ForeverMissed

On April 7, 2019, Susan Lynn Freehling Axelrad-Lentz (b. 12/17/48 in Chicago, IL) passed away at her home in Chelsea, MI, surrounded by love, after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. And yet to say the disease defeated her is a misstatement. An indomitable spirit, she kept her infectious smile throughout, an inspiration to anyone lucky enough to know her. Susan devoted her career to educational research across southeast Michigan, the largest part spent in program development for the Pontiac (MI) school district. Even in retirement, she continued to be deeply involved in Michigan humanitarian causes such as One World One Family in Chelsea. She is survived by her husband, Dan Lentz; sons, Ben and Greg Axelrad; step-daughters, Shannon Sheridan and Heidi Lentz; grandchildren, Theron, Marlon, Brody, and Quinn; and her sister, Patsy (Freehling) O’Loughlin. Beloved by all she encountered, Susan will be dearly missed.

Posted by Sandra Peterson on April 7, 2021
Just now I'm remembering Susan's thoughtfulness. Sometimes at the Chelsea Senior Center we would go through the boxes of free greeting cards. She was looking for just the right card for some certain friend. We both would go home with a bunch of carefully chosen, pretty cards for friends and relatives. She was often thinking of what she might do for someone else.
Posted by Francie Snyder on April 7, 2021
Missing Susan’s always sunny disposition!
Posted by Greg Axelrad on April 7, 2021
2 years ago today she passed away peacefully - and the night before we enjoyed popsicles and laughs.

Thanks to all who've kept this page going!

RIP Mom
Posted by Pat Kaminsky on December 18, 2020
I think of Susan and Dan every time I walk by their home, which is almost daily lately as I get my "pandemic" outdoor exercise. Wonder what Susan would have thought of our pandemic situation. Oh, would she be mad at this outgoing national administration.  for sure.
Posted by Francie Snyder on December 17, 2020
Miss celebrating our birthdays with Susan every year!



