Carolyn Sue Coulter, age 86, passed peacefully in her home with family at her side on March 31, 2021.
Born in Watervliet, Michigan to Adel and Orva Durbin, Sue was the third of seven children.
She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law: Steve and Carole, Bill and Connie, and Eric and Dorsey; her grandchildren: Chelsey, Matthew, Katie, and Quinlan; and her “adopted” grandchildren: Jason, Jaden, Lyla, and Jaxen; her sisters: Donna Laskovy and Joyce Chilla; her brothers: Bob, and Bud; and many nieces and nephews.
Sue was preceded in death by her husband Bill, and her brothers Dick and Larry.
Sue graduated from Decatur High School in 1952. While residing in Kalamazoo, Michigan, she met the love of her life, Bill Coulter, and they were married March 2, 1957. Sue and Bill moved to Marlette, Michigan in 1961, where a family business was started. Sue stayed busy as a mother, keeping her sons out of mischief, taking care of the home, and supporting Bill as the business thrived and grew.
It would be stretch to say that Sue was a strict disciplinarian, but she could indeed get fired up. She had some strong hands, and if you were acting up during church services, she could put a “camel clutch” on your quad that would bring tears to your eyes.
When the third of three sons started elementary school, Sue and Bill bought a local men’s clothing store, and Coulter’s Country Gentleman was born. This became Sue’s new endeavor, and she was good at it, bringing some style to the men in town. Working the store, feeding and managing four men, and attending the various sporting events her sons participated in made for full days.
The sudden and unexpected death of her husband Bill in 1980 changed everything for the family, but Sue showed her true spirit and tenaciously held the family together. She had a tint of red in her hair, a fire in her soul, and in the end, she protected the assets the business produced and supported her three sons, helping them all finish their college degrees.
Following the sale of the family business and closing the clothing store, Sue obtained her real estate license and began selling real estate in Marlette. During these years, she discovered an incredible artistic talent for painting landscape scenes. She apprenticed under a skilled artist and created beautiful pieces that will hang in the homes of her sons, her grandchildren and other family members for years to come.
Her love of her family in and around Decatur meant an annual trip each summer for a couple of weeks to visit brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. Her sisters, Donna and Joyce, were special ladies in her life, and what a trio they made when they were together. She loved her brothers, and her quick sense of humor must be credited, in part, to them.
Sue was a great cook, and true to her word, “my boys are not leaving home without knowing how to cook, clean, and do their own damn laundry”. Sue had a knack for creating delicious meals, always had great kitchen equipment, and could put on a feast. Many of her sons’ friends took any opportunity they had to eat in Sue’s kitchen on Lorraine St.
Upon leaving Marlette, Sue moved into a studio apartment attached to the home of Eric and Dorsey. There, in a multigenerational household, she was the firm and loving matriarch. It was a colorful living situation, and the activity kept her youthful and engaged.
Her final weeks and months of life were very much a mirror of how she lived – with a great sense of humor, with stoic strength and with grace. We will miss her.
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