Virginia Louise ‘Sue’ Lanz

Virginia Louise ‘Sue’ Lanz

April 13, 1939 – January 23, 2024

Virginia Louise ‘Sue’ Lanz died Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, in a Vancouver hospital. She was 84. She was born April 13, 1939, in Seattle, to John Cyril Burns and Virginia Louise Herman, Virginia, who much preferred to be called by her childhood nickname of ‘Sue’ by family and friends, spent her earliest years in the Seattle area.

The family then moved to Portland, where she started attending elementary school at Skyline Elementary before moving across town to Northeast Portland, where she attended Parkrose High School, graduating in 1957. It was there that she met her eventual husband, Jerry A., marrying him in 1963.

From a very early age, Sue was infatuated with horses and everything that had to do with them. When she was about 12 years old, Sue had her first real opportunity to work with, ride and develop her horsemanship skills with her own horse, Sheba.

She earned money to help feed and board it at a local neighbor’s barn and pasture. And most every spare minute Sue had during those years, she was riding with friends and helping care for the horses.

Sue received her nickname as a result of her hairstyle of the day, as her hair was long and naturally curly and a family member started calling her, ‘Curly Sue,’ and the name stuck for more than 70 years.

When Sue was in her late teens and early 20s, she worked for a time at the Gresham Outlook newspaper and was a fashion model for Jantzen Inc. in Portland.

Sue was also known locally in the Camas, WA, area, where she lived for more than 50 years, as ‘Mother Bear’ and ‘Mrs. Lanz,’ Sue devoted herself to a number of community and civic causes.

She and Jerry moved the family from Portland to Camas in May 1971, where they had more room for horses, cows, dogs and cats, along with other animals. They co-owned and started Lanz Boiler Repair Inc. in 1980 and successfully operated it for nearly 30 years before retiring.

She was the leader for several years of the local 4-H club known as Saddles and Spurs and also spent time as a Cub Scout den mother and elementary school room mother.

She also helped with charitable donations to several area groups and organizations, including the St. Paul Rodeo Association, Camas-Washougal Babe Ruth, Camas School District, Camas Fire Department, Calrk County Fair, Twin City Saddle Club, Humane Society for Southwest Washington, Meals on Wheels, Clark College Athletics, Vancouver Police Department, and the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division.

Additionally, Sue and Jerry were recognized by the Camas Washougal Chamber of Commerce with the Inaugural Businesspersons of the Year award in 1992.

Sue belonged to the Clark County Quilters, Vancouver Rose Society and the American Rose Society. She also handmade and donated dozens of baby quilts over many years to new parents at local area hospitals and took great pride in the many roses that she tended at her own home.

One of the highlights in her life was being able to travel to and attend the Kentucky Derby for her 50th birthday in 1989. She also was quite fond of the classic movies of the 1940s and 1950s. One movie of particular note was the 1955 sentimental drama, “Good Morning, Miss Dove,” starring Jennifer Jones and Robert Stack.

She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 59 years, Jerry, in June 2022; and a daughter, Melinda Ann Witt, in July 2022. Her stepfather, Spencer B. Farley, died in 1989. A sister, Teresa May, died in 1938. A brother, John Michael, died in 1940.

Survivors include sons, Brian (Shelly) Lanz and Blaine (Sandi) Lanz, both of Vancouver; a daughter, Rana Newman of Camas; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Arrangements were made by Straub’s Funeral Home in Camas. A memorial service for Sue will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at Straub’s Funeral Home in Camas. A reception will be held at a later date.