GENEVA – Susan Tegeler was certified to instruct in both karate and kettlebell exercise, so her sudden death at age 41 on July 28 was completely unexpected, her husband D.J. Tegeler said.
“It is a shocker,” said Tegeler of Blackberry Township, a prominent Kane County defense attorney. The couple, who have one daughter, would have been married for 17 years in September.
Tegeler said his wife had outpatient arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in her left hip July 12 and was doing well, using crutches and doing rehab work on a stationary bicycle.
“It appears a blood clot came from her right calf; it went to her heart,” Tegeler said.
That morning, Tegeler said, his wife said she had trouble breathing. They thought it was asthma and called an ambulance, which took her to Delnor Hospital in Geneva.
“I said, ‘I’ll be right behind you,’ ” Tegeler said. “They pulled up and opened the door, and she said, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and her arms and head dropped, and that was it.”
Doctors’ efforts to revive her were unsuccessful, he said.
Susan Tegeler was well-known, working in the legal community for 20 years and also was a longtime supporter of the Geneva Public Library. Susan Tegeler had served as a library trustee, with the library’s foundation and friends group, said Library Board President Esther Steel.
“She was passionate about the library and making sure the library was a healthy, vibrant place,” Steel said. “It’s tragic. She will be sorely missed.”
Steel said Susan Tegeler never sought the limelight, but did the hard work needed to set up big fundraisers at the Geneva Country Club when the foundation was just starting out.
“She was instrumental in the organization and completion of huge events,” Steel said. “Her contributions to the library were endless.”
Susan Tegeler was the daughter of Sharon Brazill, a trustee on the Geneva Township Board.
D.J. Tegeler said he always told the story of how he met his future wife in divorce court where she clerked for a judge.
“I saw what I thought was this absolutely beautiful woman on the first floor of divorce court,” Tegeler said. “She saw me looking at her. She said, ‘What are you looking at?’ I said, ‘I’m looking at you.’ She said, ‘Don’t.’ ”
He apologized, and they started talking.
Nearly every judge in Kane County came to their wedding, he said.
“It was not because they liked me,” D.J. Tegeler said. “They knew and adored Susan.”
The visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, at Moss Family Funeral Home, 209 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, at First Baptist Church of Geneva, 2425 Keslinger Road, Geneva.