Susan Trovillion Salm passed away peacefully to heaven Thursday, January 21, 2021, under hospice care in A Good Old Days Home Care in Reno, Nevada. Susan was born on October 22, 1940 in Vienna, Illinois, the first child of Robert Louis Trovillion and Genevieve Trover Trovillion. A year after Susan was born, the family moved to Evansville, Indiana. Sister Sarah came along in 1952. Throughout Susan’s youth, the family traveled throughout the US, visiting national parks and monuments.
Susan’s early years were spent in several elementary schools in Evansville and graduated from Benjamin Bosse High School in 1958–the school her future mother-in-law, Hannah Strauss Salm, attended and graduated in the school’s first graduating class of 1925. During her high school years, Susan received piano instruction from the Preparatory School of the Evansville College’s Department of Music.
While in Evansville College, now the University of Evansville, Susan was on the Dance Committee, secretary of the Methodist Student Movement, dedicated service to the Christian Vocations Conference, and was vice-chairman of the Union Board’s Entertainment Committee. Susie, as she was affectionately known, was also on the Play Committee and the Pep Club. Susan graduated from Evansville College in 1962. During her college years, Susan worked for Salm’s, a local department store, where she met her future husband, U.S. Navy veteran Michael Charles Salm. They married in Evansville’s Methodist Temple on May 25, 1962 and honeymooned in New Orleans.
Early in their marriage, Michael and Susan lived in Oklahoma City, where Susan taught first and fourth grades. They returned to Evansville and opened The House of Michael in the late 60s, one of the first women’s clothing stores in Evansville to specialize in designer fashions from such couturiers as Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent, and Pierre Cardin. During this time, Susan worked for the Evansville-Vanderburgh County School System. They were members of the Evansville Junior Chamber (the Jaycees), where Susan was a board of director member for Jaycee Wives. She was a charter member of the Wesselman Park Nature Center Society and its publicity chairman for several years.
They moved to Indianapolis in 1974, and for a year, Susan taught in the Indianapolis Public School system. With a strong interest in American history and patriotism, Susan applied for and was accepted as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1977. During her years with the Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter, she was active in the Board of Management, where she was Chapter Historian for two years. She was project co-chair for the Wheel and Distaff Americanism Committee, serving as its first vice-chairman. She was the Senior Society President of the Children of the American Revolution’s Old Glory Chapter. Susan’s volunteerism extended to other civic and political organizations, including the Clowes Hall Women’s Committee, the President Benjamin Harrison Foundation, where she was the director of public relations for several years and proud of being chair of the Republican Precinct Committee during Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. While the family lived in Savannah, Georgia for three years, Susan was public relations director and vice-president of the Savannah Young Peoples Theatre’s executive board. She was a docent in the Telfair Academy Museum, a historic mansion that is the oldest public art museum in the South.
The family moved to Houston, Texas in 1986, where Michael started his own consultancy as a budget and reimbursement specialist for hospitals and nursing home companies. Susan volunteered for the Heritage Society, a foundation supporting ten historic homes in Sam Houston Park and was on its Board of Trustees. She served as docent chairman and managed publicity for several annual Candlelight tours. Her dedication to DAR blossomed. She was Regent of the Alexander Love Chapter for two years, where membership grew to more than 200 members. Susan was Chairman of the Houston Area Regents Council comprising 11 chapters at the time. She was Texas Society of DAR Division V chairman and liaison between the State Board and 25 area chapters. Her love of history led her to be State Historian of the Texas Society of DAR for three years. One of her great interests was supporting families of soldiers staying in Fisher Houses near VA hospitals, and she enjoyed being co-chair of a 2005 DAR-Houston Fisher House benefit which raised $10,000 for the Fisher House near the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
Susan enjoyed being part of lineage groups. She was a member of the National Society of New England Women’s Deacon John Tenney Colony for many years. She was a 16-year member of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and in 2007 she was one of five members to organize the Sarah Emma Edmonds Detached Tent #4 and its first president. She was also a member of the National Society of Southern Dames of America.
In 2019, Susan moved to Reno to be closer to family. She is survived by her son, Robert Salm of Chicago; sister Sarah (Craig) Parks; nephews Todd (Lauren) Schwartz, Marc (Ellen) Salm, and Eric (Diane) Parks; brother-in-law Peter Salm; and nieces Karen (Mitchell) Padnos and Sarah (Jason) Lee. Susan had many friends and family surrounding her with love throughout her long life. Her childhood was filled with happy memories with her cousin Millie Broadway Nasello and lifelong friend, Sharon Crawford Berridge. She has many Houston friends and was particularly close with her “adopted” family of Mike and Megan Markiewicz and their daughters Caitlyn and Claire, whom she adored. She also enjoyed spending time with Robert’s friend Paul Aman, referring to him comically as her adopted nephew. For almost twenty years, Susan loved taking friends and family to Houston’s Radio Music Theatre for “Fertle Family” performances. She and Michael enjoyed taking day trips to small towns around Houston and was always in the hunt for good biscuits and gravy.
Most importantly, Susan was grounded in her faith and was a member of the Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston before moving to Reno. Arrangements were handled by the Neptune Society, and a military service and interment will take place at a later time at Houston National Cemetery. Memorials in Susan’s honor may be made to Fisher House, (fisherhouse.org/ways-to-give).