Community mourns the loss of Susie Wiberg

Last Updated 4/9/2024in News


The world is a poorer place because The Lilac Fairy no longer waves her magic wand spreading joy and laughter in her path. On April 2, 2024, Susan Lee Pickard Wiberg went to meet God and ask where to find her beloved mother, “Mimi.”

Susie was a force to be reckoned with. Her energy and vitality left most mere mortals in her trail. The man who loved her more than anyone, her husband Tom, told her to swing by the couch now and then to let him know what she was up to, as he knew there was no way to keep up with her.

She was all about laughter and smiles — from the bright and beautiful smile she easily bestowed on others, to the smiles she got in return, to the smile she arranged to have a dentist rebuild on a virtual stranger who was the victim of domestic abuse.

In her life and work Susie was expert in developing deep and meaningful relationships. She spent 15 years working in public and community relations for Iredell-Statesville Schools engaging with the local business community to support the schools. She worked closely with David Bradley of the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce to develop the Youth Leadership program where juniors in high school were introduced to the various occupational opportunities throughout the county. They also introduced Steven Covey’s “Leader In Me” program into several of our schools and she brought the work of Dr. Ruby Payne on the culture of poverty and its relationship to education to I-SS leadership. She helped to focus the efforts of everyone at I-SS by always asking, “Is this good for the kids?”

Susie loved animals as much as humans — sometimes more. She engaged deeply as a volunteer and Board member with Highland Canine Connect, a non-profit whose mission is to provide service dogs to those who cannot otherwise afford one. This relationship, coupled with her years at I-SS, allowed her to take Frankie, a Certified Support Dog, into classrooms at Cloverleaf Elementary School, where his large body not only physically supported the kids as they laid all over him to read, but supported their love and excitement for learning. But nothing speaks more to who Susie was, and her love of both animals and people, than when she would take Frankie to a local chemo clinic to cheer up the cancer patients on Tuesdays, only to go back on Thursdays for her own chemo treatments.

She loved her girlfriends, of which there were many. Nothing gave her greater delight than to sit on the porch, or float in the pool, or take a class, or go for a horseback ride, or go to lunch, or take a walk with her girlfriends to solve the problems of the world interspersed with much laughter. She convinced several of the crazier ones to form two almost-famous singing groups. When she lived in California it was “The Anthuriums” and in North Carolina it was “The Dixie Hens.” For the low, low price of $150 and a good bottle of tequila (or $154.99 in cash) they would custom rewrite the lyrics to Motown tunes and then, dressed in matching wigs and costumes, perform them for private parties. “The Dixie Hens” even talked their way into opening for the actually-famous Temptations when they played in Statesville.

But there is nothing Susie loved more than her daughter Bailey. The two of them have a special bond that even death cannot break. Susie enjoyed Bailey’s school days almost as much as Bailey did. She loved counseling Bailey through college and her early working career. And nothing made her more proud than to see the woman Bailey has become. Bailey will miss her mom immensely, but the truth is, they are one in the same person. Susie is so deeply imprinted on Bailey’s soul that she will never have to wonder what her mom would say or do about anything. What more can a mother give her child than her very essence?

Susie did not like funerals so there will not be one for her. At a time to be announced, Tom and Bailey would like to invite those of you who have felt the magic of The Lilac Fairy’s wand to join us to celebrate and share in a life wonderfully lived. In the meantime, if Susie touched you in some meaningful way – if there is a Susie Story you feel comfortable sharing, would you please take a moment to send it to us at [email protected]. The family would love to collect these stories to share Susie’s love.

If you are of a mind to send flowers – please consider a donation to any of the following groups below instead:

♦ Highland Canine Connect, 145 Foxfield Drive, Harmony, NC 28634
♦ Iredell Christian Ministries, 752 Old Salisbury Road, Statesville, NC 28677
♦ PFLAG, 624 Walnut Street, Statesville, NC 28677
♦ Boys and Girls Club of the Piedmont, 1001 Cochran Street Statesville, NC 28677

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