Ottilie Susan Kammerhuber Trammel
December 2, 1930 ~ May 31, 2023
Ottilie Susan Trammel, known by most as “Susan,” passed away peacefully early Wednesday morning May 31, 2023, at the CarePartners Solace Center.
Born in Ternberg, Austria, Susan grew up in wartime and post-war Europe. Her family had a farm on the mountain above the town. In the winter, she would ski down the mountain to school, but she always had to walk back up the mountain to get home. Her mother would sometimes send her into town to pick up bread and salami. She once ate all the crust off the bread on the long walk back up the mountain and another time she ate most of the salami, which didn’t make her mother happy. One of her favorite stories was of the ram that butted her off her swing when she was a child.
Her mother died when she was 12 and she lived with her grandfather until he passed. She was always independent and a bit feisty, even as a young girl. At the age of 13 or 14 Susan hopped a train to Vienna with a girlfriend because her aunt tried to give her to a pig farmer. She was having none of that! Once she returned to Ternberg, the welfare department placed her with a family that had a barbershop. She earned her room and board there working as a barber. When she was 18, Susan and several girlfriends went to England in response to an advertisement for hospitality jobs. While working there, Susan picked up much of her English and when she returned to Austria in 1950, she went back to working in the barbershop and got her training as a hairdresser.
One day when she was at a restaurant with her cousin Fritzi, she met a young American soldier who was stationed in a nearby town. This soldier, whom she nicknamed Johnny, was from Hot Springs, NC. They fell in love, and he asked her to marry him. Before he was transferred back to the US in 1952, they made a plan to meet in Montreal, Canada to be married. Susan arranged for her own passage to Montreal and got a job working in a hotel restaurant. Later that year, Everette met her in Montreal and on September 9 they were married. Several months after their marriage, he moved back to Asheville, NC to get a job. Meanwhile, Susan stayed in Montreal awaiting her visa approval. When this process proved problematic, Susan had to rely on her mother-in-law for support. Once Susan shared she was pregnant, her mother-in-law pulled a few strings to help her and sent Susan a bus ticket to NC.
Susan fell in love with western NC because the mountains reminded her of home. She and Everette spent most of their lives together in Enka-Candler, where they raised three children. Education was always very important to Susan, and she frequently stressed the need for higher education to her children. Even though Susan was educated in Austria, she completed the studies required by the American School in Chicago and received her high school diploma in 1968. The following year Susan became a naturalized US citizen. Susan and Everette were married for 67 years before he passed away in March of 2020.
She is survived by two daughters, Sylvia Terry (Dan Terry) and Sharon Trammel (Steve Busey); one son, John Trammel (Ruth Trammel); and three grandchildren, Taylor Deskins (Danny Deskins), Andrew Terry and Samantha Terry.
Special thanks to the staff of the CarePartners Solace Center for their compassionate care of Susan in her final days.
Visitation will be held at Groce Funeral Home on Patton Ave at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 9.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Asheville Greenworks for a tree to be planted in her memory at ashevillegreenworks.org/donate or to Loving Food Resources as a tribute gift in her name at lovingfood.org/what-you-can-do/donate to support hospice home care.