Celeste Elizabeth Suthoff, 93, of St. Thomas, Missouri went to be with the Lord on Thursday, December 17th, 2020, at Summit Villa.
She was born November 29th, 1927, in Jefferson City, the daughter of Simon “Sam” and Rose Thessen Strope.
On May 21st, 1947, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church she was united in marriage to Andrew Henry Suthoff who preceded her in death on December 24, 2001.
Celeste was valedictorian of her 1945 graduating class at St. Peters High School in Jefferson City. She lived in her Grandma Thessen’s boarding house while attending high school.
Celeste’s college life at CMSU was cut short by her father’s early death. Celeste tested to get her teaching certificate. Her first teaching job was at Osage Bend Elementary. All eight grades were taught by just two teachers. She lived nearby with the H. Bisges family weekdays to devote more time to it.
Celeste grew up in a home across the street from St. Thomas Church. Only the garage housing her father’s repair shop remains. With marriage, she moved into the farm house with Andy’s parents, John and Agnes Wankum Suthoff. Becoming a farm wife was a challenge for this “city girl.” She handled those chores plus bookkeeping and decision maker; she was Andy’s true partner.
The farm evolved from a dairy operation to hogs, cattle, and grain. With her help, Andy won Outstanding Young Farmer for Cole County and at State and National levels. When their son Steve and wife Lucy continued with the farm, she was proud that it became a Centennial Family Farm.
After Celeste’s father died, her mother Rose married Joe Lehmen, a carpenter. Grandpa Joe built the buff brick home for Celeste and Andy’s growing family in 1961. It has sustained them until today.
Celeste’s teaching lasted a lifetime in the Parish religion program. She loved teaching 2nd graders preparing for First Communion. She and the team prepared high schoolers for Confirmation. Celeste headed the PSR program – recruiting teachers and choosing curriculum. In 2006, the Catholic Missourian stated “her story is worth telling because of her 45 year commitment to Parish catechesis and her love for the Catholic faith.” She loved working with youth. She beamed and was so happy every time a young adult came up to her and thanked her.
Celeste’s other activities included being a 4H leader, serving on the Diocesan Women’s Council, KC 4th Degree Women’s Auxiliary, Ladies Sodality, and bowling in the St. Thomas league. She quilted on Parish picnic quilts until her car accident in 1990. Thereafter she embroidered to make quilts for church and family.
Celeste was a fun-loving person and known for her ready smile and keen interest in every person she knew or met. Most Saturday nights they went out dancing or card playing. Sundays after church were filled with barbeques and swimming in the Osage River at the farm.
Celeste loved traveling. She and Andy had many fun trips with his bowling team and one notable to Hawaii. She also went with family on faith filled journeys to the Holy Land and to see the Pope in New York. One special trip was her cruise to Alaska with her son.
Celeste and Andy followed their eight children born over a span of 21 years to most of their sporting and school events. Celeste was blessed with longevity that enabled her to also support grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their life events. The example she set was one that each of them appreciated. She had that Grandma knack for making each of them feel as if they were her favorite.
Survivors include seven children, Sam (Shelly) Suthoff, St. Peters, MO; Nancy Wekenborg, Jefferson City; Jim (Diane) Suthoff, Springfield, MO; Diane (Jim) Holzer, St. Charles, MO; Doug (DeAnne) Suthoff, Independence, MO; Jeff Suthoff, Jefferson City; Scott (Tracy) Suthoff, St. Thomas; daughter-in-law, Lucy Suthoff, St. Thomas; 19 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; a sister, Gini Heckman, Jefferson City; and two sisters-in-law, Martha Strope, St. Thomas; and Bobbi Strope, Jefferson City.
In addition to her husband and parents, Celeste was preceded in death by her son, Steve Suthoff; her grandson, David Suthoff; son-in-law, Dan Wekenborg; and two brothers, Urban Strope and Leroy Strope.
Visitation will be 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2020, at St Thomas the Apostle Catholic School Gymnasium in St. Thomas.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 12 p.m. Thursday at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church with the Rev. Leonard Mukiibi and the Rev. Donald Antweiler concelebrating. The service will be recorded and can be watched following Thursday. The link can be found on Celeste’s obituary page under Tribute Wall at www.dulletrimble.com.
The general public is welcome to attend the services while following social distancing guidelines. The family requests all attendees wear facial coverings.
Burial will follow at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Cemetery.
Memorials are suggested to St. Thomas Parish or St. Thomas School.
Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home in Jefferson City is in charge of the arrangements.
Those wishing to send condolences to the family may do so at the www.dulletrimble.com website.
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