Suzanne Elizabeth Bynum Vrana


Suzanne Elizabeth Bynum Vrana died peacefully on the evening of April 23, 2023 in Gonzales, TX. Her last wish was to be visited by the priest and she passed away within minutes of receiving her Last Rites. Her husband of 59 years, Rudolph Raymond (Rudy Ray) Vrana preceded her in death over three years ago. She is survived by her daughter Monica Vrana Atkinson of Gonzales, TX who was by her side throughout her final journey. Her son, Andrew William Vrana arrived from Houston and witnessed her in peaceful repose.

Suzanne was born in Houston, Texas on January 2nd, 1932 to Elizabeth “Bess” Virginia Kunz Bynum and Edwin Augustin Bynum. Her father was an engineer for Humble Oil in Ingleside where she grew up in the refinery company housing during WWII. She told stories of how they had to pull down blackout shades on the windows at night because of U-boats. Later, she moved to Baytown at the age of 14 where she graduated from Baytown High School. She moved to Austin for college, was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority and graduated from the University of Texas in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics with a focus on interior design. She moved to Houston and worked downtown as an interior decorator at Joske’s Department Store and later worked as a draftsman at Exxon Oil.

Having grown up on the water and moving back to Houston after college precipitated an interest in sailing. She crewed several vessels that won regattas. Her curiosity in different cultures and the arts led to her to travel to Mexico and Europe with friends and family. She later manifested this passion in her sewing and quilting practice that she pursued well into her later years. She met a painter and insurance agent in the 50’s in Montrose named Rudy at this time and found common interests and shared many good friends. They were married in 1961 and continued to travel and create together before settling down on Lou-Al Street in the forested Memorial area of Houston and gave birth to their two children, Monica, and Andrew in 1966 and 1969. During this busy time as a young parent, she received her teaching certificate and taught sewing to adults for 13 years. Rudy and Suzy purchased a weekend place in Gonzales in 1963 and in 1979, they packed up and moved to the ranch for good. She made many great friends during her time teaching at Happy House Preschool at the United Methodist Church, also for 13 years. She enjoyed being a member of the Spade & Trowel Garden Club and Women’s Study Club for many years where she loved socializing and opening her home to coffee meetings. Suzanne cultivated a beautiful garden, family, and friends for 91 years with us.

Suzanne is also survived by Monica’s husband Albert Dean Atkinson and their two children, Hannah, and Philip, as well as Andrew’s wife, Sophie Parker and their two boys, Luca and Nicolo (Nico), and her sister Madeline Anne Closmann and husband Phillip, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

The visitation will be Sunday, April 30, 2023 from 4-6pm at Seydler Hill Funeral Home and rosary at 6pm. The funeral mass will be Monday, May 1, 2023 at 10am in St. James Catholic Church with Fr. Jason Martini as Celebrant. Interment will follow in the Gonzales Catholic Cemetery. A reception at the St. James Parish Hall will follow the interment services. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Gonzales Catholic Cemetery Maintenance Fund where Suzanne commissioned a stone crucifix and the crepe myrtle grove.  Please call St. James Catholic Church and ask for Hope at (830) 672-2945 and they will direct the funds accordingly.  Suzanne received her first communion in the Catholic Church around 1940 and retained a deep faith and commitment to charity through the church over her lifetime. Her family would like to thank the kind assistance she received at Romberg House, with her personal caregivers and the Care Team Hospice Group. Friends may leave their condolences to the family by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.