Susan Marcus was born in Queens, New York on February 28, 1943, daughter to Ann and Robert Rockhill. In 1971, she and her husband, who she likely wouldn’t want named here, moved to Alna, where they built a house and set about settling into the fabric of a town that came to mean a great deal to her.
In her earliest years, Susan resided with her mother and brother while her father served as a lieutenant in the Adjutant General’s office during WWII. As a teenager she picketed Woolworth’s in New York City’s Union Square, protesting for civil rights. She graduated from Jamaica High School, early, and went on to attend Bard College, where she met her future husband, and where she was later followed by her son (who met his own wife there).
Returning to New York City after college, Susan worked as a researcher and copy editor on the classic Time Life series Art of the World. In 1969 she had a daughter. The family moved to Maine, and in 1974 they welcomed their son.
Over the next many decades Susan raised her children, worked as a copy editor and indexer, created a stencil business with her good friend Doreen, managed a garden of epic proportions and, for more than 20 years, worked a job she loved, as a waitress at Le Garage.
She also took great pleasure in hurtling down Route 218, sans seatbelt, in a Subaru she liked to pretend was a race car. Susan was fiercely independent and lived life with a sometimes fearless and defiant streak.
Late in life, Susan, an unabashed progressive who somehow never tired of the sound of Chris Hayes’s voice, turned her time and attention to social justice matters. If you recognize her name, it may be because of the many, many letters she wrote over the years to this very paper. In honor of the years of excruciating effort she applied to ensuring those letters came in under the prescribed limit, her family elected to buy a few extra words for this remembrance.
One of the most fulfilling times of Susan’s life came well after she had retired, when she spent a number of years acting as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) on behalf of kids involved in child protective services.
Susan loved beautiful things, both natural and human-made, from verbena and lilacs to the cookware and Hermes scarves she passed on to her grandkids. She was an exceptionally gifted cook (she favored Julia Child), and gardener, and while she was good with vegetables, she was outstanding with flowers. She influenced a generation of geranium lovers, and then set out to influence the next one.
One of the beautiful things she loved the most was her adopted home of more than 50 years, Alna. In her final years, despite being largely homebound, she managed to continue to participate in the town’s doings, attending town meetings, and serving on the Cemetery committee. In recent years, she fretted a great deal as the kind of divisive, bombastic politics of the national stage seemed to creep into the local waters. She hoped for a return to a time when people in Alna were neighbors above all else.
Susan is survived by her loving children Sarah (Terrence Briggs) and Simon (Anne Palmer). She will be sorely missed by her grandchildren Emma and Jasper Briggs and Eli, Judah, and Ezra Marcus, as well as by her many life-long and recent friends. She was devoted to them all, as they were to her. She was also lucky to have thoughtful caregivers and local friends and neighbors, who paid wonderful attention to her needs.
A service celebrating Susan’s life will be held on May 27, 2023 at 1pm at the Alna Cemetery in Alna, ME. Donations may be made in her honor to Safe Abortions for Everyone (Safe) Maine, PO Box 752, Portland, ME 04104.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.
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