Obituary of Susan Zielin
Susan McCollister Zielin, champion of feral cats, champagne drinker, and a woman who literally never wore jeans, died February 23, 2021. Susan loved to laugh, and anyone who could make her smile was A-grade in her book. She also loved a good conspiracy and a good mystery. Were the neighbors in the witness protection program? Probably. She could certainly imagine it—and tell you about it. Susan believed in dressing up to go on an airplane. She knew which fork to use and how to play a mean game of Bridge. She enjoyed finding treasure in all its many forms—agates, a bargain, Petoskey stones, a one-of-a-kind antique. Susan was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on September 9, 1938. She graduated from Iowa City High School in 1956 and Bemidji State University in 1961. She married college class president and football player Charles Zielin in June of 1962. They were young and beautiful and happy. Fifty-eight years later, “till death do us part” was a vow kept. Susan was a teacher for most of her career and was a working mom at a time when society would arch an eyebrow at a lady for leaving the home. But Susan blazed her own trail. Always. She set up English as a Second Language programs at three different schools in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she and Charles worked as educators and raised their two children, Derek and Lara. After her retirement, she started her own business selling antique windows, which she turned into art with dried flowers. Deep down, she had an entrepreneurial, free-market sprit. Which is another way of saying she always enjoyed doing what she wanted. Susan cared about animals of all kinds. She would swerve her car to avoid hitting butterflies. If you were a hunter who accidentally walked onto her property during deer season, she’d open the sliding glass door and yell that she was calling the cops. Seriously, that happened. She didn’t listen to much music, but when she did it was usually ABBA. She liked “Money, Money, Money”—both the song and actual money. She enjoyed complaining about politics, having her feet rubbed, and the word “No,” which remained a perennial favorite right up until the end. When something was spooky, Susan would use the phrase “booga booga.” She’d use “crapola” to describe whatever wasn’t up to par. She’d call a suspenseful movie a “thriller diller.” And she’d end a sentence with “mister” to let you know she meant business. Susan loved travel and hated flying. She was a big fan of laughter and entertainment. She loved her family. She is survived by her husband and children, as well as three grandchildren Charlie, Ava, and Erik. A gathering for family and friends will be held from 10 am till 12 noon on Tuesday, March 2nd at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City, followed with burial at Oakland Cemetery at 1:30pm. In lieu of flowers, we invite you to make a donation to the American Humane Society. To share a thought, memory or condolence please visit the funeral home website @ www.gayandciha.com.