Vail Daily obituary: Suzanne Elaine Dauphinais, 1951-2016
Suzanne Dauphinais was born to Gloria Oakley and Earl Belschner in Orange, Connecticut. The family moved to Edina, Minnesota when she was 12, she graduated Edina High School in 1970, and Mankato State College in 1974.
As a long time real estate broker in our valley, you may not know that Suzanne was an outstanding athlete through high school and college. Her athletic prowess started young. Playing kickball in elementary school, she was always captain – of the boys’ team. She starred on the Edina High School volleyball team, finished third in state in high school gymnastics and second in state in badminton. That second place finish was one of those lessons in the mental aspects of sports and life. Though Suzanne was winning the match, having been told her opponent couldn’t be beat, she let that in and in so doing surrendered the state title. It, as well as many others, was a life lesson she carried forward and allowed to strengthen her spirit and resolve ever after.
She graduated Mankato State College with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health, but earned it her own way – from the men’s P.E. department. The women’s department took a dim view and tried to delay her graduation. Suzanne was having none of it and appealed to Russ Gorman, chairman of the men’s PE department, who went to bat for her and saw to it that she graduated on time. She worked her way through college as a national official for gymnastics and volleyball, and as an EMT ambulance and tow truck driver.
Suzanne launched her teaching career in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 1974. Though she was a teacher at heart and always remained so, in 1976 she chose to marry a builder and begin a new career as a real estate broker as well as a new life in which her joy was found helping others find their way home, and of course in time with her God, husband, family, and friends.
She met Pat in college and after marrying, they moved to Vail in 1978 where together they built dozens of beautiful homes throughout the valley – though Pat handled most of the hammer swinging. Initially, Suzanne worked as a real estate broker for several firms in Eagle County. Before long, she saw that the best way for her was to start her own real estate company, which she ran for the rest of her days.
When Pat told her on their second date that he wanted to have two kids and adopt two, Suzanne knew that he was the one for her. That’s what she had always wanted to do, and that’s precisely what they did.
As it turned out, they parented six children: Mercedes, Patrick Jr., Kacey, Lakota, Mariah, and Abraham. Seven, if you count her husband Pat, which he thought perhaps she should. Having created a beautiful tight knit family, on August 21st, surrounded by friends, Patrick and Suzanne celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.
Committed to making a difference and helping wherever she could, for many years Suzanne was involved in the Eagle Valley Community Fund rummage sale and auction, Vail Mountain School auction and home tour, Mardi Gras Ball, Buddy Werner, C.A.S.A., and several other churches and organizations around the Vail Valley.
Suzanne was fond of reminiscing about the early days of Vail, days in which she said everyone was far away from family, so early residents set about making each other family. She considered her friends to be family indeed, as such she is survived by not only her family (including her 93 year old mother,) but by all of you. Your shared pieces of life and love were her legacy, something which brought light and joy to her very being.
The ripples of the impacts and influences of her life, the manner in which she spread kindness, generosity, and Spirit, will carry on far beyond her mortal days. As a lover and follower of Jesus, she would want it said… God is love, and it’s all God.
Suzanne knew her own mind and knew what was right. If it was right and good and would help someone, she did it. She illuminated the world with light and love throughout her entire life, forever trying to help people in any way she could. She faced cancer with grace and strength and beat it in almost every way a person is able. She enjoyed fishing with her husband, watching wildlife, cheering for the Broncos with her best friend, and really living each day she was given. Suzanne was a lover of God, country, family, and friends. She was a good woman, and her absence will be deeply felt, this much we know for sure.
In front of Vail Christian sits a boulder in which are engraved the names of founders, the family will also have a stone in the Vail Memorial Park in East Vail. A life carved in stone from one end of the valley to the other, how delightful.
A celebration of Suzanne’s remarkable life is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at Vail Christian High School, followed by delicious food, visiting, and laughter, as she would certainly expect.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to Shaw Regional Cancer Center in memory of Suzanne E. Dauphinais.