On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 21, 2014, Susan Caliope Mikesh (née Hoffman) passed away due to complications from a 25-year battle with scleroderma. Her passing was sudden yet peaceful, bathed in the glow of the afternoon sun during a much-deserved nap next to her husband of 31 years. A memorial service was at 5 p.m., Saturday, May 24, at the Schluter – Balik Funeral Home, French Chapel in Calmar, with Rev. Phillip Olson presiding.
Susan was born Jan. 29, 1960, in the town of Worthington in Nobles County, Minn. she was the fourth child and third daughter to Dale and Elaine Hoffman (née Nikas). She was a nurturing sister to her many siblings. In 1976 Susan made her way to Palo Alto, Calif., where she lived with her aunt and uncle, Sally and Joe Pinter. She eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she met her future husband, James Mikesh. They were married in a small ceremony in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 17, 1983. They moved to Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., where they would raise their children. In Aug. of 2003, Susan and the family moved into James’ childhood home in Calmar. Susan worked faithfully and compassionately at Eastern Star Nursing Home in Decorah as a nursing assistant and activity aide from 2005 until she passed. Susan was dedicated to her children, kind, accepting and free-spirited in her own way. Susan was conscious of matters like the environment and sustainability long before they were vogue, she truly loved nature and always put others before herself. Though she was not wealthy she made a point to donate to many causes such as the Audubon Society and Scleroderma Foundation, and she volunteered at a number of animal shelters. Despite her ordeal with scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis she pursued many interests like gardening, quilting, sewing, the harmonica and photography with aplomb. Like her namesake Calliope, the muse of poetry, she enjoyed the arts and wrote poetry. She loved her family both near and far and looked forward to reunions and other family gatherings with great anticipation. She was a woman of great integrity and strength. A dedicated wife, mother and grandmother. Susan embodied forgiveness and humility and will be missed by all she touched in her short life.
Susan is survived by her husband, James Mikesh, of Calmar; three daughters; one step-daughter and two grandchildren, Jenny Hoffman (Shane Verwey) of Madison, Wis; Theresa Aamaas (Ola Jakob) and their son Andre of Portland, Ore.; and Kimberly Mikesh (Puneet Madaan) of Houston, Texas; her step-daughter, Kore Gibbs (Scott) and daughter Molly of Yuma, Ariz.; her father, Dale, and step-mother, Charlotte Hoffman, of Sioux Falls, S.D.; mother, Eileen Martinez (née Nikas) of Albuquerque N.M.; 13 brothers and sisters: Dalain Coliston of Columbia, S.C., Brenda Fodness (Gary) of Kenneth Minn., Mark Hoffman of Sioux Falls S.D., Lewis Hoffman of Sun Valley Calif., Brenda Dee Sosa of Las Vegas Nev., Carla Hoffman of Houston Texas, Anthony Hoffman of Sioux Falls S.D., Lance Hoffman of Winona Minn., Kirsten Lange (Joel) of Sioux Falls S.D., Phil Martinez (Wendy) of Ocean N.J., Angie Thomas (Jack) of Kathleen Ga., Denise Algire (Bill) of Albuquerque N.M., and Robert Martinez (Cindy) of Amarillo Texas; brothers-in-law: Thomas Mikesh (Monica Bates) of Decorah, Roy Mikesh (Jan) of Indianapolis Ind., Gary Mikesh (Connie) of Decorah; as well as dozens of nieces and nephews, many aunts and uncles, and a great number of cousins.
She is preceded by her grandparents, Louis Hoffman, Antoinette Hoffman; brothers, Richie Hoffman and Ricky Martinez; step-father, Bob Martinez; and mother- and father-in-law, James and Faith Mikesh.