Sue MacAllister was born May 13, 1957 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was the youngest of three children of Jack and Marilyn MacAllister. Although the family’s roots were in Iowa, they moved many times as her father ascended the ranks of the Bell Telephone system. She graduated from Valley High School in West Des Moines in 1975. Following high school, Sue attended Montana State in Bozeman, and graduated with a degree in Soil Science.
Sue’s first job in her field of study was in the oil fields of North Dakota, collecting and analyzing samples at the well sites. After a few frigid winters on the Great Plains, she moved to Castle Rock, Colorado and switched careers. She worked in Human Resources for US West, retiring after a successful twenty-year career. She moved to Gunnison in 2004, became a Vet Tech, and worked for several years at Tomichi Pet Care.
Sue always loved animals and wildlife, especially dogs and horses. She began riding at a very young age, and had her first horse as a teenager. She trained and competed in equestrian events and became an accomplished rider. She had horses for most of her life, enjoyed the “barn” lifestyle, and met many lifelong friends through the horse community. She enjoyed riding in the foothills near Castle Rock, at Lost Miner Ranch, and on the trails of the Gunnison Country.
Sue picked her first dog out of a box full of puppies outside a grocery store in Castle Rock. Barth was a great companion, as were Banjo and Wiley in Gunnison. She became a tireless advocate for the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League, helped place many animals, and was instrumental in establishing the organization’s new facility that opened recently.
Sue had many other interests, including the arts, films, books, hiking, travel, and fitness. She loved running, and ran in a number of marathons and distance events. Sue loved Halloween too, and she hosted a string of legendary Halloween parties for her many friends and family in Gunnison.
Sue passed peacefully at her home on November 2, 2015, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. She is survived by her longtime and steadfast companion, Phil Berggren of Elizabeth, CO; her mother Marilyn and brother Jim (Kathy) of Gunnison; uncle Larry Anderson of Hamilton, MT, and many nieces and nephews around the country. She is pre-deceased by her father Jack and brother Steve.
Sue is also survived by many close and dear friends. The family would like to express a heartfelt thank you to them for the tremendous outpouring of support and friendship during Sue’s final weeks.
Many people have called Sue their best friend. She was that kind of person, and she will be greatly missed.
Celebration of Life
A Celebration of Life for Sue is planned for Saturday, November 14, from noon to 3 p.m. at Sue’s home, 37 Amigo Way (at the end of Camino Del Rio by the golf course).
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent directly to either of Sue’s favorite non-profits:
Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League, P.O. Box 1834, Gunnison, CO 81230.
Gunnison Arts Center, P.O. Box 1772, 102 S. Main St., Gunnison, CO 81230.
Contributions will be matched by the MacAllister Family Foundation, of which Sue was a Director.