On Friday, May 15, 2020, Susan Bukema, loving mother of two sons, Bradley James and Jason Paul, and grandmother of Tyler Paul Bukema, passed away at age 68 at her home, following an extended battle with a neuromuscular condition.
Sue was born on March 8, 1952 in Calumet Memorial Hospital, Laurium, Michigan to Robert and Joyce Mills of Lake Linden. Sue was graduated from the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School with the Class of 1970, she declined a full ride scholarship to Northern Michigan University, and was married on June 1970 to Donald James Bukema. Following her employment in the housekeeping department of Calumet Memorial, Susan became the business manager and then owner / operator of the Bukema Trucking Company, following the death of her husband nine years ago.
Sue and Don raised their family in Calumet, eventually building their trucking garage in Swedetown, and their home on Dover Road. Susan loved her family most, but had a passion for gardening, blueberries, and playing cards / board games. She loved her family (Bradley, Jason, Tyler, DJ, brother-in-law, Charles and daughter-in-law Elisabeth), and one could sense her pride in them even when she was talking about her frustration with something one of them had done. Susan was also very proud of husband, Don's service in the Navy in Vietnam, and of son, Brad's service in the Airforce.
Susan was preceded in death by her husband, Donald James Bukema; brother-in-law, Gordon John and in-laws, John and Margaret (Hiltenen) Bukema; her parents, Robert James and Joyce Maxine (Haralson) Mills; siblings, Robert Steven and Joyce Marie (Fraki) Mills; William Dennis Mills; Reuben David Sauvola, Sr.; Mary Joyce and Bernhard Charles Smith, her grandparents, aunts, uncles, many cousins, and a nephew, Reuben Sauvola, Jr.
In addition to her sons, Bradley and Jason; grandsons, Tyler and DJ; daughter-in-law Elisabeth and brother-in-law, Charlie; Susan is survived by siblings, Marsha Maxine Sauvola of Chassell; Shirley Marie (Murphy Kurtz) Mills of New Boston, Michigan; John James Mills of Wayne, Michigan, Debra Lynn (Bennett Soule) Mills of Westland & Sault Ste Marie, Michigan; and Darcy Duane and Diane Lynn (Nye) Mills of Dollar Bay; numerous nieces, nephews, grands, great-grands, cousins, and a maternal aunt, Virginia Mae (Haralson) Halverson of Ironwood, Michigan.
Following cremation by the Erickson-Crowley-Peterson Funeral Home, the family will hold a memorial service at her residence on a future date, when Covid19 restrictions enable family members to safely travel from Metropolitan Detroit, Illinois, Alaska, and Canada.