In loving memory of

Susan Anita Hoxter
March 19, 1927 - October 14, 2020

Susan Hoxter, 93, passed peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at her home in Shoreline Washington, after a full and joyful life, brimming with laughter and love.
Those wishing to sign Susan's guestbook may do so at

Susan was born on March 19, 1927, in Spokane Washington, the cherished daughter of Engman Peter and Susie Jeanette (Milliken) Jacobsen, and kid-sister to Willis (Bill), who provided her childhood nickname, Tito.

During her youth, Susan's natural talent for music and art became apparent. She learned to play the piano and she sang in the church choir. During idyllic summers, Susan went to camp with her Camp Fire Girl troop, swimming, canoeing, fishing, beading, and every morning, waking the other campers to reveille, played on her trusty bugle.

Susan attended the same high school her father attended, North Central High School, excelling in her studies and advancing her interest in music and art. After graduation, Susan continued her studies, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and music at Washington State College (now WSU). She was a proud WSU Cougar for her entire lifetime; well into her 90's she'd happily and enthusiastically sing the Cougar Fight Song beginning to end, complete with hand gestures and a grin.

Susan accepted a teaching position after college, as a music teacher at Othello High School, developing the program and beginning their first marching band. The image of our small mother whipping those high school students into marching formation during football halftimes must have been a sight to behold. She was proud of them and we imagine, they were fond of their determined bandleader.

It was during her time in Othello that she met the love of her life, Phillip Ray Hoxter, a transplant from Staples Minnesota, working for the Bureau of Reclamation, surveying the Columbia River Basin Irrigation Project. There is a photo in an album of Phil in his surveying gear and written over his head in Susan's precise handwriting, is the telling word, "Cute".

The Korean War interrupted their love story. Prior to the war, they discussed marriage, but Phil did not want risk leaving Susan as a war widow, so she sent him off to Korea with a collection of photos, a pocket-sized Bible, and a promise to wait. This was a long and difficult time for Susan, knowing her love was in harm's way. Indeed, he came home with a body full of shrapnel and a handful of impressive medals, but thankfully, very much alive.

Phil and Susan married on June 6, 1953, in Spokane, Washington. Their love affair flourished, and they remained inseparable for nearly 65 years.

Susan, a teacher at heart, convinced Phil to get his Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Washington State College (now WSU). After his graduation, Phil and Susan moved to Seattle, where he accepted a teaching position at Shoreline High School.

Susan and Phil raised 5 children: Jean Susan, Carol Lynn, Gail Anita, John Engman, and Ann Phyllis. They were lifelong members of the Ronald United Methodist Church, raising their children in faith.

Susan was a loving mother. If Phil was the rock, she was the pillow, always available with a soft touch and word of encouragement. She cooked and baked. She sewed our outfits. She cared for all the strays we brought home, not only pets but also childhood friends. Our house was filled with music and our evenings with schoolwork. Growing up with parents who were also teachers had certain homework advantages. Long before computers, our mother served as living spellcheck.

In her "spare" time, after wrangling 5 children, Susan indulged her love of music. She sang in the Seattle Chorale and in her church choir for 25 years. She attended concerts at Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, and the President's Piano Series at Meany Hall. She taught private piano in her home for over 30 years. She joined several arts organizations, including the Philanthropic Educational Organization and the Edmonds Friends of the Arts, providing scholarship opportunities for students in the arts.

She also found time to paint, enjoying oil and watercolor, painting weekly with a group of ladies from her church, filling the walls of our home with her gallery of originals.

Later, when grandchildren arrived, Susan's love of reading found an outlet. Many times, we recall her joyfully reading to the little ones, clearly enjoying the children's stories as much, or more than the grandkids. She'd laugh and smile and continue reading enthusiastically, long after her charges fell to sleep on her lap.

One of her best qualities though was her ability to develop long and lasting friendships. Her dear friend Mary Carter summed it up perfectly, saying, "She was my best and dearest friend. Susan was a woman of many talents; music, art, baking, sewing, sailing, fishing, listening, and loving". Susan loved to entertain her friends in our home. We fondly remember friends and neighbors, music and teacher colleagues, bridge ladies, church groups, and so many others. The echo of their laughter rings in our memories.

Eventually, Susan and Phil were encouraged by Mary and her husband Max, to purchase the sailboat of their dreams, The Eagle. They spent many happy summers sailing in the San Juan Islands. And at the end of so many summers, camping on the coast with lifelong family friends, Leonard and Fran Jones, and Ginny and Neal Edwards. Between the 3 families, there were 13 kids, mostly teens, and assorted "hangers-on" as Fran correctly named the tag-alongs. It was a time of happy chaos, beachcombing, and fireside chats.

This was the secret to Susan's happy and joyful life. She was a mother to us all and a true friend to so many.

