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Susan Karcher Legacy


Professor Sue J. Karcher

On January 13, 2017 the department lost a dear colleague and friend after a very heroic battle with cancer.  Sue had a long (35+ years) and illustrious career in the department where she impacted countless numbers of our undergraduate students, teaching them everything from human genetics to molecular cloning.  Sue also dedicated herself to a large number of outreach missions, where she visited K-12 schools and organized key workshops for high school teachers to help bring molecular biology into their own classrooms.  Her dedication to our teaching missions was immeasurable and the department and all of our students have much to be thankful for in having the opportunity to interact with her on a personal and professional level.


Life Legacy

Sue was born October 30, 1951, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to the late Franklin and Hilda Bailey Karcher.  She received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin and her Masters and PhD from UCSD, all three in chemistry.   On December 16, 2007 she married James Mullen in West Lafayette, who survives her.  Sue was an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Purdue University from 1981 until retiring in 2016 due to failing health.  She was a member of St. Andrew United Methodist Church, Phi Beta Kappa, and other honor societies.  Susan enjoyed traveling, spending time with animals, teaching, knitting, and photography.  She has three children who survive her:  Matthew, Brandon, and Sarah Gelvin, who reside in Turkey, Rhode Island, and Oregon, respectively.  Their father, Sue's friend and former husband, Stanton Gelvin, also survives her.  She has a beloved sister, Barbara Karcher of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and two sisters-in-law, Marilyn Desenberg and Nancy Schnerr.  She has seven step-children, ten step-grandchildren, and two step-great grandchildren.  Sue will be laid to rest in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  Memorial Contributions may be made to:  St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Susan's memory.   

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