Claudette ( Sudsy) Stanger
Sudsy passed away Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Caring Hearts Assisted Living, in Pocatello Idaho, due to an extended illness. She was 81.
She was born June 29, 1938, in Burly, Idaho, to Ralph Obray (Smitty) and Mae Williams Smith. She had one sister, Sharon. Her family moved to Pocatello where she attended local schools. As a teenager, she worked as a carhop at the Polar Bear Drive In.
Her father named her Sudsy at birth, but later changed her name legally to Claudette, thinking that was a more dignified name. However, it was too late, everyone continued to call her Sudsy and she said Claudette did not fit her. She preferred Sudsy and she did not like to be called Mrs. Stanger, stating, “Mrs. Stanger is my mother-in-law.”
She married James F. Stanger May 1, 1955 in Pocatello, Idaho after a failed attempt to elope in Elko, Nevada….they were both underage! They lived in Logan, UT and Sudsy worked at Safeway. Shortly after, they moved to Salt Lake City and she worked at Photo Graph. Their daughter Debbie was born in Salt Lake City and shortly after, they moved back to Logan only to move once again to Pocatello in 1958, where their son, Jay, was born in 1961.
Sudsy was always busy. She and Jim loved to go camping, as long as there were no snakes, they enjoyed snowmobiling, and boating. She loved to work in her yard and had a small garden. In addition, Jim and Sudsy loved to dance. They dance as a couple, when they dance everyone on the dance floor would quit dancing and watch them. If you have seen them dance you would understand. They did their best to teach Jay and Debbie their moves but they never quite got it! When her kids were a bit older, she once again went to work secularly and managed “Gifts of Joy” in the Pocatello Mall for many years. Later she owned and operated the “Kangaroo Pouch” until 1984. Her eyesight began to deteriorate around this time, but you would never know it. She was an accomplished seamstress and began her own business naming it Duds By Suds. Then she became a travel agent for Morris Travel, which suited her to a tee because she loved to travel. She would organize tours groups and traveled to Europe many times, Italy, Panama, Scotland, Alaska, as well as destinations thru out the North America, such as New York City, San Jaun Islands, Branson, Missouri, Nashville and Memphis Tennessee. In her travels, family members and friends accompanied her. Her favorite travel buddy was Jim, and he would go occasionally but didn’t really like to fly. That did not slow her down at all and so her favorite travel friends were Elaine Hirschi, Corlie Kendle, Mary Morris, and her daughter-in-law Vickie Stanger. Jim said he rather enjoyed the quiet time while she was travelling! Her granddaughters, Tara and Tiffany enjoyed a trip to Europe with her and Branson Missouri. As well as going to many craft-fairs with her over the years to sell her own creations that she worked on.
Sudsy sewed until she could no longer see well enough to do so. Her eye specialist made the comment just a couple of years ago that the only reason that she had any vision left at all was her sheer will. She was one determined woman. As her health declined, she could no longer do many of the things she loved, and that just ticked her off. It didn’t affect her quick wit and the desire to always have the last word!
As busy as she was the priorities in her life were her faith and her family. Sudsy was an active member of Jehovah’s Witnesses since her baptism in 1961 until her death. She loved spending time in the ministry and that came before any of her secular work. One year she was in Europe during the Memorial and she arranged to be at the celebration in London. Jay and Debbie remember she would take them to every assembly and convention. Some in Canada, Oakland, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. She never missed any of them. It was an exciting time for her and the kids when Jim also joined them as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She had a way with people and talking to them in the ministry was something she loved and missed when she could no longer physically participate in the public ministry. During the 2 months that she was at Caring Hearts, Sudsy had Jim get a Bible for a caregiver that showed interest in the Bible’s message and during Megan’s break in the evenings, Sudsy would answer her questions. Megan had to do all of the reading, As Sudsy was completely blind at this time. But she would direct her to the appropriate scriptures. She did this until she was no longer able to do so. Her faith was solid.
Sudsy was an amazing grandmother but she never liked being called grandma….she said she was too young for that but she really liked the sound of Nana. So Sudsy and Jim became known as Nana and Papa. Sudsy had a unique way of making each of her 6 grandchildren feel like they were her favorite and to this day they will insist that they really know who her favorite is. She introduced all of them to coffee with cream at a very young age even when their parents objected. She would say what happens at Nana’s stays at Nana’s!
Sudsy is survived by her husband Jim, daughter Debbie Hewlett and her husband Martin, son Jay, grandchildren: Tara Wells, Tiffany Hornor, Tyler Hewlett, James Stanger, Amanda Walker, and Kaitlynn Stanger; Great-grandchildren: Avelyn and Lander Wells, Nadia, Isabella, Vivienne and Evelyn Hornor, Calvin Walker, and Leah Stanger.
Sudsy was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Sharon Bermudez, and her daughter-in-law Vickie Stanger.
The Stanger family would like to give their sincere thanks to Caring Hearts for all of their help, love, and support during the last 2 months of Sudsy’ s life. The director, Angie, and the staff went, above and beyond. We also appreciate their patience and kindness shown towards the family during this difficult time. Thank you as well to Encompass Hospice for helping during the short time that we worked with them.
A memorial service will be held for family and friends Saturday, March 14, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1875 Cottage Ave. Pocatello, ID.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.cornelisonfh.com
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