The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

Susie Ray Isenbarger

“Susie” Rae Isenbarger was called to her heavenly home, as faithfully promised by our Lord God, at 4:20 p.m. Monday, March 8, 2021. 

Susie Rae Isenbarger

She was born April 8, 1955, and was one month from her 66th birthday. She was joyously reunited with her beloved husband, Steve Isenbarger; her father and mother, Ken and Helen Wherry; and cherished mother-in-law, Bonnie Isenbarger. After a short but debilitating battle with dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease, she was lovingly cared for by her family at the home she adored until her earthly journey was over.

Although Susie, the original “Janet,” is once again healthy and dancing to the music, there are so many Janets missing her deeply here on earth. Her vibrancy and magnetism radiated like the Caribbean sun in August. It didn’t take long to make a new friend or even just make a stranger’s day a bit brighter, with that genuinely uplifting, happy-go-lucky smile. She had a gift of befriending all ages of people and accepted them just as they were.

“Family fun” meant the world to her and nothing pleased her more than “100 percent participation” at any family function. Whether she was sweating inside a bunny costume for the kids at Easter, brewing 200 pots of coffee, making her famous pies, or graciously leading the prayer at Thanksgiving, Susie was the glue that kept our whole extended family together.

She is survived by a brother, David (Rose) Wherry; a sister, Barbara (William) Burk; a son, Samuel (Megan) Isenbarger; a daughter, Sarah (Travis, her personal plumber) Stemen; and grandchildren, Garrett Smith, Zaden Stemen, Quinlan and Henry Isenbarger, Alyssa Stemen, (Tristan, Tracen, and Elisabeth) and Frankie Stemen.

She was a 1973 graduate of Crestview High School in Convoy, where she made a tight-knit group of friends that remain her closest pals to this day. They also decided to make their mark by fighting the “no jeans for girls at school” rule until it was changed.

As the Van Wert County Health Department registrar, or regiSTAR as she would say, Susie worked diligently with and for the people around her. She also loved the years she worked as fiscal officer for Harrison Township and for the Village of Wren.

Outside of work, she loved her horse Doogie, running, gardening, creating gorgeous flower beds, and her bazillion house plants (“Phil,” a 43-year-old elephant ear philodendron, is so big that it actually has its own room). She also loved music and dancing wherever and whenever she could. Jackson Browne, the Rolling Stones, and the Eagles were among her favorites.

Private services will be held at the convenience of the family at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert. 

A celebration of life will be held at a later date so all of those who loved Susie can honor her memory together.

In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to the Myositis Foundation, 2000 Duke St., Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314; The foundation’s research is imperative to finding a way to treat this disease. With more knowledge, people like Susie would have a fighting chance at recovery and healing.

Condolences may be expressed on the Tribute Wall at

POSTED: 03/10/21 at 12:42 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries