Sue Lee Brimer Magruder, 88, of Kirksville, Missouri, died Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Kirksville. Sue was born on June 26, 1932 near Bowling Green, MO, the daughter of Cecil R. Brimer and Lottie Maude (Stanley) Brimer.
When Sue was two years old she moved with her family to Powell, WY, where they homesteaded in the Big Horn Basin. Her first memory on the homestead is of waking up in bed in the morning and finding snow on her face and eyelashes. In Wyoming, Sue’s Mom would look out the window upon the mountains and recite Psalm 121:1-2. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” This verse became Sue’s theme verse, sustaining her throughout her life.
In the 4th grade Sue checked a book out of the school library called Lost Worlds. It was a book about ancient civilizations and had a picture of Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple in Egypt. She thought it was the most beautiful place she had ever seen and determined she would one day go there. In August of 1990, she fulfilled that dream.
During World War II the family moved to Renton, Washington, before returning to Hannibal, MO, where Sue finished her last two years of high school. She attended Hannibal LaGrange College, receiving her Elementary Teaching Certificate. She then taught school in Antonia, MO, for two years before attending Northeast Missouri State Teachers College to finish her teaching degree. While standing in the registration line on June 4, 1954, she met a smiling young man named Jack Magruder. On their first date Jack told her that he was going to marry her and that he dreamed of someday becoming a science education professor at the college. 10 weeks later, on August 4, 1954, they were married at First Baptist Church in Kirksville. And she did finish her degree, graduating from the college in May of 1955.
The next several years were spent moving around the country (Iowa, Colorado, California, Louisiana) while Jack pursued his Masters and Doctoral degrees, Sue taught elementary school, and they grew their family. In 1964 the family returned to Kirksville where Jack had been offered a job teaching in the science division at Northeast Missouri State College. Sue eventually completed her Masters Degree at Northeast Missouri State University with additional work at University of Missouri-Columbia.
Sue dedicated her life to education. She taught for 13 years at Northeast Missouri State University. She served 9 years as First Lady of Truman State University and 4 years as First Lady of A.T. Still University. She was an adult Sunday school teacher for 11 years and a literacy teacher in the Adair County Adult Education Program. As recently as the 2019/2020 school year Sue was a reading tutor through the Oasis program at Kirksville Primary School.
She always loved to travel, read, fish, and do jigsaw puzzles. A place of special meaning to the family was Yellowstone National Park. One of the recent trips in 2015 included 17 members of her family. In 1966 Jack and Sue built their house in the country east of Kirksville where they raised their children along with numerous horses, cattle, hogs, cats, and dogs. There they welcomed generations of students from around the world, and countless gatherings of friends and family. She raised her family with superb love and dedication, leaving a legacy of faith, hope, and love.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Cecil and Lottie, by her sister, Aleta Fountain, and brother, Dale Brimer. She is survived by her beloved husband of nearly 67 years, Willis Jackson Magruder. She is also survived by her 3 children, Julie Beth Magruder Lochbaum, Kerry Vaughn Magruder (Candace), and Laura Ellen Magruder Mann (Marvin). Grandchildren include James (Rojina) Lochbaum, Anna (Matthew) Matheney, Rachel (Stephen) Folmar, Hannah Magruder, Zac Burden, Susanna Magruder, Jackson (Brianna) Mann, Jonathan Mann, and a great-grandson, Maverick Mann.
In 1992 Jack heard the song “Look At Us” on the radio and hand copied the lyrics in a love letter to Sue. He was correct that their love was the embodiment of the song – and that love lives on.
Look at us after all these years together.
Look at us after all that we’ve been through.
Look at us still leaning on each other.
If you wanna see how true love should be then just look at us. Look at us still believing in forever…
If you wanna see how true love should be then just look at us.
There will be public visitation on Saturday, June 5 from 10:00 am to noon under the tent at Davis and Normal streets on the Truman State University campus. A June 14 memorial service will be live-streamed from First United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Sue & Jack Magruder Scholarship fund at Truman State University or First United Methodist Church in Kirksville.
Update: On Mother’s 88th birthday, Saturday, June 26, Laura took this photo of a double rainbow over the homestead at Willis Creek Ranch. We take this as nature’s tribute.