Range Funeral Homes


Suzanne Lee (Bray) Akerman

03/17/1956 - 10/06/2021

Suzanne Lee (Bray) Akerman lost her battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), at the age of 65 on October, 6, 2021, at Essentia Health Duluth-Miller Dwan in Duluth, Minnesota.

Suzanne was born March 17, 1956, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to Byron Floyd and Carolyn (Waltanen) Bray. She grew up on the Waltanen homestead in Cherry Township, Iron, Minnesota.

She graduated from Cherry High School in Iron, Minnesota in 1974.

Suzanne furthered her education at Hibbing Community College in Hibbing, Minnesota and The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, receiving a degree as a registered nurse, which was helpful as a loving caregiver for family members.

On Aug. 19, 1995, she married Don Akerman. They resided in Zim, Minnesota. After being diagnosed with ALS, Don became her primary in-home caregiver.

Suzanne had a gift and a passion for her flower gardens, knowing the names and locations of all the plants. She had a desire to keep learning about everything, including electronic gadgets. Suzanne had a love for and a knowledge of classical music. She was intelligent, curious, kindhearted, beautiful inside and out, and always willing to help. She was known as a sweet and quiet spirit and was blessed with a loving family. Suzanne touched the hearts of everyone who knew her. Suzanne was a very important part of her younger sister Cynthia’s life, especially during Cynthia’s battle with ALS.

Most importantly, Suzanne placed her faith and confidence in the complete and finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross on her behalf. Suzanne knew without a shadow of a doubt that she would pass into the arms of her Savior forever, spending eternity in heaven.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Suzanne was preceded in death by her parents, Byron and Carolyn; brother, Byron Robert; and sister, Cynthia (Bray) Parkman.

She is survived by her loving husband of 26 years Don Akerman of Zim, Minnesota; son, Jordan Baker of Zim, Minnesota; nephews: Ted Parkman of Reno, Nevada, Tom Parkman of Sacramento, California, Nathan (Colleen) Bray of Iron, Minnesota; niece, Elizabeth (Jack) Martinez of Oceanside, California; father-in-law, Wayne Akerman of Iron, Minnesota; sisters-in-law: Bev Akerman of Burnsville, Minnesota, Sue (Ron) Warner of Ankeny, Iowa; brothers in-law: Bob (Pam) Akerman of Zimmerman, Minnesota, Dennis (Robin) Akerman of Pahrump, Nevada, James (Faye) Akerman of Virginia, Minnesota; and special family friend, Irene Baker of Buhl, Minnesota.

A special thank you to all of Suzanne’s providers and caregivers at Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, and Essentia Health Duluth-Miller Dwan in her final days. A very special thank you to Dr. Amber Erickson and all her colleagues over the past few months and to the ALS Association for all its support.

Suzanne is sadly missed by all her family and friends.

No services are planned at this time.  Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.

5 thoughts on “Suzanne Lee (Bray) Akerman”

  1. Suzanne and her Bray family were neighbors of my
    husband, Bill and I, along with our three children when
    we lived in the remodeled house that her Grandma
    Waltanen had occupied for many years. This took place
    during her growing up years, 1969 to 1980, when we moved into our home on River Road. We reconnected 5 years ago and again during her time living with ALS. She
    posted beautiful pictures of her flower gardens on Facebook. On May 3rd she sent me a typed letter explaining in detail what she was going through living
    with ALS. Her husband, Don, was her caregiver and did everything for her. She was not seeking pity, but was
    teaching an old neighbor who asked how she was doing,
    In certain terms so that I would understand. What that
    teaching did for me, I will be eternally grateful. Bless you,
    Don, for loving and caring for beautiful Suzanne. I know that she is with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and soaring with His angels! Thanks be to God. Love, Your neighbor, Elaine

  2. Kris (Matts) Heimes says:

    My deepest sympathy to Don and Jordan. I’ve been praying for you, that the Lord would bring comfort to your grieving hearts. It’s hard to type the correct letters through tears!
    Sue was always so kind and sweet to me, her shy and anxious younger cousin. I loved going to their house to “visit” and spend time with Cindi and Sue. It seemed as if there was always something new to explore, and lots of cats and kittens to play with. I always loved their stylish haircuts and cute clothes!
    We lost touch and didn’t see each other for many years but I’m so thankful that we reconnected. The tours of her yard and home was a beautiful sight to behold. Sue took the time to package and mail some iris bulbs to me in Nebraska. They came from Grandma Waltanen’s garden – complete with specific details on how to plant them! They are doing well and are very precious to me.
    It’s going to be hard for me to get used to this world without her, because she’s always been here. It’s hard when Facebook posts and text messages go silent. Because of our faith in Jesus, I look forward to reconnecting in Heaven someday! I will miss her but I know that she is alive and completely healed.

  3. Teresa T. Allen says:

    I will surely miss my friend, Zenna. We shared a hobby of flower gardening. She’d take many photos of her recent blooms and I would do the same. It was fun. Our friendship grew more in the recent years. She was a beautiful person and I’m so sorry for her family’s deep loss. We all have special memories of this great soul. She will be missed.

  4. Our sympathy goes out to the family of Suzanne Bray. She was a very lovely lady.

  5. Merle Helleckson says:

    My sympathy to you, Don and all her family. Suzanne was a very special part of our family. She will be missed by many.

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