Susan Catherine Wood-Wallace
May 3, 1946 – February 25, 2021
Susan “Sue” “Suzie” Wood Wallace died on February 25th after a valiant battle with cancer. She was born in Los Angeles and raised in Bakersfield, CA. She graduated from Bakersfield High School. She worked at Tenneco, Tosco and Cal State Bakersfield, where she made many longstanding friendships.
Sue was a person who gave her time and energy freely to numerous nonprofits. During her time at Cal State, she was very involved in the Bakersfield Jazz Festival, volunteering and loving every minute of it. As a dear friend said, “Sue has been associated with the Jazz Festival for over 25 years, really the heart and backbone of that celebration.” Sue often combined her love for music with her love for travel. She attended jazz and blues festivals along the west coast and took a solo jazz cruise to the Caribbean. She especially loved visiting Oregon; During her last trip, she ventured into the vast landscapes of the high desert region of the state.
Sue was a founding member and was instrumental in the success of the 25 year old Village Fest (formerly known as Brews on the Roof and Brews in the Village), an annual event in Bakersfield that raises money for children’s charities in Kern County. Sue also volunteered at the Mac ‘n Cheese Festival and the B-Town Blues Festival. She was also a member of the Kern County Boat and Ski Club.
Sue was an avid golfer and enjoyed her Wednesday golf games with the ladies at the Kern River Golf Course. She was known to only go to the Central Coast for a day to play a round of golf with her coastal friends.
Another passion of Suzie was camping. She camped in many different locations and hiked Burning Man for a year. However, she had a special love and affinity for the Saline Valley Hot Springs, a desert oasis for hearty souls and free thinkers who enjoy the challenging pastime of rugged desert camping. She recently expressed that one of her favorite parts of Saline was decorating the warehouse; She remembered a Halloween when the entire camp was decked out with pink tie-dye leaves, pink chairs, pink mugs, etc., and flamingos were scattered all over the place. Suzie, of course, dressed up as a pink flamingo for Halloween.
Sue was an eternal seeker of knowledge. After retiring, she enrolled in various classes and worked to hone her skills in woodworking, upholstery, wine tasting, and painting, to name a few. She really was a lifelong learner.
In her final months on this earth, Sue expressed that she had led a wonderful life and was fortunate to have lived through everything she had done and to have such amazing friends and family in her life. Sue expressed that she was ready to go home and she faced her final endeavor with courage and grace.
Sue was many things to many people. Here are some recent descriptions of the woman she was and always will be in our hearts: “Very supportive and always ready to help.”
“Beautiful, kind and giving heart. She is the best!”
“Adventurous and always on the move.”
“Strong-willed, brutally honest, fiery spirit.”
“Persistent and determined!”
“A best friend for over 50 years.”
“A good guy.”
Sue is survived by her daughter Vanessa Wood; Son Jake Wallace and his wife Allie; Grandsons Kayleigh, Tanner, Aidan, Ella, Presley, and Brooklyn; Sister Michele Curtis-Lavin and her husband Norman; Sister Maxine Short and her husband Michael; Brother Charles (Chuck) Curtis and his wife Kenna; Nephews Arye Lavin, Jonah Lavin, and Stuart Short; Nieces Jillian Short, Abigail Curtis, Yvonne Curtis, and Sarah Curtis; Cousins Marcia Frazier and her husband Jerry and Sally Johnston and her husband Wayne. Sue was preceded in the death by her father, Kenneth Curtis, her mother, Catherine, and many valued friends.
The family especially thanks the Hoffman Hospice and everyone who has offered their thoughts and prayers.
Instead of church services, Sue asked family and friends to gather in her honor and have a drink.
Posted in Bakersfield Californian on March 4, 2021.