5/26/1946 – 5/22/2021
Sue Valikonis, longtime Santa Barbara-area resident and former Cate School nurse, passed away Saturday, May 22, 2021.
After high school, Sue took a camping trip to Colorado and fell in love with Steamboat Springs and decided to go to college there. In little Steamboat, she formed friendships and connections that would continue for the rest of her life. It was a place she would return to again and again.
Sue was a lifelong traveler. Her first big trip was to Guayaquil, Ecuador after college where she worked at Colegio Americano. It nearly gave her mother a heart attack to send Sue off on a rickety airplane out of LAX to what was then a very foreign destination. But Sue was fearless, and it was a life-changing trip as it led her to her next big adventure in Brownsville, Texas, where she met her husband, Bill Valikonis, and had her two boys, John and Bill.
When her husband Bill died, Sue went back to school to become a nurse. After obtaining her degree, Sue packed up the white-beached whale, loaded in John and Billy and moved back to Steamboat Springs. There, she found her true calling as a school nurse at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park Elementary schools where she was beloved by children, who wanted to get out of class to spend time with Nurse Sue. Later, when she moved back to California and worked at Cate School in Carpinteria, students would sometimes make up an illness just so they could spend the night in the infirmary with Nurse Sue.
At Cate, Sue’s beloved dog Henna was her constant companion. When she wasn’t stealing tri-tip from the kitchen, Henna could be found sitting in Sue’s convertible Cabriolet waiting for the next adventure. Sue had a very close relationship with her church, and it gave her much comfort at all times but especially in challenging times, such as when her sweet son Bill died. And in more recent years, as Sue bravely dealt with dementia. She never complained, she was always cheerful, no matter the circumstances.
We share her loss with everyone who knew her. Sue was a bright light in this world – a true original. We will all miss her happy nature, easy smile, playful spirit and generous heart. Sue is survived by her son, John Valikonis; siblings, Robert Archibald, Sally Hertzog, Charlotte Hall and Cece Hall; grandchildren, Sia and Lylas Valikonis; niece, Ashley Hertzog; and her daughter, Amari.
Sue will be laid to rest next to her son Bill on June 5 at 11 a.m. at Carpinteria Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will follow at Toro Canyon Park in Carpinteria.