I received the news that she died yesterday. I knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I didn’t just lose a boss and friend. I lost a big sister, who enjoyed telling stories, giving me advice and guidance. For certain situations, I can only think, “What would Susi have done?”
Susi grew up in Miami from a family that was very much a part of the Old American South. I remember the pictures of the Confederate Ancestors on her wall. She told me the famous general Stonewall Jackson was an ancestor.
This reminds me of a funny story she told me. My other boss at Close Up was a woman named Karen Spencer. Karen is African-American and you need to know this for the story. One day, Karen said, “We are invited to Uncle Thurgood’s for dinner.” Susi told me her shock when Justice Thurgood Marshall opened the door. I enjoyed teasing her. Nice liberal Susi Baldwin with the pictures of the Confederate Ancestors going to Justice Marshall’s home for dinner. She said she was intimidated (have a hard time imaging Susi intimidated).
She did graduate studies at the University of Alabama, where my favorite cousin, Yona McNish attended. Because of her, I follow Alabama football, though when they play Auburn, I pretend I am rooting for Auburn just because I can and I am being difficult, but I digress. 🙂
I asked her how she got started with Close Up. She was a Miami Social Studies teacher taking students for the week in Washington.
She was stranded with some students in a blizzard in Washington, D.C. Some of the staff suggested she work for them.
The soap opera actor Victor Rivers was one of her students from Miami. Here is his website, which also lists his book, where he mentioned Susi.
Later, she was a music promoter lived in Ireland, spent time in Vienna, led bus tours in Washington and worked for the Dolphin Research Center, in the Florida Keys. She had an amazing life. I miss her.