Longtime Aurora state representative Suzanne Deuchler dies, is remembered for ‘all her accomplishments’

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Aurora is mourning the passing of Suzanne Deuchler, a state representative from Aurora for 18 years in the 1980s and ‘90s who died last week at the age of 92.

She was born July 21, 1929, in Chicago, to Elvin and Margaret Clark.

Suzanne Deuchler.
(Maryll Moon / HANDOUT)

Suzanne Deuchler served 18 years as a Republican state representative from Aurora in the General Assembly, after serving four years representing the West Side of Aurora on the Kane County Board.

When she was first elected to the General Assembly in 1980, she beat an 80-year-old incumbent of 16 years, Al Schoeberlein.

She served on the Education, Appropriations, Banking, Transportation and Environment committees in the Illinois House. She was known for her support of women’s issues, including abortion rights and the Equal Rights Amendment, and for supporting environmental issues. She was instrumental in establishing Nelson Lake Nature Preserve in Kane County.

She also was a supporter of education initiatives, and was one of the representatives instrumental in establishing the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, as well as the Orchard Road interchange with Interstate 88.

Signs went up in 2018 on Interstate 88 at the Orchard Road interchange in Aurora to honor former Republican state Rep. Suzanne Deuchler for her work to make the interchange possible.
(Maryll Moon / HANDOUT)

“The thing I liked best about being in the legislature was getting to know other women legislators (on both sides of the aisle), female staff members and lobbyists,” she once wrote in a memoir. “It was a very stimulating time in my life.”

She was once invited to Washington, D.C., to attend a conference of Midwestern Republican Women, and was entertained at the White House.

“I was seated beside Nancy Reagan,” she wrote in her memoir.

State Rep. Suzanne Deuchler from Aurora, in a photo from the early 1990s. (Chicago Tribune)

She was a world traveler, a talented watercolorist and a mother of two. She served as president of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and on many nonprofit boards, including National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Kane-South DeKalb and Kendall, the Aurora Historical Society, Rush Copley Medical Center Governing Board and SciTech. She was a longtime member of the American Association of University Women.

She met her husband, Walter, while at the University of Illinois, and both graduated with honors from there in 1951. Later on, Suzanne Deuchler was awarded an honorary doctor’s degree from Aurora University.

“Her family will remember her for her bright smile and all her accomplishments, of which there were many,” said Maryll Moon, Deuchler’s daughter.

She is survived by her husband of 71 years, Walter Deuchler; her sister, Nancy Clark Amstutz; her daughter, Maryll (Tom) Moon, her granddaughters, Erika Kleibrink and Claudia Moon; her nieces, Betsy (Donald) Flett and Kathy Finn; and nephews Edward (Robyn Weinstein) Bettenhausen and Kenneth (Jean) Bettenhausen.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Donations in Suzanne Deuchler’s honor are welcome to Planned Parenthood of Illinois, 17 N. State St., Fifth Floor, Chicago, IL 60602, and the League of Women Voters of Illinois, 332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 634, Chicago, IL 60604.

slord@tribpub.com

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June 27, 2022 at 05:21PM

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