Susan Sprain Carter

Carter1Susan Sprain Carter the daughter of Adolph and Winifred Sprain was born in Deer Park, Illinois,. Known to most as Sue Carter she was the eldest child in her family and had 2 siblings; her sister Gretchen Sprain (Schilchter)Weissert who pre-deceased her in 2008 and her brother Tom Sprain who still lives in Illinois with his wife Barbara. Her father was the accountant for Western Bell Company in Chicago, her mother taught preschool but primarily stayed at home raising her children. Sue was the wife of Robert Gordon Carter for twenty seven years and leaves behind her daughters; Cynthia Carter Obtinario, Jennifer Carter Brink and Carolyn Carter Bertram. Her daughter Nancy Carter Leitch predeceased her in 2007. A total of eight, Sue’s grandchildren include: David Bertram, Daniel Bertram, Chris Bertram, Jesse Leitch, Katie Brink Darkanat, Benjamin Bertram and Justin Leith. Sue’s grandson Ryan Brink predeceased her in 1985. Sue has seven great grandchildren; Mackenzie Barber, Elisa Bertram, Jesse Leitch, Lucas Bertram, Aria Carter, Wyatt Leitch and Abigail Bertram. Sue also leaves behind many nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

Although born in Deer Park, Sue spent most of her childhood in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Sue recalled with fondness living in a multi-Carter2generational home when her grandfather Tom Wilson moved in with them after his wife passed away. Sue wrote notes about the stories she learned from her grandparents, especially those she heard from him. “Grandpa Wilson,” she said with pride, “was an excellent singer, could play seven different instruments and started the Wilson Drum Company in Chicago, Illinois.” Sue loved visiting her grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins on her father’s side of the family too, most of whom lived in West Salem, Wisconsin. “Daddy was one of nine children!”  Most all of the members of the Sprain family were involved in some way with farming.  Mother said everyone had “at least a gentlemen’s” farm.” Her grandfather George Sprain chose a career in banking instead of farming though, “and was the first one in their small town to buy a car!”

Sue attended Northwestern University in Illinois, and graduated in 1954. She married Robert Carter and they moved to the Seattle area right after they both graduated with degrees in teaching. Robert then joined the Army and was sent to Fort Lawton (now Discovery Park). They loved the Northwest and decided to stay. They especially liked Kirkland and moved off the army base to their first Kirkland home in Juanita right next to area now known as Juanita Beach. There they started their family in 1955. Due to Robert’s career they had to move away a few times for short periods, once to Spokane in 1960-1962, then again to Vancouver from 1973-1976, but they always considered Kirkland home and moved back to stay in 1976.

Carter3Sue worked as a substitute teacher, a counselor for seniors and was a business owner/operator for a private adult family home in Kirkland, in addition to being a stay-at-home mother for many years. Sue loved her roses and flower gardening, antiques, wasa voracious reader, loved refinishing furniture, dancing and being civically active. She was an avid volunteer for many organizations: She was a PTA member and President, she was a Girl Scout leader and a wedding planner for Kirkland Congregational Church as well as a member of the church for many years. Sue belonged to and hosted many gatherings in the family home. One such organization was Parents Without Partners (PWP). She held the office of President and hosted many gatherings for those with nowhere to go on numerous holidays. Later after opening her own business she became a Kiwanis member, and in her later retirement she became a volunteer tutor for children at Eastside Academy school in Kirkland. Sue’s love of family history, lead her to a love of genealogy. During her adult life she became the family historian and a history buff in general. She was an active member of the Kirkland Historical Society for many years as well.

Sue Carter had style. Most who knew her would describe her as: quick-witted, intelligent, classy and caring. She believed in being active and helping in her community and considered people all around the world, especially those less fortunate, a part of her community. She leaves behind a legacy to be proud of.

Her memorial service will be held Saturday September 13th at Kirkland Congregational Church 106 5th Ave, Kirkland at 2PM. Contact number for Kirkland Congregational is (425)823- An informal potluck and gathering will follow the service at her home about 4 PM: 10647 NE 47th Place , Kirkland, WA 98033.

Rememberences she requests be made to: Red Cross, Children’s Orthopedic (in honor of her grandson Ryan Brink), or Kirkland Congregational Church.

Flowers are fine too. Whenever someone gave Mom flowers she would say “Cut flowers! Such a luxury!”


Thanks to all for your support and condolences.


Her daughters: Cindy, Jenny and Carol



One Response to “Susan Sprain Carter”

  • Shirley & Ed Hopkins says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sue for almost 30 years & I was lucky to have helped her with her real estate needs. Cindy wrote such a beautiful tribute to her Mom. I cried when I read her description as Sue was everything and more and I feel blessed to have been her friend as well as her realtor.

    She will be missed by many and will live on in our hearts forever!

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