Obituary: Susan Valikonis

Susan Valikonis
Provided Photo
Susan Valikonis

May 24, 1946 – May 22, 2021

Sue Valikonis (Archibald), former Steamboat Springs resident passed away Saturday, May 22, 2021 in Santa Barbara, CA. Sue was born in Berkeley, CA to Robert and Nancy Archibald. She was raised in Santa Barbara, and attended San Marcos High School. After graduation, Sue took a camping trip to Colorado and fell in love with Steamboat Springs where she formed friendships and connections that would continue for the rest of her life. Her infectious laugh, and good spirit flowed from Sue as she counseled at Perry-Mansfield Camp in the equestrian program, and attended and graduated from Yampa Valley College. George Tolles was Sue’s favorite professor, and she could recite German, even in her sleep.

Sue was a lifelong traveler. Her first big trip was to Guayaquil, Ecuador after college where she worked at Colegio Americano, founded by Lowell Whiteman. It nearly gave her mother a heart attack to send Sue off on a rickety airplane out of LAX to what was then a very foreign destination. But Sue was fearless and it was a life-changing trip as it led her to her next big adventure in Brownsville, Texas, where she met her husband, Bill Valikonis, and had her two boys—John and Bill.

When her husband Bill died Sue went back to school to become a nurse. After obtaining her degree, Sue moved with the boys back to Steamboat Springs. Here she found her true calling as a school nurse at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park Elementary schools where she was beloved by children, and peers alike. Later, with her parents’ failing health, she moved back to California and worked at Montecito Union School and Cate School in Carpinteria. Students would sometimes make up an illness just so they could spend the night in the infirmary with Nurse Sue.

At Cate, Sue’s beloved dog Henna was her constant companion. When she wasn’t stealing tri-tip from the kitchen, Henna could be found sitting in Sue’s convertible Cabriolet waiting for the next adventure! The journeys continued throughout Sue’s life with travels to Africa, China, Thailand, Australia, Mexico, and Europe.

The brightest lights in Sue’s life were her sons and granddaughters, Sia and Lylas. Grammy and her girls had the best of times doing art, having sleepovers and sharing love. Sue was always cheerful, and never complained no matter the circumstances.

Sue had a very strong faith, and it gave her much strength and comfort throughout her life, but especially in those challenging times, such as when her son Bill died. And in more recent years, as Sue bravely dealt with the hardships of dementia, her faith constantly sustained her.

We share her loss with everyone who knew her. Sue was a bright light in this world—a true original. We will all miss her happy nature, easy smile, playful spirit and generous heart. She is survived by her son John Valikonis, grandchildren Sia and Lylas, siblings Robert Archibald, Sally Archibald Hertzog, Charlotte Hall and Cece Hall, niece Ashley Hertzog and her daughter, Amari.

Sue will be laid to rest next to her son, Bill, at Carpinteria Cemetery on June 5th at 11:00 AM.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Toro Canyon Park afterward.

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