Cover photo for Peggy Susan Cheney's Obituary
1947 Peggy 2023

Peggy Susan Cheney

October 19, 1947 — August 16, 2023

Loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, mother-in-law, and friend.

Our beloved Susan Cheney, born Peggy Susan Leach in Derry, New Hampshire on October 19th, 1947, passed away August 16, 2023; leaving behind a legacy of profound individuality, incredible resilience, and indelible creativity.

Susan's early years were spent in Falls Church, Virginia alongside her parents, Elsa Margaretha Wilkes Neilson, and Fernald Joseph Leach. As she grew into a young woman, her adventurous spirit led her to the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Susan's love of nature, gardening, horses, and art blossomed in the Mountain State. She lived in Morgantown, Arthurdale and attended Fairmont State College, earning her degree in Art Education.

It's also where she met the love of her life and true soulmate, Ret. Command Sergeant Major, David Chester Cheney. They built a life together in Fayetteville, North Carolina, blending their families to raise their children: David Jr., Becky, Kameron, and Shireen. During her time in the South, Susan became a dedicated military wife and an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Then the West came calling and Susan answered. She was more than happy to take on another great adventure. She adored every aspect of living in New Mexico and quickly made her mark on "The Land of Enchantment," with the different strokes of her paint brushes; creating and showcasing her oil canvases in different art galleries around the state, even one on prestigious Canyon Road.

After years of painting, she turned a different stroke, and jumped into the beauty business, opening three chic nail salons in Los Alamos, White Rock, and Santa Fe, respectively. While living in Albuquerque, Cochiti Lake and Pena Blanca, Susan took up many different hobbies, but nothing fulfilled her more than her beloved Shih Tzus. She always mused, "They show me unconditional love."

What started out as a few cute doggies turned into a masterful display of Shih Tzu breeding. That's when "Su Chen Shih Tzu Kennel" was officially born. Her reputation in the dog world was one of great respect and admiration. She was a Breeder of Merit with the American Kennel Club and a member of the American Shih Tzu Club, producing champion show dogs as well as loving pets for many deserving families, for more than 20 years.

There was one other thing she truly loved: food. Through the years, Susan found happiness in her kitchen, cooking, and feeding her family and friends. She brought people together in many ways, but being a culinary connoisseur was one of her extraordinary superpowers. Mixed with her beautiful smile, warm laughter and unbridled wit, Susan seemed to have found the perfect recipe to a life well-lived and those of us lucky enough to have known her were all the better for it.

Susan is preceded in death by her mother, Elsa Margaretha Wilkes Neilson; her father, Fernald Joseph Leach: her brother: William Haines; her sister, Joan Fern Leach Erven and her stepmother, Carrie A. Gallaher.

She is survived by her devoted husband, David Cheney and her four children: David Cheney Jr. & wife, Risa Cheney; Rebecca Cheney Clark & husband, Charles Clark; Kameron Cheney; Shireen Cheney Sandoval & husband, Dr. John Chang.

Susan will be missed by her beloved grandchildren: Kamali Suzahn Houston, Levi Elijah Cheney, James Clark & wife, Kandace Clark, Joshua Cheney & wife, Rebekah Cheney, Jon Cheney & wife, Lori S Cheney, Rachel C Flatt & husband, Tanner Flatt, Cheyenne Clark & Maria Clark

Survived by her sisters Judith Leach & husband, Rodney Leach, Nancy Leach Paciga & husband, Danny Paciga, Susan Leach Jack, Patty J Noe & husband, Ken Noe and Laura Leach Devlin & husband, Dave Devlin and many nieces and nephews.

Preceded by her sisters Harriett Parsons, Leila Babbidge, Joan Price, Priscilla Sinclair and Cynthia Percy and brother, Harold Edwin Leach.

A loving thank you to the Alba family.

A visitation will be held 6-8:00pm Monday, August 28th, 2023, at FRENCH-Wyoming. A funeral service will be held 10:00am Tuesday, August 29th, 2023, at the Chester T. French Mausoleum Chapel, 924 Menaul Blvd NE.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Peggy Susan Cheney, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, August 28, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Chester T. French Memorial Mausoleum Chapel

924 Menaul Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87107


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