Voracious reader, reciter of Shakespearean monologues, passionate traveler, aspiring novelist, accomplished actor, champion debator, public health advocate, community activist, and proud mother of two. In her obituary and at her memorial, friends and family painted a portrait of a woman full of life and humor, rich in personal connections and deeply engaged in the world:
“Always the smartest woman in the room.” Susan’s intelligence, wisdom and compassion were evident to all who knew her. She understood the meaning of loyalty, and stood by those she loved. She was good at everything to which she turned her attention. At home, this meant tending a lush garden, five hens, a fish pond, a bee hive, a worm box, and of course her beloved cat.
“Gentle, perceptive, wise, content.” An incredible problem-solver, a loyal confidant, a life raft during a crisis, a disarming wit. She hated injustice, stood up for her beliefs, and was fearlessly articulate for a cause. Susan researched everything, and her rational explanations were calm, funny, helpful, unpretentious.
“A welcoming warmth.” The thing about Susan is that she was always there – when times were joyful and times were sad, when there were new challenges to be met or old memories to rekindle…. When I was asked to teach my first class, and I called her terrified, because I had no idea how to do it – and she gave me the perfect advice. When this happened… and that happened… and when nothing in particular happened, I just wanted to chat….
“Offbeat, artistic and all-around good sport.” Susan gave meaning to the cliche “pillar of the community”…. Art classes and tai chi and book club and a singing group and, fresh from her triumph in Hamlet, she had just signed up for an acting class… To say nothing of those ridiculous chickens — which, it turns out, not only delighted her and gave her eggs, but ultimately ended up as meat and soup when the time was right… Many people spoke of the quiet kindnesses she had done them over the years…
Speaking Out for Susan
Immediately after Susan died, dozens of people reached out to authorities to raise their suspicions. Among their written comments:
“In all the years I knew Susan, I never saw her stumble or lose control. She was a sure-footed, strong and confident woman. She did not rush or act irrationally. She was intelligent, capable and careful…. I urge you to press for an investigation into this matter.”
“Moderation was part of Susan’s character. She was clear-headed, rational, organized and very responsible… I am hoping that sufficient care, time and resources will be put into determining the cause of Susan’s death… It is easiest to deal with the truth, whatever it turns out to be.”
“I feel that I know her well and that she was an exceptionally grounded, principled, and clear-headed person….”
Susan and I were in especially close touch during this difficult period … I have firsthand knowledge of how she was spending her time, and what her emotional state of mind was. She was sad, but very forward-looking, and most certainly in full intellectual and emotional control.
“Nothing will bring Susan back. But painstaking investigation and vigorous prosecution are not only the duties of your office; they will also be a fitting tribute to our late friend.”