Susan Geals Spears passed away Tuesday, May 2, 2017 after a year long battle with cancer. Susan was born in KCMO during the flood of 1951 on June 14th to Evelyn Jacobson Warsop and Thomas Woodrow Warsop, Sr. A Flag Day baby, her Dad got great joy by telling Susan that the neighbors were putting out flags for her birthday, and by sending her to neighbor’s front doors to ask, “Don’t you know it’s my birthday? Where is your flag?”
Daughter, wife, teacher, mother, and grandmother Susan cherished her family, and loved times spent with the whole group most of all. She inherited a love of stories from her Dad, and insisted that the story of how she met “…the love of her life” be told here. She also insisted that it begin, “This is a TRUE STORY”, with her trademark hand gesture for emphasis.
After graduating from KU in ‘75 Susan’s first years of teaching were in Highland, KS ‘75/76 and ‘76/77. She moved to Overland Park Elementary for the ‘77/78 school year as a first grade teacher, and Kevin Spears was one of her students. One day she was reading a story to the class where the mother said something funny, and Susan asked “Kevin, what do you think your Mom would say?”, to which he replied, “I don’t have a Mom.” Kicking herself for the gaffe she later approached Kevin and quietly apologized, saying how sorry she was for asking about his Mom, and Kevin responded, “Oh it’s OK. She lives in Texas, just not with me and my Dad.” This set the wheels turning, as she had noticed that Kevin was always “together”, often bringing homemade cookies in his lunch, etc. so when it was time for parent/teacher conferences she scheduled Kevin’s in the last slot of the day, “…because I know you work, and it should be easier for you.” That 15 minute conference lasted well over an hour, and refusing to leave a young, single teacher alone with a man, the janitor continued to clean her room the whole time! That conference lead to a first date, which led to trips to the park, and they married the following year, November 11th, 1978 with Kevin serving as Best Man. Susan & Roger would have celebrated 39 years of marriage this year.
Susan was Mom to Kevin, and then to Ryan born ’81 and Lauren born ’83. She loved to travel, but even more she loved family gatherings. Her kids were the light of her life, and then came grandkids which kicked in her Super Grandma gene. Susan loved to spend her days with grandkids whenever she could, and loved that all three kids live in the KC Metro. Dillon (13) was solo for seven years until Levi (14) and Seth (12) joined the family with daughter Lauren’s marriage. The number doubled in 2012 with Megan (5), and then twins Austin & Ethan (5) nine days later. Avery (4) then brought the number to 7, and Olin (2) rounded it to 8. With travels to much of the US, and to several destinations abroad Susan’s favorite was a 25th Anniversary trip to Maui & Kauai. A trip to Ireland in May 2016 had to be canceled when Susan’s cancer was diagnosed.
Susan was a career educator, teaching in Highland, KS for two years; Overland Park Elementary for two years; and then being Mom for five years until the children were in school. She was then in the Olathe, KS schools from ’86 – 2011, teaching kindergarten and first grade classes before becoming an Instructional Resource Teacher (IRT) in 1998, and she was honored to be an IRT until her retirement in 2011, when the births of the twins & Megan were anticipated. She cherished her friendships and professional relationships with her fellow IRT’s, enjoyed hosting Christmas gatherings for them & their spouses, as well as IRT Game Nights. Susan loved, loved, loved her games!
Susan had a gift of friendship, with friends from her 2nd grade year in school onward. When talking to someone, they were her BFF of the moment – the most important person on the earth for her. Her characteristic laugh on the intake of breaths, was contagious, causing others to laugh with her laugh, even if they had no idea what she found funny. There are many stories of Susan being somewhere, something funny causing her to laugh, only to hear someone from a distance call out, “SUSAN, IS THAT YOU??”, which then would cause more laughter. She loved her Honey’s, a group that had its beginning in Highland with a group of young teachers getting together to socialize evenings and weekends and still meeting at least monthly today – friendships spanning more than 40 years. The Honey’s led to a love of all things “Bee” for the group. Susan’s Bridge Group hails back to ’83, though some might say that there is more talking, snacking and laughter than playing cards. Susan had many lifelong friendships.
Susan had a very strong faith in God, and knew with certainty that she would be transitioning from this temporary earthly life to an eternal life with her beloved Jesus. She looked forward to seeing friends and relatives who had gone before her, but with everyone being in their prime years and with no cares. Susan felt fortunate to love an earthly life that was full, surrounded by such a large number of friends, and especially having her family close.
Susan was preceded in death by her Mom, Evelyn Jacobson Warsop; her Dad, Thomas W. Warsop, Sr; and her brother, Thomas W. Warsop, Jr. She is survived by husband Roger; children Kevin (Heather), Ryan (Lauren), and Lauren (Jamie); grandkids Levi, Seth, Austin, Ethan & Avery (Lauren); Dillon & Megan (Kevin); and Olin (Ryan).
A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00am Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Colonial Presbyterian Church, 12501 W. 137th St., Overland Park, KS 66221. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Susan Spears Memorial Fund, c/o the Olathe Public Schools Foundation, 315 N. Lindenwood, Olathe, KS 66062, or online at Olathe Foundation Donate Link and
confirm the “Susan Spears Memorial Fund” designation; or to Kansas City Hospice, 12000 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64145.
Susan’s final message to you, “I want you to go out and BEE Happy!”