Shared by Becky LeClair on June 6, 2021
Suzy was the memory-keeper and baby of our family.  My first memory of her is when we lived in North Hollywood and she was about 2yo. She is standing next to the Christmas tree, naked except for a red sash, and smiling brightly.  I recall Mom laughing as Dad took the picture.  It is also the house where she fell off the dining table bench and broke out a front tooth.  My memory is of scolding Mom (at the stove, stirring something) for making Lyn cry, when we heard a bang and Suzy crying.  Once, Suzy (still about 2yo) took herself for a “walk”.  I’m told that a bus driver found her.  I recall seeing Suzy smiling with pride, walking and holding hands with a crying Mom.

Before her birth, I recall reporting that I had a new sister and that her name was “Suzy Anne” to neighbors, but Suzy corrected my memory with Mom’s story:  that it was my Sunday school teacher who appeared surprised to see a very pregnant Marian come pick me up, after I had announced to the class that I had a new baby sister and her name was “Suzy Anne”.  

She was helpful to a fault.  After we moved to Los Altos, she was going to “help” me make a ballgown for my doll and cut up the fabric.  After some tears from me, mom saved the day, and I still ended up with the gown.  Suzy was proud of “helping” me.

She was always the “sweet” one, who charmed everyone with her smile and demeanor.  But we all have our faults, and I recall getting onto her for bossing me around.  After all, I AM the big sister, but that didn’t matter.  She felt that she knew best.  I recall being so proud of her playing the cello at a high school performance: possibly the start of sharing her gift and love of performing.

I lost touch with her in her early adolescence and know I missed many crossroads and growth events, being on my own chaotic path.  She seemed to readily adapt and flourish and be part of a loving community in La Jolla.  I know she has made and kept dear friends of all ages through the years.  Just think about 44 yrs of marriage and two awesome kids!  That brings me to the love story of Suzy and Randy.  According to “legend”, Randy told his mother after the second date that he had met the woman he wanted to marry.  Suzy thought they were just friends until Randy knocked on her door after another male friend left.  When she answered the door, he told her to hold the door and brought in pieces of equipment (mind you, this 1975ish) and showed her a slide show/video he made of their times together.  He watched her face and by the time the presentation ended, she realized his intentions.  It’s much more elaborate than that, but no less romantic!

We’ve had many great visits with each other in the past and it was easy to play together, as though all those years disappeared: goofing around with “beauty queen” make-up and silly poses, to sitting by their backyard campfire with our children and parents, listening to family stories, and Randy tell elaborate stories to the kids about the adventures of Beaky the Bear.

She was always attentive and nurturing to Mom and Dad, which extended to her community at-large: teaching kids about snakes (thanks Brother Bob and to mom who let him bring them into our childhood home!), weaving numerous sleeping mats for the homeless, and more.  She was proud of and encouraged Matt and Katy’s passions, even if there was some adjusting to do.  

My gratitude is cemented in the recent years by our shared adventures.   in 2017 we camped (pop-up trailer) in the Anza-Borrego desert and hiked in slot canyons: their stomping grounds.  Expert campers, they had everything one could need.  

After her diagnosis, our 10-day WABDUH RV trek across Colorado in late summer of 2019 was a dream trip!  Viewing the passing scenery, Suzy would open her arms and express awe at this vast and beautiful world of ours – like, “what more could we need?”  There were a couple of harrowing experiences off-roading, but that just added to the excitement!

As her ALS progressed, it was my life’s honor to be present with her and to seek and find shared joy and humor, in the midst of their struggles and constant challenges.  She and Randy had well-practiced that way of navigating and adapting.  Randy, her champion, came up with so many ingenious solutions to, what seemed to me, constant and unrelenting obstacles.  Underlying everything was their unparalleled adoration of and devotion to each other.  Massaging her head, hands and feet offered me the gift of physically connecting with her and, hopefully, offering some comfort.  On my last day with them, Randy and I sang (with help from the uke) “Country Roads”, which produced the last smile I saw from her.  Later, after rubbing her hands one more time, I realized it was time for me to go and told her that.  She nodded and accepted the reality.  I became the baby sister and didn’t want to leave.  But, she gave me the gift of letting go, first.

There have many times that I have thought, “oh, Suzy would remember that”, to realize that those bits of family history that she carried, are with her.  As an ornament sent to me last Christmas from brother Bob and sister-in-law LouAnn reads “Loved one may leave this world, but they never leave our hearts”.
Shared by Jo Herb on May 23, 2021
I met Suzy 15 years ago when I started working at REI and found her to be one of the kindest souls I ever knew.  There were four of us at work that gravitated to each other very quickly and became "bosom buddies."  Suzy named us “MAWU” for Middle Age Women Unite (although we were so bonded to each other, no one else could have penetrated our little group).  The four of us went on hikes, out to lunch and movie dates and lots of camping trips.  We would laugh until we cried, thus bonding at the heart. 

Suzy was beautiful inside and out and her joy for love and life was boundless.  She continually amazed us with her beautiful voice and so talented in the art of dialects that she would have us rolling over laughing every time she spoke with an Irish Brogue. Hiking was always an adventure with Suzy as she could name any plant or reptile species, sometimes even including their scientific names.  She was such a gift to all who knew and loved her.

We miss her beyond measure.
JoAnn "Joey" Herbert   

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