudson Valley, knew Sue as their hero.
In 1947, her family moved up the Hudson River, a river she greatly admired, and where her deep connection to nature was engrained at an early age, to Saugerties, NY. Then in 1952, they moved to Pennsylvania, and by 1960, the highly intelligent Sue would graduate with honors from Council Rock Jr.-Sr. High School in Newtown, PA, where she was also part of the champion softball team. With a driving desire to help others coupled with her scientific mind, Sue enrolled in Chestnut Hill School of Nursing in Philadelphia where she officially became a Registered Nurse in 1964. This would be the beginning of her lifelong career in nursing.
While in nursing school, she met Jim Kodlick, who was attending the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing, at a school dance. The two had an instant connection and dated for four years until their desired wedding date, September 16, fell on a Saturday. That time came in 1967 when they wed at St. John’s Slovak Lutheran Church in Lansford, PA, in front of hundreds of friends and family who still claim that it was the greatest party of all time. That set the tone for a lifetime of fun, love, and adventure.
Soon after the wedding, in 1968, during the Vietnam conflict, the newlyweds set off to Tokyo, Japan, where they worked together as Registered Nurses at the 7th Field Hospital on Tachikawa Air Base; Jim, as a commissioned Army Nurse Corps member, and Sue as a volunteer. They served there for two years. During their time abroad, Sue gave birth to their first child, a son, James Richard Kodlick II.
Ever strong and confident, Sue was not at all afraid when she flew home alone with her infant son to the United States in 1970 while she awaited her husband’s return a few months later, at which point they bought a farm in Pennsylvania – a shared dream come true. Always a gracious hostess, Sue felt the farm was the perfect place to host friends and family, and express their love of nature. It was also the perfect place to grow their family. Daughter, Susanna Jennifer Kodlick, was born in 1972. A second daughter, Johanna Brooke Kodlick, joined the party in 1978. Sue’s role as a mother was as natural as the land on which they were raising their children, and lucky for them, she had a knack for cooking gourmet farm-to-table style meals for her family and friends. All three kids agree that Sue was the best mom in the world, an incredible role model - instilling the values of hard work and honesty - and a pillar of strength, peace and love for her entire life.
While maintaining the roles of mother of three, wife, and working full-time at Laurelton Center as the Director of Staff Development for 30 years, Sue never ceased to improve herself and the community around her. She helped start The Mother-Child Development Program at Beaver Lutheran Church where she taught the 4 year-olds class for several years and was an active member of the associated Mothers’ Group. Always leading by example, Sue was a key contributor to the American Red Cross, earning over 20 gallon pins and volunteering at blood banks. She helped coach her kids’ athletic teams and was a supporter at every game. In 1973, while mothering her first two little ones, and often with a kid in a car seat in tow at her lessons, she even found time to fulfill a lifelong dream by obtaining her small plane pilot’s license!
She often expressed to her children that they meant the world to her, and this love multiplied with the birth of each of her treasured grandchildren, James Richard Kodlick III, William Paul Kodlick, Elise Brooke Jackson and Luciana Jane Lattarulo who all adored their sweet “Nanny”.
Sue was a crossword puzzle wizard. She loved the show “Jeopardy!”, and knew all of the answers. She took judo lessons in her senior years and thoroughly enjoyed traveling the globe with Jim and their friends; from Galapagos to Alaska, Belize to Ireland, Italy to Jamaica, and many places in between. Never the armchair tourist, she harnessed up and climbed to the top of the Sydney opera house bridge, and rode the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ at Williamburg, VA, alone, when the rest of her entourage chickened out. Moreover, whenever she was dealt a rough hand, she never wallowed in self-pity, but rather, always faced things head-on and with warrior-like courage.
She treated everyone with equal respect and thought of her friends’ kids as her own, teaching them to drive, to swim, to be good people and have a sense of humor. She was often outside and barefoot, singing and humming while working on her gardens and maintaining the pool. She instilled a love of music in her children, teaching them to sing at an early age, filling family car rides with harmonious joy. Anyone that knew her thought she was cool, stylish, and admired her deeply.
Sue Kodlick gave love without question, without limit, and her legacy lives on within each who were blessed to have had her in their lives. Sue’s final gift was her full body donation to medical research through Humanity Gifts Registry, which her children have proudly honored.
She was predeceased by her husband, James Richard Kodlick I, who died on May 27, 2020, her older brother Richard in 1971, and her parents.
Surviving are her son and daughter-in-law James and Marcia (Menihan) Kodlick of Mechanicsburg, PA; two daughters, Susanna (Kodlick) Jackson and her partner Matthew McLaughlin of Winfield, PA, and Johanna Kodlick and her partner Anthony Lattarulo of Lewisburg, PA; three brothers and sisters-in-law, Peter and Susan of Cotuit, MA, Jon and Cindy of Mohrsville, PA, and Randy and Sally of Muncy, PA; Sister-in-law, Gloria and husband Steve of East Haven, CT; beloved grandchildren, James Richard Kodlick III, William Paul Kodlick, Elise Brooke Jackson, and Luciana Jane Lattarulo; along with many cherished cousins, nephews, nieces, and dear friends.
Family and friends are welcome to a time of visitation from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, October 2, at Roupp Funeral Home, Inc., 8594 Old Turnpike Rd., Mifflinburg. A celebration of life will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater PA Chapter, 2595 Interstate Dr., Suite 100, Harrisburg, PA 17110.
Leave your condolences online at www.rouppfuneralhome.com.