Susan was born in Phillipsburg, Kansas on March 19, 1959, to Norma Jean Hartford and Ashley J Ives. She attended grade school at Logan, Kansas and graduated high school in 1977 from Norton, Kansas. While in high school she was in the National Honor Society, excelled in debate, participated in plays, played clarinet in band, participated in chorus and earned the highest score on a solo at state competition. Her high school job was as a radio personality at KKAN in Norton, Kansas.
As a child she demonstrated her faith in Jesus Christ and accepted His gift of grace by following her Lord in holy baptism at the Christian Church in Logan, Kansas. It was her rare privilege to be baptized by her father who was the minister there.
The summer after high school graduation she and her sister Linda moved to Manhattan, Kansas and roomed together while Linda studied for her Master’s degree and Susan started her undergraduate coursework at K-State where she earned her Bachelor of Science, Social Sciences / Radio – TV Film.
Susan worked in Iola, Kansas as a radio personality for KIKS and then moved to Wichita, Kansas where she worked as a political aide for Congressman Dan Glickman.
She moved to Dallas, Texas and worked as a counselor for abused women.
She married Lloyd Kirk Stapler on November 26, 1993 in Dallas. Together they built their own website, a search engine called ClickYourOrder.com, and ran it for several years.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 she moved to Kansas City to be with her family. She taught art and web design at the Kansas City, Kansas Junior College until her declining health forced her to retire.
Her special passion was her participation in the science fiction community and attending Comic-con as a Klingon persona named K’Ehliy in a costume that was her original design. She was known by Star Trek fans as the Captain of the Imperial Klingon Ship “Midnight Legend.” Long before she began costuming as a Klingon, she earned a degree in Radio/TV/Film, and a degree in Arts and Technology with a minor in History of Architecture. A focus of her studies was identification of the distinguishing features of various styles of art and architecture. She developed an eye for the distinguishing features of clothing styles as well, and enjoyed creating costumes from ordinary clothing. As a lifelong Star Trek fan, she found that becoming a Klingon felt quite natural, and suited her well. She was a devotee of The Original Series, and especially enjoyed Deep Space Nine.
She was preceded in death by her husband Kirk Stapler and her father A.J Ives.
She is survived by her mother, Norma Ives, a sister Linda Ives of Overland Park, Kansas, a sister Nancy Ives Knab and her husband Conrad Knab of Kansas City, Missouri, and one brother, Robert Ives and his wife Sheila of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; nieces and nephews: Kara Robinson, Ashley Ives, Krista Dunkin and Ryan Ives; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Graveside services will be July 22 at 1 p.m. at Prospect Hill Cemetery, 21901 West Maple Road, Elkhorn, Nebraska, just west of Omaha, where she will be buried beside her father, her Grandmother Zona Jensen Hartford and her 2nd-Great-Grandmother Mary Coy Hartford.
In lieu of flowers Susan preferred donations to Pandas International in her name.
The biography of Susan’s persona, K’Ehliy, follows:
Bio of K’Ehliy (aka Susan Ives), Commanding Officer of the IKV Midnight Legend
I am Commanding Officer of the Imperial Klingon Vessel “Midnight Legend.” My name is pronounced similarly to Kaylee by Terrans, and that’s close enough if you will put a strong accent on the KAY.
My right to wear the Homeworld Badge is secured by right of my birth in the Capital City of Qo’Nos. I was a high-born daughter in House Ansara. House Ansara was a wealthy and influential House until much of its mining and agricultural assets were lost in the explosion of the moon Praxis. With the loss of the family’s prestige, House Ansara was not highly sought as an ally, and fell into decline. Without a strong House, I was invited to join House Kurkura, though not related by blood, and there I was fostered in the ways of the warrior. Eventually my interests turned to strengthening and rebuilding House Ansara. With much of the remaining resources of House Ansara, I commissioned the ship IKV Midnight Legend and began to assemble a worthy crew while re-establishing the position of my family. The Midnight Legend severed ties with all fleets and began operations as a rogue ship. Subsequently I took control of the position of Head of House Ansara. Although, traditionally, women do not become head of a House except for special circumstances, my search to find a suitable male heir was futile and I claimed that right myself.
The Midnight Legend developed a strong crew as we fought for the glory of the Klingon Empire. We were honored to be joined by the woman who seized control of House D’Ean in a bloody battle to the death, by a war hero decorated for courage, by a Klingon Imperial Marine… and as the valiant exploits of our rogue ship gained recognition throughout the galaxy, even the Federation offered an Exchange Officer to join our crew. A mighty Klingon House took notice, and I was adopted into House Trekkan, a worthy ally for House Ansara.