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Susan Loeb Memorial Tournament keeps longtime nurse’s legacy alive

August 2, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

Cancer may have claimed the life of former Dysart resident Susan Loeb in 2014, but from her legacy as an administrator, teacher and mother came the sixth annual Susan Loeb Memorial Tournament to raise money for scholarships in her name.

Susan Loeb ran the Sunnycrest Nursing Center in Dysart for 23 years as an administrator, raising her family in town before taking over another facility in Marion for seven years and then the Cedar Falls Lutheran home. The respected administrator also taught at Hawkeye Community College, Allen College and Kirkwood Community College over her career.

"She was asked to go to these places because she could turn things around," Zach Loeb, Susan's son said. "She spent those 23 years in Dysart and did such an amazing job, they wanted her to go to Marion and revamp that facility, same with the lutheran home. People thought she was such an amazing administrators that all the department heads followed her from Dysart to those next destinations. They changed the nursing environment for families, co-workers."

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Each and every person who took part in the Susan Loeb Memorial Golf and Bags Tournament was impacted by Susan Loeb, who died from colon cancer in 2014.

Among the people who worked for Susan during her time in Dysart was Abbie Hoppe, who worked as a CNA under her while in high school alongside Zach and other friends. Hoppe would also take classes under the woman who would help her along to also become a nurse.

"Susan was a mentor to me and probably the person that helped me decide to go into nursing," Hoppe said. "When I was in elementary school, my mom worked at Sunnycrest when Susan was the administrator there. I was there almost every day with my mom, especially over the summer. When I was going through high school, I could always go to her for questions or advice."

She was a nurse, teacher, administrator, you name it. Those are the words Hoppe used to describe her former mentor. Patient wasn't a position Susan as a nurse wanted to be herself, yet that was exactly when she met Jess Schellhorn.

"When I first met Susan, I was working at Covenant Cancer Treatment Center and she was a patient of mine," Schellhorn said. "I got to know her when she came in every day for the treatments. She was one of the strongest people I knew because she didn't show weakness the entire time and was a fighter."

Colon cancer would claim Susan's life in 2014, but not before impacting yet another nurse in Schellhorn, who would listen to her words of advice and encouragement as Loeb underwent chemotherapy and other treatments.

""She taught me a lot of things, even though she was the patient," Schellhorn said. " It's hard for a nurse to be a patient. It was hard for her at first to let us be the caregiver for her and being vulnerable.It was a pleasure to get to know her and be a role model as a nurse."

Brothers Thad and Zach started the Susan Loeb Memorial Golf Tournament in honor of their mother six years ago, inviting old friends and others touched by Susan over the years. Hoppe helps organize the tournament behind the scenes with Loeb not living in Dysart. Together, they get old friends signed up and organized.

"Every year, this tournament has grown and it's cool to see a lot of our old friends from high school," Hoppe said. "Almost everyone knew Susan personally."

The money raised from the event goes two scholarships in Susan's name to two Union students going into the nursing field. Every year, $1,500 is split into a $1,000 and $500 scholarship, with this year's scholarships going to Emma Alpers and Mackenna Hatch respectively.

"She spent all of her 40+ career in the medical field, so we felt the scholarship should go to students planning on nursing or other medical programs," Loeb said.

Schellhorn, who has attended this tournament since it inception because of her unique relationship with Susan, feels these scholarships are the best way to keep Susan's legacy alive.

"As a nurse, honoring Susan with this scholarship is amazing to me because it continues to grow the profession," Schellhorn said. "I'm actually back in school for my RN at Hawkeye and it's very hard to be a student. Anything we can to help youth interest in the profession with finances is amazing."

While everyone enjoys an afternoon of golfing, food, a bags tournament, a DJ and each other's company, Loeb hopes this memorial tournament serves as a reminder of his mother's impact on so many lives and honors her profession.

"I can't put it into words what it means to do this for my mom," Loeb said. "Every single person that comes to this tournament either knew my mom personally or she was their teacher. It's great to know they have a special piece of my mother with them and are having such a good time. She would be grinning from ear-to-ear if she were here right now."

Recipients of this school year's Susan Loeb Scholarships will be announced at the Union Scholarship Night in May of 2020.



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