Susan Lou Allen Herbst

Herbst Enlarge photo


Durango resident Susan Lou Allen Herbst died Monday, July 2, 2012, at her home. She was 82.

Known as “Sue,” she was born to Frank and Helen Reynolds Allen on Aug. 7, 1929, in Omaha, Neb. She had lived in Durango since 1994.

Mrs. Herbst grew up in the Midwest and graduated summa cum laude with a double major in sociology and psychology from the University of Nebraska.

On Sept. 16, 1951, she married Jurgen Herbst in a Quaker wedding in Lincoln, Neb.

Early in their marriage, the couple lived in Hanover, Germany, for several years. Prior to living in Durango, the Herbsts lived in Madison, Wis., for 30 years where Mrs. Herbst was active in politics.

She served as an aide to Mayor Paul Soglin in his first administration. She managed the campaigns of local and national candidates and then ran for office herself and served for 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Mrs. Herbst was recognized by the Madison YWCA as a “Woman of Distinction,” and upon her retirement from the Dane County Board, the Madison City Council declared March 8, 1994, “Sue Herbst Day” in recognition of her many contributions to the city of Madison.

“She was known for her wise counsel and self-effacing style,” her family said. “In her retirement in Durango, she also delighted in spending time with her granddaughter, Sheyanne. Sue was a lifelong feminist, and her husband Jurgen supported and took pride in her activism.”

In Durango, Mrs. Herbst continued her community involvement with the League of Women Voters of La Plata County, the Child Assault Prevention Program of the Sexual Assault Services Association and the Women’s Resource Center.

Mrs. Herbst is survived by her husband of almost 61 years, Jurgen Herbst, of Durango; daughters Stephanie Herbst of Durango and Anne Herbst of Boston; son, Kris Herbst, of Washington D.C.; brother, Pat Allen, of Sedalia, Mo.; sister, Sally Marshall, of Phoenix; and one granddaughter.

A celebration of life open house will be held between 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Ave. Friends may bring food if they’d like.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Friends Service Committee, AFSC Development, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102.