Susan is preceded by her parents, her brother, and her husband Phil, as well as her daughter-in-law Maggie. She is survived by all 5 of her children who live in the greater Puget Sound area: Jean and her husband Geoff, Carol, Gail, and her husband Tony, John, and Ann. Susan is also survived by 7 grandchildren: Dana and his wife Erica, Kelly and her husband Phil, Aaron, Nathan and his wife Missy, Stephan, Justin, and Jacob. There are 9 great-grandchildren: Devin, Sadie, Isiah, Ezra, Adonis, Gideon, Lily, Nora, and Moira. She is also survived by her unofficial daughter, Liz, who loved her as a mother. She will be missed, loved, and remembered as a sweet and gentle soul with a warm and open heart.

A special thanks to her caregivers, Shelly and Sylvia, and especially her primary caregiver Judy, who cared for her so tenderly in her final days, gently calling her, "My Girl".


The Piano Teacher
By Daughter One, Jean

Mom filled our house with music. She encouraged all of us kids to learn to play an instrument: the piano, a clarinet, a flute, a trumpet, a guitar, and in Dad's case, the ukulele and the radio. We were also encouraged to sing in the church choir. For most families, that much music would be enough.

But there were also her piano students.

Every afternoon after school, a parade of students made their way to Grandma's antique upright piano in our rec-room. Their proud mamas sat in the living room listening to the lessons behind the closed doors. There were students of many abilities, some who clearly practiced and others who tried to "wing it". Some advanced quickly. Others, not so much. Mom encouraged them all. Through teaching piano, she touched countless lives,

Her love was classical music, so we heard students work their way through Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and her favorite, Debussy. As they mastered each piece, Mom awarded a shiny stick-on star, affixed to their sheet music. We knew a student achieved the pinnacle when she placed a star on their copy of her favorite, Clair de Lune.

All went well with this classical journey until 1973 when Mom discovered the theme song to "The Sting". Every student, from beginner to advanced, learned to play The Sting. Incessantly. Over and over. There was no escape. It still brings shivers.

Eventually, Mom set her sights on purchasing a grand piano, a black beauty with a powerful and expressive voice. The grand piano filled the rec room and our lives.

By that time, I had graduated from college and was moving into my own apartment. Mom gave me her upright piano. She recommended a piano tuner, who came out to work his magic on the "old beauty". When he opened it up, we found the insides sparkling with stars, the stickers that had not stayed fixed to years of student's sheet music. I smile whenever I pull out some music and see one of Mom's stars above the title.

Thank you, Mom, for bringing music into our lives. And for teaching us that practice is the steppingstone to shiny stars. Your presence is here, radiating out of each of us with peace, gratitude, and love".

By the way, your secret is safe with me, Mom: I'm your favorite.

The Gift
By Daughter Two, Carol

I recall a time when I was a child visiting a neighborhood friend. I do not honestly recall what was said, but I do remember that Mom was thoroughly offended on my behalf, by something the friend's mother said or did. Mom was not one to directly confront, but she was nonetheless unwilling to let this woman off the hook with no consequence.

So she devised a plan. And she included me in every step.

We went to a bookstore and purchased a copy of the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Back at home, we carefully wrapped the book in nondescript brown paper. I distinctly remember holding the knot as she tied a bow with shipping twine. Then Mom addressed the "gift" to the neighbor, leaving no return address.

The final step. We drove to a post office with a different zip code and mailed the package to the unsuspecting neighbor.

I learned this about Mom: don't mess with her kids.

Thank you, Mom, for sticking up for us. You always wanted the best for us and loved us unconditionally.

By the way, your secret is safe with me, Mom: I'm your favorite.

Fond Memories from the Human Fly
By Daughter Three, Gail

It is so difficult to say goodbye to you, Mom. I am grateful to have had you in my life. You did so much for me, our family, and everyone you knew, we will be forever thankful for your life and light in our world.

As you often said, I was a human fly, forever clinging to you, especially when you went into the kitchen. Apparently, at an early age, I would drag a kitchen chair across the floor so I could get as close to you as possible, to watch your every move. Sometimes this included standing on the counter to get an even better look. I watched with fascination as you made legendary pies: wild huckleberry, apple, pumpkin, pecan, strawberry, rhubarb, banana cream.... In fact, our Uncle Jerry accused Dad of moving you to Seattle, well away from his family home in Minnesota, so Dad could have all the pies. Your skill at pie baking was legendary amongst your family and friends, even pie baking while we were out camping or sailing. Somehow you always had the ingredients and a pie plate packed. And as I watched, I learned the secret to your pie mastery. Some might say that it was the love you added. But no. I know that when you transfer the crust to the pie plate, you must say, "This is the worst crust I've ever made". This ensures deliciousness!

As your human fly, it is hard for me to imagine that from time to time you might have desired to lose me for a few minutes, but there I was, going everywhere you went. For years you needed allergy antigen shots to calm your extreme allergies. Your good friend Eleanor - a nurse, agreed to administer these injections for you, doing so at her home. When I started school, did Eleanor still look for your tag along? I just know you both missed me terribly.

