None of us is going to dodge the bullet. The inevitable. We know it. We ignore it. But as the end approaches all those Kubler Ross nouns comes into play–denial, anger, depression and especially bargaining. Oh Lord, please. Not before the Beaujolais Nouveau release this fall. At least not before I see Trump in an orange jumpsuit. Can we make that deal? Everything’s in play but acceptance. We live like we’re immortal until we aren’t.

It was so Suzy to die in the restroom of a hair salon clutching her bag of special products. The ones she believed were better. Perfect timing. After a wash, a cut, blond highlights and lots of hair spray. Perfectly coiffed. She excused herself went to the restroom and died. Not in the chair during the shampoo. Discreetly in the restroom. It was so Suzy.

Her mantra – The higher the hair the closer to God.

She was perfect in other ways too. Raising quadruplets as a single mom. And helping them all become accomplished responsible adults. Not many can check both of those boxes. And, where was dad? Well… it was too much for him. He said he really wanted them. He encouraged her to take the fertility drug. But it was hard work, so he left town with a girlfriend when the quads were six months old.

Impossible? Not for Suzy. She was resourceful. And her parents were supportive. The five of them moved back to Chicago and in with her parents where she regrouped, and when the kids were in pre-school she launched herself again. First she found work as a research assistant at People Magazine, then as a stringer and photo editor for Time covering entertainment. She left print, to take a job as a location scout for the Illinois Film Office and became so indispensable she was promoted to Director.  She loved the movies, and we often sat in her living room sharing a bowl of popcorn and watching a double or triple bill. She became one of the most successful film office directors in North America, working on films like Risky BusinessThe Untouchables, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off while mothering the quads like a juggler with four flaming torches.

And when the torches were making decisions about college, Suzy discovered the film office director’s job in the state of Washington was open. Two of the quads were headed for Washington schools so Suzy snagged it to stay close.

Everybody loved her. There were hundreds of friends at her Celebration of Life. The staff at the hair salon attended and the shampoo girl asked if she could keep Suzy’s bag of products. She wanted a memento to remember her by. It was so Suzy.


  1. Hi Jack. Absolutely loved this. Personal for me because my wife just survived, we hope, a major fight with cancer. Thanks for capturing something so palpable, so real. Stephan, from your Stanford class.

  2. Thank you for kind words Jack! We are still grieving the loss of this amazing woman! Thank you for the commemoration. Luke

  3. A touching tribute to a remarkable woman. As always Jack you have a way with words.
    I always enjoy reading what you write, at times it might bring a tear to the eye.

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