Posted by Sandra Peterson on April 7, 2020
Today I'm spending time with Susan in my heart. I miss my Scrabble buddy, my lunch and movie companion at the Chelsea Senior Center. Such a very dear person and one of my best friends ever! ❤️
Posted by Sandra Peterson on December 18, 2019
I spent today remembering Susan. There are a number of young adults who, as children, wrote essays for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day years ago. I wonder how their lives were changed by thinking and writing for the essay contest? That was her "baby", and she loved sitting around the kitchen table pouring over kids' writing, trying to agree on scoring rubrics to choose a winner. 
Then there were the senior center lunches, movies, and Scrabble games.
She was a beautiful person in every way! Glad she was my friend! 
Posted by Pat Kaminsky on December 17, 2019
thinking of Susan today. and Dan and her much loved sons. Pat Kaminsky
Posted by William w. Freehling on April 15, 2019
Susan was my first cousin, daughter of Willard and Elaine Freehling. my aunt and uncle. Although I saw her when she was growing up, I didn't know her well until she entered the U. of Michigan. A lovely person who did not let her horrid disease kill her. All the Freehlings thank those who helped her endure and prevail.
Posted by Dan Lentz on April 14, 2019
Susan was my companion, my wife, my love for 27 years. She made me a better person. I miss her so.
Posted by Suzy Morse on April 13, 2019
I knew Susan from One World One Family. She was deeply committed to action to promote social Justice. Her dedication to the MLK essay contest greatly expanded the number and ages of people in the Chelsea area who were touched by Martin Luther King's legacy. She truly left the world a better and warmer place.
Posted by Pat Kaminsky on April 13, 2019
As Susan used to say: "you knew me before I was in a wheelchair". Through family connections... my husband and I had met her over the years at significant events... Greatly appreciated her work with One World One Family in Chelsea. We will miss our New Year's Eves together. So admire Dan's care for her.
Posted by Chic Foote on April 13, 2019
I first met Susan 25 years ago when we worked together in the MI/NZ BSM Project at OU. Susan was a wonderful friend and colleague over those years. She was deeply thoughtful, kind and always ready for some fun! I loved working alongside Susan and her learned so much from her over the years. Sending our sympathy to you all for your loss, from New Zealand
Posted by Francie Snyder on April 12, 2019
The first time I met Susan almost thirty five years ago, we learned that we shared birthdays, our kids’ ages and our deep Chicago roots. It was just the beginning of a wonderful friendship that flourished and grew, through the kids’ and then through monthly lunches at Buddy’s with our group of four buddies, celebrating our birthdays, going to the theater, traveling to Stratford and then to Chelsea. As it became more difficult for Susan to travel, we shared wonderful monthly dinners. Through all of her many challenges, Susan remarkably maintained her optimism and sense of joy. I will miss her beautiful smile and will always cherish the wonderful friendship we had.
Posted by Joanne Ladio on April 12, 2019
I was one of the many people who got to know Susan through One World One Family. We became good friends.  I sent the following to all her friends in OWOF: 
In the early days of OWOF, we had great success sponsoring an essay contest - and that was Susan's work. She had the idea and led the rating and judging groups - all from her wheelchair. Many people in the community still recall the essay contest - it was one of our more memorable achievements. Most of us never knew Susan without MS, but she was a wonderful role model for us. Even though she had limitations, she was still ready to do whatever she could to fight racism and discrimination and make life better for others. Even as MS took its toll, she stayed engaged in politics and news and was always curious about what was going on.  We'll miss her smile and good cheer!
Posted by Joan Firestone on April 12, 2019
About 30 years ago Susan and I became ‘Buddies’, as four women established a monthly lunch date at the Buddy’s Pizza near our work. Over the years we expanded the group to include our husbands and together enjoyed many activities and adventures. The ‘Buddies’ have continued to get together every month or two and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at an Italian Restaurant just a few weeks ago.
While Susan’s physical challenges increased over the years her smile, spirit, optimism and pride in sharing her son’s accomplishments never diminished and always inspired me. We would listen sympathetically when she complained about how Dan, for no good reason she could understand, insisted she stop using the gas burners or not eat foods that presented chocking hazards but so admired their deeply loving relationship and the wonderful care he continued to give her throughout the years. Susan will forever stay a Buddy in my heart and I will continue to cherish all my wonderful memories of her.
Posted by Susan Morrel-Samuels on April 10, 2019
Susan's infectious smile and unfailing optimism were an inspiration. She had an equally strong devotion to fairness and justice, and worked to express and enact those values. A beautiful soul who will be missed by her family, friends and neighbors.
Posted by Jan Bernath on April 10, 2019
I met Susan when she was heading up an evaluation project for writing related to MLK day essays in Chelsea. I was familiar with this type of scoring and was impressed by her leadership in her new "hometown".....Dan's devotion to Susan was a testimony to their love for one another that was evident to all.
Posted by Sandra Peterson on April 10, 2019
Susan was my dear friend for many years, from the early 2000's when we met though our work with the One World One Family Task Force. She especially loved helping to organize the Martin Luther King day essay contest for Chelsea public schools. We met at Susan and Dan's home to read the children's essays, and Susan's evaluations were much respected.
Friday afternoons at the Chelsea Senior Center were our special regular time for lunch, Wiii bowling, and movies. When not there, we were playing Scrabble at her house. Great memories, great fun, and so much love! And all this was often followed by a cup of coffee and more conversation with Dan.
Posted by Ken Axelrad on April 10, 2019
We had a long and twisting path together. We created two wonderful sons. Through it all we remained friends and could still reminisce about the old days and laugh together. I will miss her greatly.
Posted by Jan Loveland on April 10, 2019
Susan and I met when I moved to Pembroke Road in Huntington Woods. I was a bit apprehensive about meeting new neighbors, but she was very good at putting me at ease. We talked about being young mothers and she helped orient me to my new surroundings. After each of us had left those places far behind, Dan and Susan moved down the block —again! And though she didn't remember me from those days, it was wonderful to reconnect. She was one of those friends who makes you realize what a gift they are. I am sorry for your loss in Chelsea, where I know she was involved in many people's lives as ever. My best to all of you in this moment.
Posted by Heidi Lentz on April 10, 2019
Susan, I can't put into words how truly special you were to me. I've never felt anything but love and sincerity from you. I will miss you tremendously, and I'm so grateful to have had you in my life. Thank you so much for loving me and children as your own. Your absence is so profound, I love you Susan.
Posted by Greg Axelrad on April 10, 2019
My mom will always be my biggest inspiration... she had the most contagious smile and aura. A tremendous influence in my life and a person who I will miss dearly. Love you mom!
Posted by Ben Axelrad on April 10, 2019
I am learning Susan was so many things to so many people. I am extraordinarily lucky to be one of the two people who knew her as mom. She was a source of so much comfort, support and love, and I will miss her tremendously.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Sandra Peterson on April 7, 2021
Just now I'm remembering Susan's thoughtfulness. Sometimes at the Chelsea Senior Center we would go through the boxes of free greeting cards. She was looking for just the right card for some certain friend. We both would go home with a bunch of carefully chosen, pretty cards for friends and relatives. She was often thinking of what she might do for someone else.
Posted by Francie Snyder on April 7, 2021
Missing Susan’s always sunny disposition!
Posted by Greg Axelrad on April 7, 2021
2 years ago today she passed away peacefully - and the night before we enjoyed popsicles and laughs.

Thanks to all who've kept this page going!

RIP Mom
Recent stories
Shared by Sandra Peterson on April 13, 2019

Susan and I played Scrabble on the Fridays that we didn't go to the Senior Center. Dan got her about the greatest Scrabble set that exists... on a lazy Susan with ridges to keep the tiles in place. Susan's greatest skill in the game was to see and think in complex ways that maximized her score. And she was competitive, taking the time to make the best move possible! I was forced to mimic her style just to keep up. We had fun no matter who won the game. She was such good company.