Cover photo for Sue Anne (Bidwell)  Root's Obituary
Sue Anne (Bidwell)  Root Profile Photo

Sue Anne (Bidwell) Root

June 26, 1944 — February 28, 2020


Sue Anne Root, 75, of Elkhart passed away on the morning of February 28, 2020, after a four year battle with lung cancer, at Elkhart General Hospital.  She was able to spend her last few days visiting with friends, family, and enjoying Purdue knock off Indiana one last time.

Sue was born on June 26, 1944 in Kendallville, Indiana, second daughter of LaOmer ‘Tim’ and Flossie (Mohler) Bidwell.  She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Muriel Bidwell.

She lived all her young life at the first farm north of Helmer, IN.  With the help of her father, Sue was a ten year 4H member, raising both livestock as well as making handcrafted clothing. She was also a Jr. Leader in the Steuben Co. organization. She won two county championships for sewing; winning the Indiana/Illinois state wool sewing contest and competed in the national contest in Phoenix, AZ in 1964.  She was also crowned 1962 Steuben County 4-H Queen.  Sue graduated from Salem Center High School in 1962.

Coming from an Ag background Sue was destined for the Old Gold and Black of Purdue University, graduating in 1966 with a B.S. focusing on Home Economics and a 1972 M.S. in Education. She was known by her friends as “Betsy Boilermaker”, quick with a “Boiler Up” and was an expert at calling traveling, particularly when committed by a Purdue opponent.

First meeting at Bledsoe’s Beach on Lake James, Sue married Kirk A. Root on August 16, 1969 in Kendallville, IN. He survives with two children, Timothy Root (Jean Root) and Katie Root (Kirk Lilley) both living in Portland, OR.  There are three granddaughters, Elka Root, Racine Lilley, and Linden Lilley.

She began her M.S. training at Barker Junior High in Michigan City, IN. (1966-1969).  After marrying, she moved to Elkhart in 1969 to teach at Brookdale Junior High School (1969-1973) with the great staff and administration assembled there.  Many of the staff remained lifelong friends.  She continued to substitute teach in the Elkhart Community School system from 1976-1977. She resumed teaching as part of the faculty at Memorial High School (1994-2007) in the Home Economics department. While raising her two children, Sue also managed an alteration business out of her home, hemming many of Elkhart’s formal gowns and pants. She also volunteered as the co-president of the Pinewood PTA while her children attended and as a judge for the Elkhart County 4-H Fashion Revues.

Sue had many interests including tennis, golf (member of Raber’s women league), and playing bridge.  She picked up golf late in life and even scored a hole in one in 2018. She was active in many Elkhart groups including Tri Kappa, as well as bridge club, Osolo Library Book Club, and the Michiana Garden Club.

Sue had an uncanny knack to remember people’s names and their family associations. This included former students that she would meet long after they had been her students.  When she made a friend, it was for life. This included her high school classmates, college roommates, and community acquaintances. She had a vibrant laugh that will be missed.

She was a master in the kitchen and carried many of her mother’s recipes to her home and created many of her own.  Her friends and family would rave about their favorite dishes including:  Sue’s secret BBQ sauce, brisket, meatloaf, custards, and fried zucchini.  Sue enjoyed making buckeyes and turtles every Christmas.

Sue also took care of many domestic animals during her lifetime, especially kittens and cats. In her later years, she cared for the feral cat population in her neighborhood, making sure that they were spayed and neutered, as well as had shelter during the winters.  She often said she would love to have a cat’s life and one of her final wishes was to have a kitten purring on her neck.

A Celebration of Life Service for Sue will be held at 4 pm on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home 1531 Cobblestone Blvd, Elkhart, IN  46514 where friends may visit with family two hours to services.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute to one of the following charities. Elkhart Community Schools Family and Consumer Science Department, 2720 California Road, Elkhart, IN 46514, Elkhart Community Schools William H. Miller Dental Fund; 2720 California Road, Elkhart, IN 46514, Humane Society of Elkhart County, 54687 CR 1, Bristol, IN 46507


Humane Society of Elkhart County
54687 County Road 19, Bristol IN 46507
Tel: 1-574-848-4225

Elkhart Community Schools Family and Consumer Science Department
2720 California Road, Elkhart IN 46514

Elkhart Community Schools William H. Miller Dental Fund
2720 California Road, Elkhart IN 46514

To send flowers to the family in memory of Sue Anne (Bidwell) Root, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, March 7, 2020

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home

1531 Cobblestone Boulevard
Elkhart, IN 46514

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home

1531 Cobblestone Boulevard
Elkhart, IN 46514

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


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