Friday, May 29, 2015


Chris and Shelly, Scott and Beth, and Shirley and I put together a slide show for Sue's visitation on Tuesday evening, May 26, 2015.

Here is a link that will allow anyone who wishes to to view it:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mark Goldman's Eulogy for Sue

We are all grateful for the wonderful eulogy Mark Goldman delivered at the service for Sue yesterday.  The entire service was moving and profound, so fitting for the person we were all honoring and bidding farewell to.  I will post the program of the service here soon.  Meanwhile, here is Mark's eulogy:

 The dictionary defines the word unforgettable as remarkable in a way that cannot be forgotten.   Martha Sue Felin Spreitler Boaz was truly unforgettable.  She never understood how unforgettable she was.  She was always so surprised that people at the hospital, BJEC, the casinos or any of the restaurants we frequented always remembered her.
I first met mom when she broke up a fight Scott and I were having on the way home from school when we were in kindergarten.     I obviously did not know then what kind of impact she would have on my life for the next 43 years. 
I am not sure when Scott and Ding’s friends started calling her mom, but it just became a natural thing for us.  That is who she was.  This was always confusing for her neighbors at the lake because they never knew who her real children were.   One of the neighbors even asked “just how many kids does that lady have?”  My own mother, who knew her as Sue for a long time, refers to her as mom. 
I could spend all day talking about how unfair it was for her to have had to live the last twelve years of her life in the manner that she did.  But, you know, I would rather talk today about the incredible strength she showed throughout her life.
Her strength began building early when as the 7th of 8 children; she lost her father while she was just a toddler.  She mentioned many times how she marveled at her mother’s strength in raising a big family by herself.  When Mom was 15 she moved in with Uncle Pete in Idaho for a year because 15 year olds could get a driver’s license in Idaho at the time.  After high school she would again show her independence and burgeoning strength by moving across the country to Spokane, where her oldest brother Bernie lived, to begin a long career with GMAC.  A couple of years later she got the opportunity to transfer back to St. Louis with GMAC where she was interviewed by Brick Speitler.
Mom and Brick would soon fall in love and start their family in South St Louis.  In the early 70s they moved to Maryland Heights to the Glenlea house as mom always referred to it.  My mother called on her for Welcome Wagon.
A few years later Mom showed herculean strength when she lost Brick and became a widow with two small children at the age of 31.  Can you imagine that?
Not only did she have to fulfill the role of mother and father while working full time, she also had to become a full time labor mediator between Scott and Ding.  She had to solve such disputes as what constituted mowing half the lawn or whose turn it was to con me into doing some of their chores.  That role alone took unbelievable strength.
In the early 80s she purchased the Lake house.  She always claimed that it was blind luck that she choose such a perfect house in even a more perfect location but I think that was another example of her selling herself short.  When we were all teenagers or in our early twenties we were rarely invited to the Lake but we certainly enjoyed her visits there.  Although one time she said she was going to the Lake and instead she went to dinner and came back to the Glenlea house that was packed with Ding’s friends.  Luckily Scott and I were away at college then so we were spared her wrath.
Eventually she started inviting us down for one week each summer in the early 90s.  She called it Kids week and she completely and totally pampered us for a week.  She cooked all the meals, packed our coolers with food and drinks so we could spend all day on the boat and she even washed and folded any clothes we left lying around. 
After some big work sessions our invitation became an open one and she still pampered us every time we came to the lake. 
She was always happiest at the Lake   She loved watching her Cardinals and singing along with the classic country channel, she knew all the words to every song.  She loved to have a full house    especially when there were little ones there.  “The more the merrier” she would always say.  She loved to sit out on the deck and laugh at our stories or to shock us with some of the funny stories she would tell.   She would always catch us off guard with her quick wit.  She really wanted to know what was going on with all of us.   One of the truest things I ever heard about the Lake house came from Dug and Suz’s son Lukas when he was 4 or 5 years old.  Suz pointed to the Lake as they drove over the dam and Luke said that is not the lake, Granny’s house is the Lake.
It was not until after she got sick and it took several of us to keep the house going during a big weekend that we realized all things she did for us.
As much strength as she showed in her earlier life, it pales in comparison to the strength she showed dealing with mysterious illness she struggled through the last dozen years.  Quite simply, she just kept going.  Through all of the tests, the spinal taps, the experimental meds and treatments she just kept burrowing through to try to get better.   There were steps forward and big steps back but she kept battling.    She did not like being dependant on us but she knew she had to be.  She learned to adapt to her situation, she grudgingly accepted our help and she tried to live as normally as she could
In the coming days weeks months and years we will tell stories about mom aka Granny, Aunt Sue, Sis, Sue and laugh about the great times and to a much lesser extent lament the not so great.  I started off by talking about how unforgettable of a person mom was.  She had a profound effect on everyone she came into contact with and while she never really could comprehend that we all know how her wit, wisdom compassion and most of strength affected us all.

