Alice Susan George

alice george

July 23, 1934 ~ July 20, 2023

Born in: Ellsworth County, KS
Resided in: Durham, NC

Alice Susan (Leslie) George passed away peacefully at Our Promise House in North Carolina on July 20th, 2023 after a multi-year struggle with Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Alice Susan, “Susie,” was born in 1934 in rural Ellsworth County, Kansas, to Robert Alvin and Lola Angy (Rickard) Leslie. Tragically, her father and eldest sister, Thelma Louise, died in a home accident when she was just two years old, leaving Lola a single mother in a challenging era. Early lessons in steadfastness, resourcefulness, and courage from Lola imprinted in the fiber of Susan’s character. When Lola remarried Glen Huff, Susie became big sister to brother Norman Ross and sister Judith Kathaleen Huff.  Susan was set up on a blind date with R.A. Ben George, an active-duty Airman posted in Wichita. They married just three months later, September 5th, 1953, when she was 19 years old. The rest is a beautiful story of time and place.

Susan and R.A. got Air Force orders to Nevada where they lived during Manhattan Project testing, and then on to California in 1956 where their lives were changed in major ways. Susan had two children with R.A. – Douglas Ray and Terry Lyne – bringing her great joy.  It was also in California that she found her faith and was baptized into the Seventh-Day Adventist church, which would have an impact on the rest of her life. With her mother’s problem solving skills and example of courage in the face of uncertainty, Susan and R.A. carried their family onward to Brazil as medical missionaries in 1967. She learned to speak Portuguese fluently and taught her children how to navigate the streets of Salvador and to subsistence farm the jungles of the interior near Itaquera, Brazil, where they lived for 7 years.  Susan was a proficient missionary partner to R.A. And together they supported the church’s spiritual and medical mission in South America to take the gospel “unto all nations.” Susan and R.A. lived in faith and commitment to the Great Commission for the remainder of their days.

After mission service in Brazil, they moved back stateside in 1974, to Collegedale, Tennessee, where R.A. started an airplane mechanics business.  Four years later, the family moved to Andrew’s University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, where R.A began a position teaching airframe and powerplant.  Susan served in many positions at Andrews as manager of the Flower Loft, administrative assistant in the nursing and human resources departments, until formal retirement in 1999. During their time in Michigan, Susan welcomed Randy Rutkowske to the family as son-in-law and relished in being “Grandmama” to Amy and Jason Rutkowske. After retirement, they relocated to Colorado, closer to their son Doug, and remained active with the Pagosa Springs church and community, even volunteering with county Search and Rescue. September 11, 2001, with the attack on the Twin Towers, brought Susan and R.A. back into active service for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) conducting cleanup and support operations at the World Trade Center site in New York City for more than six months following the attack. Susan and R.A., together, lived a life of faith-guided selfless service.

Sadly, while living in Colorado, Susan’s son Doug passed away in a terrible motor vehicle accident in the mountains. In 2015 Susan and R.A. relocated to Virginia, to be closer to their daughter, Terry, and her family, in North Carolina. They remained active in the Smith Mountain Lake church until R.A. passed away from lymphoma in 2019. Susan then moved in with Terry and Randy in Apex, NC where she lived until experiencing increasingly severe cognitive symptoms. The disease in her brain progressed slowly over five years. She was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her worsening symptoms resulted in her admission to Our Promise House, a private medical home for women with memory care needs.

Susan was preceded in death by: her parents, Robert Leslie, Lola Leslie Huff, and Glen Huff; her sister Louise; her brother Norman Huff; her son Doug George; her husband R.A.; and her infant great-grandson Henry Scott Coon.

She is survived by: her sister Judy Huff Martinsky; her daughter and son-in-law, Terry & Randy Rutkowske; her grandchildren, with their spouses, Amy & David Coon; Jason & Stephanie Rutkowske.

Susan’s cremains will be placed with Doug and R.A.’s ashes outside Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where they will rest together until that great day at the Resurrection in Christ.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation, in Susan’s memory, to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Memorial Service: October 21, 2023 5:00 pm

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  1. Our Thoughts and Prayers are with the Rutkowske family at this time.
    Sending Love to you all ~
    Pam Jones and Dieter Crago

  2. Terry and Randy,

    I tried to telephone your mom to wish her happy 89th birthday, but had no success. A search just now on the internet brought me the sad news of her passing. I’m so sorry for your (our) loss. Susan and RA were both wonderful friends and we spent many happy hours together — especially at PUC and Andrews. Please know our hearts hurt with you as you mourn her loss. But we will see her again in the earth made new where we’ll never have to say goodbye again. Sending you our love. Laun and Barbara Reinholtz

  3. 🌸 I have so enjoyed getting to know Susan the last few years.. and I often sat beside her in church with the rest of the family..I remember one Sabbath when I was feeling tearful she reached over and held my hand and said, “It will be ok.” Which was such a lovely gesture on her part.
    I will remember her sweet voice, her 💕 of pink! And most of all her love for her family and her dog.
    Such a beautiful and kind lady. 💕🌸

  4. I have many precious memories of hours spent playing with Doug and Terry, as Aunt Sue and my Mom talked and giggled in the kitchen. Aunt Sue had the most infectious giggle ever. She was always, in my experience, smiling and happy. She was good for a warm hug as she called me “Pum’kin”. When a little girl had a skinned knee, she could be sure of getting cuddles and comfort from Aunt Sue.

    One sunny day we were all swimming in a lake near the George’s home, when the ball I was using as a float drifted away and I was going under for the second or third time. As the bubbles swirled around and my arms grew weaker, Aunt Sue noticed and pulled me to safety. She saved my life that day.

    When dad and Uncle RA were away on trips – which it seemed like they were a lot of the time – Mom and Aunt Sue kept our families going. We’d spend wonderful times together then, with Mom and Aunt Sue telling us, “When the cats are away, the mice will play!” There would be yummy food, lots of stories and fun, and always, always, the giggles.

    One day I raced into the kitchen, breathless and wide-eyed. I had taken a break from playing to use the toilet in our guest room. There I had made an awesome discovery, which I had to share with … someone! As I skidded to a stop in front of Mom and Aunt Sue, I blurted out “There’s ice cream in the BATHTUB!!!” This was, really, a child’s best dream come true! The ladies burst into waves of laughter. There wasn’t enough homemade ice cream for the entire family, so they had smuggled it into the bathroom, planning to sneak in once we kids weren’t looking, and enjoy a snack. That day when the ladies carried out their plan, an ecstatic little girl got to join them.

    Years later I ran into Aunt Sue again while I was working on my Master’s degree at Andrews University. We were both older, but nothing had changed – she was still my Aunt Sue. She offered me a job working with her in the Personnel Department at the University, which I appreciated and enjoyed. When I got married, late in life, Aunt Sue spent many hours crocheting the loveliest afghan.

    As the years raced by, many things changed, but the bond didn’t change: Susan George will always be my Aunt Sue. Unfortunately, distance kept me from seeing her as often as I’d like, but I knew every time the welcome would be warm and the love apparent.

    I will miss my Aunt Sue. And I will miss the giggles.

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