Susanne (Susi) Burtschi Leslie, our beloved Mother, Aunt, Sister, Friend, and Grandmother passed away January 1, 2015 at the age of 60. A life long resident of Oakdale she was loved by her family, friends, and the community.
Susi was born in Oakdale, California October 12, 1954 in the then thirteen bed hospital to parents Lena and Henry Burtschi. Susi grew up in the country south of Oakdale where she learned the values of family loyalty, hard work, and selflessness. Her first language was Swiss-German which she spoke with her Mutti (Mother), Papa (Father) and brothers Fred, Dani, Rudi, and Hans.
Susi enjoyed canal surfing with the horses and waterskiing. She enjoyed playing on the family farm and once had a pitch fork stuck all the way threw her foot. She was an active member of the FFA, 4-H club, Dodge Ridge Race Team, San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club, Oakdale Saddle Club, and Oakdale High School Cheerleading teams.
Susi was selected as the Oakdale Rodeo Queen in 1973. Susi’s hardwork and loving personality helped her to achieve her goals of a higher education. While attending Modesto Junior College, Susi worked in the Riverbank ammunition plant, Burtschi Brothers Transportation, as a Camp Counselor at K Arrow, and built fences on the family ranch to pay for tuition. Her hardwork payed off and she graduated from Fresno State. During her time in college she participated for Fresno State’s Rodeo team where she met a lot of life long friends and her first husband David Leslie.
David and Susi got married in 1979 and had three beautiful children; Joshua, Daniel, and Lena. Susi worked hard like she always did caring for her children, irrigating 70+ acres, cleaning house, working as a secretary for Escalon Livestock, teaching Pre-School, and teaching elementary students in Magnolia. Susi was such an inspirational teacher she was asked to become a principal. Susi went on to lead Waterford Junior High School, Alice N. Stroud Elementary, earned a Masters Degree in School Leadership from California State University Stanislaus, and later promoted to Curriculum Director of the Stanislaus Union School District where she retired from in 2014.
Susi continued to stay active in transforming her community with her support of Oakdale Athletics, singing in the San Joaquin Valley Swiss Club with her mother (Lena) and daughter (Lena), serving the Oakdale Saddle Club, and being a mentor and role model for other young professionals all the while enjoying travel with loved ones to Puerto Rico, Sierra Nevada, Yellowstone National Park, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Australia.
Susi built a beautiful ranch on Sonora Road where she was able to spend the last days of her life surrounded by green grass, and loved ones.
Susi is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed by her surviving siblings, Fred and Family, Rudi and family, and Hans and family, along with her loving children, son Josh and daugher-in-law Duana Leslie, son Dani and daughter-in-law Kristen Leslie, daughter Lena and son-in-law Jeff Lee, 2 grandchildren, Jaelyn Lee, and Sophia Leslie, husband Soren (Tony) Wiese, residents of Oakdale and everyone who knew her.
She was preceded in death by her father Henry Burtschi, her mother Lena Burtschi, her brother Daniel Burtschi, and her sister-in-law Micki Burtschi.
A Memorial honoring her life will be held at 11am on January 10 at the Oakdale Community Christian Reformed Church, 131 West F. St., Oakdale, CA. 95361. Lunch will follow at the Oakdale Saddle Club located on East F St. Oakdale, CA 95361.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Jan. 7, 2015