Joe, Rose, Pete (John)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Martha Sue (Spreitler) Boaz Obituary

Here is the obituary published in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Martha Sue Boaz

Obituary  Condolences

Martha Sue Boaz Obituary
Boaz, Martha Sue nee Felin, 71, of University City and Lake Ozark, MO passed away on May 21, 2015. Martha Sue was born the 7th of 8 children to James and Marie Felin in Marshfield, MO on April 23, 1944. Martha Sue (Sis, Mom, Granny, Aunt Sue, Pepé La Pew) is survived by grandchildren Kate, Drew, Jalen, and Brayden; siblings Joe Felin, John Felin, Rose Holt, and Donald Felin, children Scott (Beth) Spreitler and Chris (Shelly) Spreitler, Shirley Fontenot and other friends and family. Martha Sue is preceded in death by husband Loyola Spreitler, husband Dennis Boaz, and siblings Bernie Fellin, Robert Felin, and Margaret Abbott. Services: The funeral service will be held at 10 AM Wednesday May 27, 2015. Sandy Cooper and Leah Friedman will be officiating. Visitation will be held at 4PM until 8PM Tuesday May 26, 2015. Both the services and visitation will be held at Ortmann Stipanovich Funeral Home. She loved nothing more than being at the Lake of the Ozarks. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ALS Association.
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 24, 2015
- See more at:

Friday, May 22, 2015


Chris and Shelly have made these arrangements for Sue:

Ortmann Stipanovich Funeral Home
12444 Olive Blvd.
Creve Coeur, MO  63141

Visitation for Family:  3:00 - 4:00 pm, Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Visitation for All:  4:00 - 8:00 pm

Service:  Wednesday 10:00 am, Wednesday, May 27, 2015  at Ortmann Stipanovich

Sue's Lake House

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It is Finished

Chris just called to say Sue died at 9:05 pm, May 21, 2015.  He and Scott were with her.

Who knew?

Seems Sue is heeding the words of the great poet:

     Do not go gentle into that good night,                               
     Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
     Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

As of this evening, May 21, 2015, at 8:00 pm, she is holding fast to the light.   Chris and Scott are at her bedside, and Chris will spend the night tonight.  Tomorrow she may have to be transferred back to BJEC for hospice care.  When I was arranging for that possibility this afternoon with the BJEC business office, even the woman there knew Sue and was saddened by the news.  [Sue has been in and out of BJEC a half dozen times now and knows all the staff.  In 2005 Denny, Sue's husband, was there several months before his death.]

Lots is happening in these sad days.  Kathleen, the daughter of Sue's long-time and very good friend, Jack Delaney, has agreed to sing at Sue's memorial service, accompanied on guitar by her husband.  The songs we've chosen are the Andrew Lloyd Weber "Pie Jesu" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."  Kathleen knows Sue well through both her father and mother.  Kathleen's words to me were, "It would be a privilege to do this for Sue."  Jack sang at both Sue and Denny's wedding and at Denny's funeral.  Kathleen inherited her singing voice from him.  

Two good family friends are planning a service, part religious, part secular, all Sue.  Family and friends will be invited to speak of their relationship with Sue, either in person or by sending us their message (   Mark Goldman, who delivered the eulogy for Denny, will do so for Sue.  (That was the only request I ever heard Sue make about her eventual leave-taking.)

This afternoon Marnett brought her eight-year-old son, Torré to say goodbye to Sue--at his request.  Torré is an old soul and bonded with Sue during the family trip with her to the lake in March.  He has also spent time at our house over the past few months.


Bad News, Good News

The bad news is, of course, Sue's impending death.  She is one tough cookie and is, once again, demonstrating just how tough.  Scott, Chris, and Mark Lary stayed with her last evening, and Scott stayed overnight.  Due to hospital and insurance constraints, Sue may have to be moved to an extended care facility as early as today.  We'll know more when we meet with the social worker at Barnes-Jewish today.  All the hospital staff have been wonderfully informative and caring.  The medical team is keeping Sue comfortable.

