CASPER, Wyo. — Longtime Casper resident Susie McMurry died over the weekend at Banner Health Wyoming Medical Center. According to her obituary, she had been battling lifelong diabetes.
Susie and her late husband of 41 years, Mick McMurry, came from modest backgrounds, but they made millions from energy and other businesses in Casper and the state, and worked tirelessly together to “pay it forward.”
Susie and Mick founded the charitable McMurry Foundation in 1998, which, according to its website, focuses on helping organizations in Natrona County and Wyoming that are involved in education, children and children’s advocacy, health, and the arts, among other things. Susie would often be seen volunteering in Wyoming Medical Center’s halls, at the Child Development Center and at fundraisers for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming.
Susie and Mick had two daughters, Trudi and Jillian, and were foster parents to many others over the decades.
Left heartbroken after Mick died by suicide in 2015, Susie began to focus more charitable attention toward mental health.
As news spread on Monday of her death, Wyoming residents responded with their memories and tributes to Susie.
Alisha Rone, executive director of the Child Development Center, remembered Susie as someone with a passion for helping children.
“From the CDC to the Boys and Girls Club, to CASA, to the YMCA and so many other community nonprofits, she has had a hand on and made a difference,” Rone said in a message to Oil City News on Monday evening.
Rone said Susie was not only instrumental in raising funding for the institution, but she would often visit the facility to spend time with children or write Christmas cards from Santa. “I’ve always kept a photo of her on my desk to remind me to have grace throughout my day and, no matter what, to pay it forward,” she said.
“Everyone that came in contact with Susie was touched by her, and her memory will forever live with us.”
On Monday evening, Banner Health Wyoming Medical Center posted on social media a portrait of Susie and Mick McMurry in tribute. The picture hangs in the lobby of the building that bears their name.
“We’re proud that our building bears their name and gives us all an opportunity to remember their decades-long history of supporting Natrona County’s health,” the center said. “Thank you for your dedication to our health care and our community, Susie and Mick. May you both rest in peace.”
Shauna VanderLinden is a former Casper broadcaster who knew Susie well while working at B&G Club and WMC. “Susie was a special lady,” she said in a message. “We are all better because of her.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming board member Jan Cundy wrote on her Facebook page that Susie and the McMurry family made Wyoming a better place.
“We have shared love, tears, and many hugs and much laughter over the last 10 years while also sharing a vision of helping WY youth,” she wrote.
Former Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan wrote: “We lost a truly remarkable human being who established her values early on as a young woman in rural Wyoming and never lost sight of them regardless of wealth or stature. She never stopped caring about children and their welfare and families and healthcare, holding on to those values, always trying to help others.”
Sen. John Barrasso paid tribute on Twitter by saying, “Susie never missed a chance to help make communities across WY better. Her remarkable legacy lives on through the thousands of people she positively impacted thru the McMurry Foundation, Boys & Girls Club & UWYO.”
“She saw the vision and supported our mission from the very beginning,” said the Wyoming Food for Thought Project on Facebook. “Her legacy will continue for generations. Casper and Wyoming are better places because of her kindness and love.”
A Rosary service for Susie is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 5 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, with a Mass the following day at 11 a.m.