Suzanne Riedlinger

Suzanne RiedlingerSuzanne Marisa Unruh was born on April 5, 1978, to Odes and Jeraldine Unruh in Bonners Ferry. A mere two pounds,15 ounces, she was transported quickly from Bonners Ferry to Spokane by military helicopter. After seven weeks in the hospital, the nurse deemed that Suzanne’s mama would be able to handle her preemie at home.

Suzanne’s childhood included school days at Mt. View Christian School, playing with siblings and cousins, developing skills that would follow her through life. When Suzanne was 13 years old, she gave her heart to the Lord and was baptized into the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, by Minister Eddie Justus.

After several years working at Les Schwab in Bonners Ferry, she married Shane Riedlinger and moved to Troy, Montana. A daughter, Casey, joined the family, the beginning of a special mother-daughter relationship. They were a unit, taking trips together, learning new skills together—creative cooking, refurbishing furniture, and even deer hunting. Casey was home-schooled by her mother in lower grades.

Later they moved to Big Fork, Montana, where Casey attended school. Suzanne worked for the Sliter family in their building supply business. She appreciated them so much.

Suzanne’s cancer journey began five and a half years ago. The last six months were full of pain and weakness. But she continued working as much as possible. She often asked her family for prayers as she searched for God, trying earnestly to keep her promise to return to Him. Her desire was to be reunited with the Church of her youth. The Bible was precious to her. When she had a chance to listen to the old-time gospel over the phone, preached with fresh inspiration, she was thrilled. Yes, this felt right at last…this preaching, this following along in the Bible she held on her lap like she had when she was a child.

Her pain was now unbearable at night. Kneeling in prayer she found the relief that meds could no longer supply. But she was far from well. Going to Kalispell Logan Health Hospital was finally her only option. She packed her Bible and a devotional book in her bag. There was no more fight left in her. Three days later Suzanne asked her dad to pray that she would have a good day. That prayer was answered. She was happy and comfortable. She was at peace. As the nurse left her room that evening, she asked, “Is there anything you need?”

No, she was comfortable, but “I’d like a new body,” she said. Before leaving, the nurse looked back to check her patient, and Suzanne was slipping away.

Her survivors include her parents: Odes and Jeraldine Unruh, Bonners Ferry, husband Shane Riedlinger, Billings, Montana, daughter Casey Riedlinger, Big Fork, Montana, sisters Stephanie and Allen Dyck, Annette and Stan Horst and Sonya and Greg Froese, brother Leon and Lynnia Unruh, many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, special friends nurse Lois and other Health Care professionals involved in Suzanne’s cancer journey, the Sliter family and all the wonderful Montana friends who touched her life.

Funeral Services were held on December 12 at Woodland Mennonite Church, Bonners Ferry. Ministers Roger Unruh, David Isaac, and Art Froese officiated. Burial was in the adjoining cemetery.