In loving memory of Susan Wickersham: 1945-2023 


We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Susan Anne Wickersham, a beloved resident of Ridgefield, Washington for many years. She passed away at the age of 77 due to ongoing medical issues related to cancer surrounded by her loving family. 

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Ed Wickersham; their sons Tim (Megan) Wickersham and Jeff Wickersham; three grandchildren Jordan, Maia and Jenna; sisters Wanda (Rudy) Ellis and Leslie (Adam) Erhardt; and her “adopted” granddaughters, Reyna and Celerina Victoriano-Candia. 

Susan was born in November 1945 in Sanford, Florida to Ralph and Nelda Went. She spent most of her childhood in Miami, Florida, and contracted polio at the age of 8, which resulted in partial use of her legs and requiring crutches to walk for most of her life. However, she never let this slow her down. 

After graduating from high school in Miami, Florida, she attended Stetson University. After leaving the university and returning home to Miami she met Ed, who was serving in the U.S. Air Force. They married in 1967 and moved to Battle Ground, Washington. Susan worked in Portland as an insurance underwriter for Fullerton Insurance. They later moved to Bellingham, Washington, where she continued working in insurance at Clyde Rice Insurance, while Ed finished college and went on to work for the game department. 

Subsequently, Susan and Ed moved to Kodiak, Alaska, where she worked for the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge as the administrative assistant, and he worked for NOAA Fisheries. These were some of her most cherished and talked about memories. In addition to her regular administrative tasks, Susan was responsible for ordering and shipping necessary supplies to all parts of Kodiak Island, the Alaskan peninsula, and even as far as Attu Island, to support the field teams during the summer field season. Susan’s job was challenging, but she took it in stride, finding and getting what was needed to where it was needed. 

In addition to her many other responsibilities, she was also the designated rear-seat data recorder for the spring and fall refuge brown bear surveys in the refuge Super Cub. Susan recorded the brown bear numbers as they flew up and down the glacial high-walled valleys of Kodiak Island for the annual census. Her pilot, Vern Burns, assured her that she need not worry about the stall warning horn blaring as they zigged and zagged through the mountainous terrain. 

Susan had a deep love of animals and nature, which cannot be overstated. She and her family rescued orphaned and injured wild animals such as deer, elk, otters, ducks, geese, owls, hawks and eagles, and released them back into the wild. It always brought her great joy when she learned that deer returned to their release point year after year with their newborn fawns or when birds of prey returned months or years after their release. Her kindness and compassion for all living things positively impacted all who had the good fortune to know her. Her precious gift inspired those who knew her to care for the earth and all its creatures. 

After Tim and Jeff became independent, Susan went back to work in the Vancouver School District at one of the at-risk elementary schools as a mentor and tutor. She provided help to both gifted and learning-disabled children and greatly enjoyed seeing them become successful and confident. 

Susan lived a purposeful and fulfilling life, despite the physical limitations she endured as a polio survivor from the 1950s. As we bid farewell to Susan, we take comfort in her love, knowing that her essence will always be with us, guiding and inspiring us to live our lives with the same love and devotion that she showed us. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Humane Society for Southwest Washington at www.!/ donation/checkout or to the Friends of The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge at donate. 

A private memorial will be held at a later date.