Suzanne Chaiclin Byers

Sue Byers of Okemos passed away on Thursday, March 14, 2019, she was 90 years old. She was born in New York, New York on December 9, 1928, to Esther and Abraham Chaiclin. Sue earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1949 from the University of Wisconsin in Human Ecology and was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority.

Sue spent most of her childhood in Flushing, New York with her parents, older sister and younger brother. After World War II began, she and her brother were sent to school in Florida, where she graduated from St. Petersburg High School at the age of 16. Sue then went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where her sister had just graduated.  She was drawn to the university because her mother studied there every summer and brought Sue and her siblings with her. Her dad stayed in New York working for Bell Labs.

After graduation, Sue moved back to New York where she worked for the New York Telephone Company for five years. After marrying Joe Byers in 1954, they went back to Madison (he graduated from there as well) where Joe was working on a masters and a PhD while teaching high school. Sue worked for the Wisconsin Telephone Company during that time. In 1961, they moved to Berkeley, California where their only child, Bryonie Palmer Byers was born in 1962.  In 1966 they moved to Okemos, where Sue was a full-time mother until her divorce in 1974, when she began her career at Michigan State University.

During Sue’s more than 20 years in Administrative Assistant roles at MSU, she was most proud and was truly at “home” during her 13 years in the School of Music (now, College of Music). She was passionate about music and the faculty and the students who made it. Upon Sue’s retirement in 1994 from MSU, she was commended for her exceptional service and extraordinary interest and care for students, faculty and staff with whom she came into contact.

In retirement she took her role as a “Human Google” to new heights. She could find information or a resource on any topic and if she didn’t know the answer she would spend her days researching to find it. She was also a docent at the Michigan Historical Museum and volunteered at the East Lansing Prime Time Senior Center and American Cancer Society. Her love of music and the arts was continually fueled by performances of the Lansing Symphony and events at the Wharton Center.  She also took many trips to art galleries and musical performances across the State of Michigan, and spent time seeking arts and culture in Chicago and Washington, DC.

Sue especially treasured her many wonderful friends who gave her joy and greatly enriched her life. Her warm heart and kindness were felt by many and will be missed by all.

Sue is survived by daughter Bryonie Byers, son-in-law Kevin Avery, and her cherished grandson, J. Hudson Avery, all of Chevy Chase, MD. She was predeceased by her sister Judith O’Rourke and brother Richard Chaiclin.

In lieu of flowers or contributions, Sue would want friends and acquaintances to spread kindness in her memory. Online condolences may be left for her family at www.EstesLeadley.com. A Celebration of Life will take place this summer.

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