Gwendolyn “Sue” Rucker Wickham was a woman of excellent character who feared the Lord, loved her family well, served selflessly and lived out her faith genuinely. She was a prayer warrior, cancer survivor, life-long learner, avid reader and lover of cats, tea, bluebonnets and dark chocolate. Above all, she treasured God’s Word, studying it daily, sharing it with others and seeking to live by it in all she did.
She was born on March 8,1936 to Benjamin Tarver “B.T” and Obeda Rucker in Wheeler, Texas. Her father was the superintendent of schools (among the youngest in the state) and her mother was a teacher. She soon had two younger brothers, Ben and Don, that she loved dearly. They moved to Shallowater and Amherst before settling in Lubbock. The Ruckers were active members of First Baptist Church of Lubbock where Sue accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior in Sunday school at a very young age. Growing up, Sue was in the 4H Club and Girl Scouts of America. She attended Lubbock High School and had a very precious group of nine girlfriends (the “M’s”) who remained close, travelled together and encouraged one another throughout their entire lives. Although Sue was never proud of this, Buddy Holly was a Lubbock High classmate, and he and his band played at their school dances and school assemblies.
After high school, along with most of her friends, Sue continued living at home but enrolled at Texas Tech, several miles away. She enjoyed her involvement in the Civil Air Patrol, the Ground Observer Corps, the Future Teachers of America, the Baptist Student Union and the Tech Flying Club while majoring in Math and minoring in Spanish. With a little encouragement from her educator parents, she got her teaching certification, as well. During her senior year, she had the opportunity to study in Mexico for a couple of months, an experience she always spoke of fondly.
After graduation, Sue got her first job as an analyst at Semco Aircraft in the big city of Dallas. She later became a scientific computing analyst at Temco Aircraft (later merging to become LTV). She was one of two women in a very male-dominated industry of aerospace engineering. She also began attending First Baptist Church of Dallas and was involved in the singles ministry where she met lifelong friends, future roommates and her husband, Hugh.
Hugh and Sue were married in 1961 and had three children, Darren, Devin and Deanna. She became a stay-at-home mom who lovingly and tirelessly served others. She volunteered at their schools, in boy scouts, in girl scouts, and various booster clubs. At church, she taught 4th grade Sunday School and Vacation Bible School (both at FBC and on mission trips in the Rio Grande Valley), served as an advisor at church camp, was an active member in the Pathfinder Sunday School class, and taught ESL classes. She also counselled for the Need Him ministry and played the piano at a nursing home for a church service every Sunday afternoon for over 25 years. She worked at Criswell College in the business office for many years and was an active member of the Criswell Women’s Club. She and Hugh also took three amazing trips to Israel that they both always cherished.
On March 10, 1998, 2 days after her birthday, she and Hugh became grandparents, a job that they both loved dearly, took seriously and performed exceptionally well. They had four grandchildren, Caleb, Jared, Benjamin and Gloria. They were their grandchildren’s biggest fans and supporters. Sue lived out her faith to her family first. She taught them Bible verses, prayed with them and enjoyed spending as much time as possible with them. She especially loved taking them on special outings and trips.
Sue had many gifts. One was the gift of encouragement, whether it be in person, on a phone call or most often letters or cards. She was a lifelong letter writer who never forgot a birthday or missed an opportunity to send an encouraging word or relevant newspaper clipping. Another one of her gifts was generosity. She and Hugh loved to secretly give generous gifts. They found immense joy in finding needs and meeting those needs whenever possible. She always went out of her way to show kindness and love to the people she met, and over the years she took many young people under her wing, caring for them as an adoptive mother. A perfect example of Sue using all the gifts above was the Hernandez family from Venezuela, which consisted of a single mother with five children, whom Sue adopted as her own after they moved into the neighborhood.
Sue is survived by her children: son Darren and his wife Melissa of Dallas; son Devin, and his wife, Sara of Irving, their son, Benjamin in San Antonio and their daughter, Gloria soon-to-be in Montana; daughter Deanna and her husband, Stan of Irving, their son Caleb and his wife, Alexis in Plano and their son Jared, and his soon-to-be wife, Beatrice (soon-to-be in Singapore); Sue’s brother, Ben Rucker of Eden, Texas; niece, Debra Brown of Lubbock; and nephew, Clay Rucker of Eden. Sue’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Kenneth and Diane Wickham of Irving; her nieces, Katrina Mason of Irving and Kenita Dougharty of Denton. Also, a very dear caregiver, Joan Rogers-Gaither.
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