Farming Rural 20

Frances Belle Sustrich

1934 ~ 2022 (age 88)
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Frances Belle Sustrich, 88, of Salida died August 14, 2022 at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, CO. She was born January 4, 1934 in Brighton, NY to Daniel and LaBelle Barager. Mrs. Sustrich grew up in upstate New York and joined the Women’s Air Force during the Korean Conflict, serving as a Cryptographic Technician with a top level security clearance. Upon leaving the armed service, she moved to Denver in 1955, married Gilbert Wilkerson and had one daughter. She later remarried William Sustrich and welcomed his two sons and a daughter with her own daughter to create a blended family. They were married for 52 years. In 1968, Frances and her husband moved to Salida and purchased the Wagon Wheel Guest Ranch in Maysville. They owned and operated the lodging business for 50 years, creating a special place for families to come and enjoy the peaceful beauty of the mountains. Frances enjoyed creating her “little houses” and through the years, shared them with up to four generations as families returned year after year to enjoy her hospitality. She made a point to welcome her guests as her neighbors and many of them became cherished friends. Several said they admired her gracious spirit and creative mind. She enjoyed the outdoors and had a special affinity to the trees and the sounds of a trickling stream. She delighted in seeing the dandelions each spring, viewing their intricate beauty with the wonder of child-like appreciation. She loved animals and had a special connection to her cats. Family and friends said they admired her strength and her ability to face adversity with a positive attitude. Her joyful outlook on life will be missed. Mrs. Sustrich was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and her brother, Daniel Barager. Survivors include sister, Margaret Grant of Caledonia, NY; daughters, Andrea Wilkerson of Salida and Jennifer Reno of Pagosa Springs, CO; sons, William (Debbie) Sustrich of Sheridan, WY, Kenneth (Darlene) Sustrich of Bonanza, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. A celebration of her life for family and friends is TBA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Ark Valley Humane Society. Arrangements were with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home in Salida. Online condolences may be offered at

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