And the good news is that Stephanie got a good progress report in her battle with lymphoma yesterday.  She also had another chemo treatment with one more to go.  YAY!!!  We are deliriously happy for her.  Catrina, her sister and neighbor, was her companion and driver yesterday.  All of us are grateful to everyone pitching in to help Stephanie and Dan through this really rough patch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Bad news.  Sue's condition has worsened to the point that she may die as soon as today.  Scott arrived early today, and he and Chris are with her now.  I plan to go back later this afternoon.  It is a very sad moment.  As you, Dear Readers, know Sue has put up valiant effort for more than twelve years fighting off debilitating health issues while still enjoying life, especially life at the lake house when she could get there.

With help from everyone, especially Linda, Sabrina, and Marnett, we are keeping vigil at Sue's bedside.  Our friend, Sandy, did an anointing ritual for Sue on Tuesday, just after the physicians told us of her dire condition.  The ritual was most fitting and much appreciated as well as perhaps divinely scheduled.

Sue's sons are fine, fine men, and their wonderful wives have been troopers through all this.  More detail about all that later.  Now, two short stories to illustrate just how much their mother influenced these two.  Brayden has a great friend who only gets to play sports, something both boys love above everything else, because Scott and Beth make it possible.  Scott and Chris and I were reminiscing recently about a kid they grew up with who had tons of opportunities only because Sue and the two of them made it possible.  History repeats itself.

The second story is about Chris.  Parking at Barnes-Jewish Hospital downtown has always been a problem.  Sue has been an in-patient there between 50 and 60 times, so we've really got the hang of it.    And it is a complicated system when you first engage it.  We know when to buy a five-pass card (which years ago sold for $5, now goes for $20).  It's great to have one though when a single park is $15 for a long stay.  This week Chris and I both bought new ones.  When Scott arrived from Louisville this morning, I suggested to Chris that Scott could use his five-pass card when he exited the garage.  Chris, rather sheepishly, said, "Well, I only have one pass left." "Why, Chris, you only bought that card yesterday?"  His response:  "Well, we used one for Linda yesterday, and when I was leaving last night there was an old man trying to process his parking ticket with a credit card.  I saw that it was $15 so I said, 'Here, just use this pass card.'  Then I went on to process my ticket.  There was another old man at the machine on the other side of me having trouble.  I saw his charge was $18, so I said, 'Here, just use this pass card.'  That means I only have one left."

Scott and Chris learned generosity from their mother. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Sue's blood pressure was so low this morning that her BJEC nurse determined she needed to be taken to the emergency room at Barnes Jewish Hospital downtown.  Around 7:15 or so she was transported there by ambulance.  Immediately the ER physicians started her on IV fluids (after special effort to get her stuck), gave her medication to stop her AFIB heart reaction, and antibiotics for a urinary tract infection.  She had pretty much stopped eating and drinking for the last few days so was extremely dehydrated.  She hasn't been much aware now for a few weeks, sometimes seeming to recognize one of us but mostly not.  I talked with Chris just now who said she has been admitted to the hospital, and he thought was better than he had seen her in a few days though he was still not sure she knew who he was.

I did remind her that it is Brother Joe's birthday, and that we had indeed remembered belatedly to send his card, a card which (in better days) she would have had in the mail right on time.  I'm not sure she understood.   Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BROTHER JOE!

ER physicians told me this morning they were trying to determine the underlying cause for these last weeks during which she has been totally disoriented.  That long seizure almost five weeks ago or possibly a stroke?

WTF.  Why does one person have to suffer so much!

Saturday, May 09, 2015


Sue is not doing well.  She is still disoriented, cannot communicate beyond "Yes" and "No," often doesn't recognize Chris, Shelly, Shirley, or me.  Her Springfield neighbor, Leslie, visited recently, and Sue did not know her.  All the tests the house physician ordered have come back negative.  There is no apparent underlying cause for her condition.  Sometime this past week, the BJEC therapists stopped working with her because it is just too difficult.  She sleeps a lot and mostly refuses to eat.  Chris and I are seeking a long-term skilled nursing facility for her.  BJEC is a great place for rehab.  For long-term care?  Not so great.

Based on Sue's history (second only to Bill Clinton for come-backs), we are not abandoning hope.  However, the bad seizure she had was on April 15, so her situation is dire.