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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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8/30/2009 10:08:00 PM
Achievers: Retired teacher makes quilts to support Alzheimer's research
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Sue Weisshaupt holds up a quilt she recently made. Weisshaupt makes quilts and donates them to various charities and organizations such as wounded veterans and Alzheimer's research.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Sue Weisshaupt holds up a quilt she recently made. Weisshaupt makes quilts and donates them to various charities and organizations such as wounded veterans and Alzheimer's research.

Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier


Sue Weisshaupt said she began quilting as a hobby 15 years ago, using skills that she honed as a middle school math teacher.

"I sort of like the geometry," Weisshaupt said. "It's measuring. I just like how things come together."

Nowadays Weisshaupt, 59, of Williamson Valley quilts to support Alzheimer's research. Her mother, Sally Rychener, died from Alzheimer's in June 2006 at the age of 86, and her father, Rick, died from the related illness of dementia at 87 the following March.

Both her parents were living at the Margaret T. Morris Center for Alzheimer's patients in Prescott before they died.

Both diseases destroy the mind, and a cure remains elusive.

"It destroys everything," Weisshaupt said. "You never know what is going to be affected."

Weisshaupt said she learned about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative around the time of her mother's death from a friend who sent her a link in an e-mail.

The initiative has raised more than $290,000 for Alzheimer's research since January 2006, according to Ami Simms, founder and executive director.

The initiative inspired Weisshaupt, who has submitted her quilts for online auctions at http://www.alzquilts.org. The auctions are ongoing.

Weisshaupt said her parents inspired two quilts. She named a quilt "Going Home" in her mother's honor.

"My mother was always saying, 'I want to go home,'" Weisshaupt said. She sold the quilt for $51, with the proceeds benefiting Alzheimer's research.

Weisshaupt said she named another quilt "Patriot's Dream" in honor of her father, who was the first member of his Mennonite family to serve in the military. That quilt sold for $35.

She said she sold another quilt that was a set of four with Hawaiian-styles.

However, she did not display any of her quilts when the Alzheimer's organization brought a traveling show to Prescott - and Arizona for the first time - during the weekend of Aug. 15 and 16. The event drew more than 300 people to the First Lutheran Church, and raised about $960 in donations, according to Simms.

Quilts take as few as four hours to make, Weisshaupt said, adding she uses a sewing machine.

Weisshaupt, a native of Mercedes, Texas, is retired from teaching in Los Angeles and Simi Valley, Calif. Her husband, Jack, is retired from the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Editor's note: If you have a suggestion of a local person to feature in Achievers, call 445-3333, ext. 2041, or send an e-mail to khedler@prescottaz.com.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, September 06, 2009
Article comment by: Michele in Salem, Oregon

A lovely woman, two wonderful causes, and I know...many, many wonderful quilts! Thanks to dear women like this, our hearts can be heard around the world as we quilt for meaningful causes.

Posted: Saturday, September 05, 2009
Article comment by: Chardel Blaine

How wonderful to channel creative energy toward a cure.

Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Article comment by: Marcia Middents

What a wonderful way to honor the memory of your parents, Sue. Thank you for helping with this cause. For anyone who's interested, there is an auction going on until 9/10 at www.alzquilts.org. Marcia Middents

Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Article comment by: Bobbie Hanson

Minds of the future that are cured before this devastating disease can take its toll will be thankful that quilters loved enough to put needle to cloth to raise funds for a cure. Thanks for this wonderful story and thanks to quilters everywhere who help in this very special way.

Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Article comment by: Jodie Davis

The total raised is now $305,000. Amazing! Love is a powerful thing.

Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Article comment by: JC

Thanks for spreading the word about AAQI and how people like Sue Weisshaupt are taking the time and effort to help others.

Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Article comment by: Valerie

Thank you Sue and Ami and all those who donate art quilts and those who volunteer for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative to help stamp out this terrible disease.

Posted: Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Article comment by: Lois Jarvis

I too make quilts for Ami Simms. She is fond of saying, " ogether we can defeat this disease one quilt at a time."

Posted: Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Article comment by: ML

Mrs. Weisshaupt put her grief into working for a wonderful cause. Not only is her quilting therapuetic but also brings income to help conquer Alzheimer's. Thank you for publishing this article.

Posted: Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Article comment by: Marlene Woodfield

As a fellow AAQI quiltmaker, I say, "Keep making the small quilts. We WILL help conquer this disease." Marlene Woodfield

Posted: Monday, August 31, 2009
Article comment by: Diane Petersmarck

Nice feature on a courageous woman who is actively working to destroy the demons of Alzheimer's.

Posted: Monday, August 31, 2009
Article comment by: Ami Simms

It is so wonderful to see the accomplishments of our supporters celebrated. Thank you for the wonderful article on Sue Weisshaupt. Way to go, Sue! Thank you for threading your needle for Alzheimer's research. Ami Simms, Founder/Executive Director, Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative



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