Susan Wells Gautsch

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Tryon— When we are born, we fight for that first breath that keeps us alive and we also fight for that last breath that ends our lives. Susan Wells Gautsch did just that and more when she learned that she had pancreatic cancer back in 2021 and overcame it only to find out that the tumor had spread to her liver. Susan died peacefully in her home with her family at her bedside on February 19, 2024.

Susan was born March 16, 1954, in New York City to her proud parents Kathryn and David A. Wells. The family moved to Mountain Lakes, New Jersey with her older sister Carolyn (who predeceased Susan in 2012) a brief time later. Sue and her sister became interested in horseback riding when Sue was eight years old, and Sue became an equestrian rider, winning two Medal Maclay’s when she was in high school with her horse “Swinging Warrior”.

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Sue attended Rutgers University where she became a member of the Rutgers women’s crew team and graduated with a criminal justice degree.

After completing college, she took a job with a company called Vydec which was later sold to Exxon Office Systems. She managed a staff of customer service representatives and was responsible for client product training which included DOS and Word Perfect among other software packages. She later worked for Sprint, in a management role for a few years. She had a gift of sales, teaching, and entrepreneurship. She held many different roles throughout her career including her own business called “Treasures to Bid” reselling antiques. On the side, she still made time for her passion, which included teaching riding lessons at North Jersey Equestrian Center in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Sue’s last job as an administrator at an elementary school in Morristown, New Jersey, that she loved the most. Working with children gave her great love and pleasure.

She married Thomas Gautsch in 1977 and was a devoted mother to her two sons: Andrew and Russell. The family resided in Boonton Township, New Jersey for over thirty years. Sue and Tom separated and later divorced in 2005. They reunited in 2018 and moved to Tryon, North Carolina a year later.

On any given day you could find Sue either riding her horse, fishing, baking, gardening, sewing, browsing estate sales, enjoying the jersey shore, or traveling up to Canada visiting her beloved cottage. She had many talents, however one of her best talents was surrounding herself with amazing and supportive friends. She shared many common interests with them and always reminded herself how lucky she was to have them in her life.

Sue is survived by her mother Kathryn Wells of North Carolina, who just turned 100 years old, her two wonderful sons Andrew of New Jersey and Russell of Queens, New York, Tom Gautsch of North Carolina, Jesse her beloved rescue dog of 12 years and “Secret Story”, her horse whom she loved to ride. Additionally, all her close friends David Felts, Patty Nagle, Cindy Beradino and so many others will always be in her heart.

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel & Crematory
Tryon, NC