Another firsthand look at your life from the human fly perspective concerns your driving. Let's just say, you delivered us safely to our destinations. Purpose and determination were perhaps your most outstanding driving skills. "All in" on the accelerator and, "all in" on the brakes. Along the way, you developed the practice of steering one-handed while braking and flinging your right hand across the child sitting next to you, the equivalent of a human seatbelt before seat belts existed. You kept all of us kids safe, preventing us from being dumped onto the floorboards, or rocketing through the windshield. While an outward demonstration of your care, at one point your friend Barbara told you she didn't require you to hold her in, that she was okay at staying put. As a teen, I asked you if Grandpa Jake (a scary driver, himself) taught you to drive? I loved your answer. When you were old enough to get a driver's license, your brother's best friend took you down to the DMV. The examiner asked him if you could drive to which he answered, "of course she can". You received your first license with no test, an auspicious start.

Finally, I must thank you for your tender care for me during my Lymphoma battle. You were a world-class worrier and for you, I wish this had never happened. Not until much later did I realize that along with your worry, your task of driving me down to daily treatments for 5 weeks, must have meant rearranging and reducing your entire life. I know that you did this with absolute devotion. But at the time, I was aware of none of this. I only knew I had more alone time with you, which I loved.

So, thank you, Mom, I am blessed to have had you in my life and will miss you every day.

By the way, your secret is safe with me, Mom: I'm your favorite.

I've Got Your Back
By First Son, John

With the distinction of being the only son in a family with five children, there may have been a little spoiling that occurred during my childhood. And this premise may have been reinforced when I was placed in classes for kids with special learning needs.

Mom was a strong leader. She loved the arts and education, and I can remember that many times she would continue her own education. When I was quite young, I can remember her needing to collect specimens in a wetland area for a science class. She brought me along. In my wanderings, I somehow got my feet stuck in the mud. To this day I swear it was quicksand. Just like in the movies. I was in a panic and couldn't get out. But naturally, it was Mom to the rescue, saving me from imminent peril.

This memory had a lasting impression for me. One of the many times Mom had my back.

Her love for music was a force of nature. All of us children were encouraged in many ways to pursue experience in musical arts. I became a trumpet player in school. Mom went the extra mile for me when I showed promise, providing private lessons to improve my abilities. She would dutifully take me to my lessons and was a proud parent at all our concerts. I blossomed with this discipline, becoming 1st chair as well as branching out to play baritone, French Horn, tuba and many percussion instruments, including the xylophone.

I have always felt a close bond with Mom. Her smile always provided me with a secure feeling.

Mom had strong conviction for any cause that she was passionate about. For example, when I turned 18, I did not know that I was supposed to register for the draft because Mom intercepted the letters and hid them from us. She didn't want me to be placed in harm's way. At some point though, registration became unavoidable, but by the time I was old enough to be drafted, they had stopped needing recruits.

Mom consistently demonstrated the virtues of patience, kindness, tolerance and love. Today I place high value on these attributes. If I bear the capacity to possess any modicum of these traits, it's from Mom's loving devotion to family and friends. She helped me feel safe, cared for, protected, and secure.

I am blessed with honor and dignity to be one of Saint Susie's children.

By the way, your secret is safe with me, Mom: I'm your favorite.

Laughter is the Best Medicine
By Daughter Four, Ann

I remember so much about Mom: her appreciation of music has been so incredibly valuable to me. People who actually play music notice that I know something about music, like how I prefer songs in the minor, for instance. Thanks Mom. I appreciate so much that you had that musical influence on me though I don't play any musical instrument.

I also always remember Mom to be a worrier, taking it to a whole new level. I've inherited that trait too. (Lol).

But some of my fondest memories included one of Mom's dearest, closest friends, Mary Carter. I've never seen Mom laugh so hard. As the youngest, I had a real advantage because the folks by that time were inveterate sailors. We'd go on many sailing adventures together and often we would meet up at various ports with Max and Mary Carter, who took their own boat out. Mom and Mary would get together and just laugh about the silliest things which would always bring a smile to my face. Their joy and laughter were infectious. Dad and Max jokingly complained that Mom and Mary couldn't walk and carry on a conversation at the same time. I loved hanging with Mom during those times.

Being so introverted and shy, it is really cool to remember those times. She had a great, self-depreciating sense of humor that just made me laugh. She was very intelligent, but would never boast. Instead she and Mary would have a great time just being real. That's what I remember most about Mom.

Thank you, Mom for your laughter and joy.

By the way, your secret is safe with me, Mom: I'm your favorite.


Eileen Morgenstern wrote on Oct 29, 2020:

"Gail, Ann and the rest of the favorites - what an enduring, beautiful tribute and memory of your mom. I am so very sorry for your loss. I feel I know all of you a bit from Gail?s stories through the years. Please accept my most sincere condolences in this trying time for all of you and your families. No loss is greater than the loss of a mother. Take care EileenMorgenstern "