Susan Handley Amaral, “Grama Sue, Mrs. Amaral, or Toots,” as many knew her, passed away comfortably in her sleep at age eighty on December 22nd, 2021, after a six-year-long battle with Ovarian Cancer. She was surrounded by her sons and family in Paso Robles, California.
Susan was born on October 12th, 1941, and grew up in the Salinas Valley with her parents, Erma Woodworth Handley and Howard Denton Handley. She was preceded in death by her siblings, Tim Handley and Tonya Eckman, and her husband, Robert Amaral.
On June 21st, 1964, she married and moved to Paso Robles in 1968, where she would call home until her passing. Leaving behind her sons, Mark and Darren (Wendy) Amaral, her grandchildren, Joseph Amaral, Kiley Williams, Brandon Pacheco, and a lifetime of dear friends, family, and past students.
Susan graduated from Cal Poly State University with her teaching degree and was highly active in the Future Homemakers of America Association. She will always be remembered by her students as an exceptional teacher. She inspired high school students across the Salinas Valley and in Paso Robles. She taught Home Economics at King City High School (1964-1966), Gonzales High School (1966-1968), and Paso Robles High School from 1970 until she retired in July of 2001.
Susan Amaral touched more lives than she will ever know. She was always there to greet you with a smile and support her loved ones in any endeavor they chose to pursue. Along with her own sons and grandchildren, she had a long list of “adopted extra children and grandchildren” that she would take under her wing. She loved to travel and was always ready for an adventure! After retiring from teaching, she spent her time traveling with her friends and family and barrel racing on her horse with her granddaughter.
Susan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2016 and began a long process of surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. Throughout her fight with cancer, she never once gave up hope, and she never stopped living her life to the fullest. Getting back on her horse as soon as possible following each treatment was her top priority. Her greatest joys were being on the back of a good horse, attending rodeos or cattle shows, and most importantly, having her family together. Not even cancer could keep her from doing what she loved.
Susan had a special place in her heart for Mission San Miguel in San Miguel, California. A public service will be held there on Saturday, March 26th, at 1 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please send charitable donations in her name to Mission San Miguel.