Susan DeWitt

Susan (Sue) DeWitt, age 53, passed away at her home near Bridger, on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. Sue was born March 29, 1960 in North Brunswick, N. J. to Mary Jane and Sterling Dewitt. She grew up in a loving Italian family where cooking and sharing good stories were part of life.

Sue attended Judd Elementary School, Linwood Middle School and graduated from North Brunswick High School. Following high school, Sue worked in New Jersey and Florida as an Administrative Professional for several Fortune 500 companies. Sue moved to Montana in 2003. From early childhood, Sue had a love of animals and had spent her whole life rescuing stray cats and dogs. In recent months, Sue was training online to become a Veterinary Assistant.

After arriving in Montana, Sue worked for Valley Foods in Bridger for a short time but left there in 2006 to become Assistant to the Foundation Director at Beartooth Billings Clinic. A quick learner, Sue mastered a variety of skills and was soon highly adept at her job. With her help, the Foundation Director and a team of volunteers conducted a multi-million dollar campaign to build a new hospital and clinic for Red Lodge and Carbon County.

Also in 2006, Sue rescued an Aussie-mix dog from a dumpster and named him Tuttle. He became a certified therapy dog, visiting both the old Beartooth Hospital and Billings Clinic on numerous occasions. Tuttle and Sunny (and their handlers Sue DeWitt and Carla Prinkki) were written up in the Nov. 24, 2007 issue of the Billings Gazette, in an article entitled, “Dogs Spread Their Happiness.” Another of Sue’s dogs, her N e w f o u n d l a n d E l l i e , received the Beartooth Humane Alliance’s Purple Paw Award for Outstanding Service in 2010.

Sue was highly active in a number of local nonprofits around Red Lodge, including Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, where she took periodic call assisting those in crisis. On a regular basis, she also volunteered with Beartooth Humane Alliance, lending a hand at Nip-and-Tuck clinics and other events. Without question, her great loves were her dogs, notably Tuttle, Henry, Maud, Ellie, Zig-Zag, Monty, and several more. She enjoyed regaling the Foundation office staff with stories of the dogs’ personalities, their latest stunts, and accomplishments. She was as proud as a parent whenever one of her “children” received certification in agility or therapy training.

Sue’s family, friends, and co-workers loved her for her ready smile and laugh, her no-nonsense lifestyle, her boundless determination, the speed and accuracy in her work, her zest for tackling new challenges, and most of all, her heart. Her heart was big and bold, and she expressed that in her loyalty to the people, animals, and causes she held dear.

On the eve of her departure from this life and her entry into the heavenly world we cannot see, Sue was preparing to move to a new home in Florida. She was all smiles, full of excitement and anticipation. Clearly, in her heart and mind, she was already on her journey. Those who knew her heart’s desires can see her now, walking with her “prince dog” Adam in the green pastures they both deserve so well.

She is survived by her mother, Mary Jane DeWitt; sister Pamela and Brother Robert (Karen) DeWitt, nephews Timothy Kaplan and Brandon Kirk, niece Razen, grandniece Sophia; and many cousins. Taken from friends and family far too soon, Sue will never be forgotten and will continue to inspire us all with her strong sense of principles and her energy. Cremation has taken place and interment of ashes will be at the family home in North Brunswick, N. J.

A memorial service for Sue will be held Saturday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Yellowstone Dog Sports Arena, 7753 Hwy. 212 between mile markers 77 and 78; 8 miles north of Red Lodge, and 37 miles south of Laurel. Attendees are encouraged to bring a potluck dish and a chair. All are welcome to attend and wish our friend Sue a fond farewell. Those wishing to honor Sue with a memorial may d o s o t h r o u g h t h e Beartooth Humane Alliance, PO Box 2333, Red Lodge, MT, 59068