Susan Hassenplug

Susan Hassenplug
Provided Photo


January 6, 1946 – July 12, 2021

Susan Kathleen Hassenplug passed away peacefully in the early hours of July 12, 2021 at her home in North Lake Tahoe, CA surrounded by her family after a year-long battle with cancer.

Susan was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 6, 1946. She attended Placer High School and her family hosted Auburn’s first international exchange student, Sylvia Vietina, with whom Susan maintained a life-long friendship. Following her graduation at California State University, Chico, she received a master’s degree in Social Work from California State University, Sacramento. During this time, she married her first husband and welcomed her son David.

Later, she went on to work for Big Brothers Big Sisters and eventually met her second husband, John Hassenplug. Together they raised their son Chuck and built a beautiful log cabin, and Susan spent the next 33 years putting to work her keen eye for interior design, bargain hunting, and master gardening. She poured her creativity and whimsy into every corner and outdoor space for the joy of all who lived and visited there.

Susan joined Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, CA as a social worker and in 1999, she helped found the hospice services there, which has since provided end-of-life comfort to many Tahoe area residents and their families. She retired in 2008.

Throughout her life, Susan dedicated herself to her family, friends, and community in many ways. She loved her friends dearly and was the most giving of persons to friends and strangers alike. She enjoyed knitting, sewing (she sewed her own wedding dress!), gift wrapping, holiday decorating, and attending garage sales and local events. She was active in several book clubs and other social and service clubs. She and her husband purchased a home in Mexico in 2004 where they spent many seasons walking around town, gardening and volunteering, including knitting hats for the local children. “Cha-Cha” was a wonderful grandmother who loved to spoil her grandchildren and cheer at all of their events.

Susan was preceded in death by her father, Dr. Robert Charles Rath. She is survived by her husband of 43 years John Hassenplug, mother Jane, brother Bob (Jeannine), sons David (Katie) and Chuck (Marta), step-daughter Suzi, nephew Robert (Laura) and niece Katie (Ryan), grandchildren Julian, Ava, Maya, and Lucas, and dog Alfie. Her family and many friends surrounded her up to her last days.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing” was her motto and she applied it to everything she did.

A Celebration of Life service will be held in Tahoe at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to support the Tahoe Forest Hospital’s Hospice Services. (

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