Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Carolyn Sue Middleton

 
Carolyn Sue Middleton

Carolyn Sue Middleton

Carolyn Sue Middleton, age 73, passed away peacefully Sunday, July 12, at her daughter's home in Saint John, Washington.

She was born May 30, 1947, to Grady Everette Hanback and Grace Elizabeth (Austin) Hanback in South Bend, Indiana, the fifth of 12 children. The family subsequently relocated to northern Alabama where Sue spent her formative years attending school and doing farm work from an early age alongside her siblings in order to help support their family, especially after her father passed away unexpectedly. The family struggled to make ends meet but the experience of growing up with financial hardship instilled in Sue the strong work ethic she would carry with her for the rest of her life, taught her the value of a dollar and imbued in her an unfaltering concern for the welfare of others.

In 1965 she married Gary Middleton, and in the following years had three children: Beth Anne, Chris and Shawn. The family moved several times before finally settling in Tekoa, Washington, in 1981. Sue was a devoted and proud mother who was always at school events to lend encouragement and support to her children and a dedicated member of her church and community who was always ready to drop off a meal for a local family who needed it or volunteer her talents writing , singing and dancing in Slippery Gulch Days variety shows. She was best known as the beloved character "Minnie Swirl".

In addition to all of the responsibilities of helping to raise a family, she worked in a range of jobs including driving harvest trucks and operating her own home cleaning business. She also served as a restorative aide at the Tekoa Care Center and as a personal care aide for many residents of the town who required skilled care-giving assistance in their homes. Sue was a consummate gardener who mastered the art of growing tomatoes, an accomplished cook and skilled in a variety of crafts. She enjoyed bowling and hosting family gatherings, especially at Christmas, her favorite time of the year. Sue was an intrepid traveller and over the years journeyed to Europe, Australia and the Caribbean. Later in life she went to work full time in hospitality at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho, spending nearly twenty years there as a dedicated employee. Before her retirement in 2017, her years of service were recognized by the Coeur d'Alene tribe by having the rare honor of their Golden Eagle Award bestowed on her.

Sue will be missed deeply by all who loved her and whose lives she touched. She will be missed as the beautiful mother with the sparkling blue eyes, warm smile and infectious laugh who guided her children on their paths to becoming responsible adults and instilled in them strong moral compasses, a commitment to the sacred bonds of family and a ready willingness to assist those in need. She will be missed as the friend and co-worker with the kind and generous heart who never hesitated to bring a hot meal to someone who needed it or buy groceries and Christmas presents for those who couldn't afford them. Her selflessness and consideration was always extended to anyone in distress, even strangers.

Carolyn Sue Middleton

Carolyn Sue Middleton

Sue was preceded in death by her parents and eight of her siblings. She is survived by her three children Beth Anne Jones (Jeff), Christopher Middleton (Lori) and Shawn Middleton (Christine). She is also survived by siblings Denny Hanback and Joyce Gozstolla, both of Mishawaka, Indiana and Bobbie Herston of Guntersville, Alabama as well as her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and numerous nephews, nieces and great-nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be held at a later date due to current restrictions on public gatherings imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all of the wonderful medical staff who cared for Sue over the years . In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made as memorial gifts to the American Heart Association (www2.heart.org) or Friends of Hospice (friendsofhospice.net). Please include a note: In memory of Sue Middleton. On-line condolences may be made at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com.

 

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