Susan has left.

It’s true. She gave us 78 years—yet somehow managed to convince just about everyone that she was just getting started. Her passing was blessedly peaceful and utterly unexpected. Alex and I were holding her hands at the moment she left us, and although tears weren’t in short supply, neither was gratitude that the end came so swiftly (and unexpectedly, even though Susan had been undergoing cancer treatment for nearly two years). With a sudden onset of a slight difficulty in breathing (she denied there was anything to worry about), there followed a Sunday night trip to the emergency room, then, a few hours later, a seeming precautionary move to the ICU, some test results to wait for…but a few minutes after Monday midnight, on Oct 18, Susan Alexandra Hamilton was off to the next.

We didn’t wish to announce to the world that it would have to do without her talent, her beauty, her wit and unequaled intelligence until we could find a permanent venue where Susan’s many friends and colleagues (and a legion or two of fans) could share their thoughts and personal remembrances.

So to everyone: if and when the spirit moves you, do share a tale or two—or even just a thought about how Susan’s amazing story has intersected with your own. Leave words (and pics, if you have them) in the Comments area here, and we will see that they are speedily posted for all to share. That will be a continuing labor of love. -Michael, November 2, 2022

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13 responses to “Susan has left.”

  1. Shannon Dexter Avatar
    Shannon Dexter

    It has been difficult to find words to explain what Susan meant to us. Susan was beyond words. I always knew where I stood with Susan, whether I liked it or not. When thinking of a “story” to share about Susan, I found that to pinpoint one instance was basically impossible. Susan was a constant. Welcoming us into her kitchen (greyhound in hand) to talk to us like we were equals. To push us to think differently. To make us laugh. To tell us two is our limit.
    I can remember how mesmerized I was by her talent at the piano and how she would sit there and accompany us crazy kids who wanted to sing and believe that we were destined for Broadway. She gave us all a space to feel like we were adults while at the same time keeping a watchful eye on us (since we were in fact NOT adults at all).

    Thank you for sharing her with us Michael, Alex, Darcy, Jos, Dexter and Scott. Thank you for allowing us to invade your home every weekend and make us feel like (even if for a moment) that we were one of her own.

    And Susan…thank you for being you. You made everything a little more fun…because two will never be your limit <3

  2. Robin Odlum Avatar
    Robin Odlum

    Like I see so many others saying, it seems impossible that Susan is gone. I was trying to explain why to my wife, but putting Susan into words feels impossible.
    I met her when I was about 15, around 1997 when visiting Alex and the Alki (Alkuses??), and – as one normally wouldn’t – never expected to feel much of a closeness or impact from a friends’ parent. She was an occasional substitute teacher at our school, so I was aware of her, and even from those small interactions she was an absolutely unforgettable person from the beginning. She treated us young, naughty children like adults. She taught us, challenged us, joked with us as equals, and gave us an example of what it means to think for oneself. I didn’t always agree with her (as is so often the case with people who are meaningful in one’s life) but being introduced to different ways of thinking and perspectives brings huge value to life, in my opinion; I valued my relationship with her and was surprised and pleased that that relationship grew during the course of the time we were in frequent contact, and she became another friend to visit and hang out with when we would spend time at her house, and was far from just another friend’s parent.
    As our high school friend group gelled and became closer, we ended up taking trips to Aspen together, spending countless weekends together, and WILDLY overstaying our welcome, but forging bonds for a lifetime. To this day, I still have dreams that take place in that Malibu house; those years of my life are still so memorable, and the vast majority of those memories are so positive. Knowing every dog, being a part of every study session, swimming in the pool and hot tub, late night expeditions to the beach, tons of video games, grieving the loss of Scott, starting to learn what it means to go from being a kid to an adult, meeting my first real girlfriend, talking about music and being introduced to new bands and genres, being terrible children that poor Susan and Michael had to put up with, and really feeling like I had a second family.
    Years later, we had a reunion of that group in New Hampshire, and it was so nice to fall right back into the groove we had in our high school years. So much had changed, but the things that mattered stayed the same. As often happens with the friendships of youth, I ended up falling out of regular contact with Susan, but we would have a roughly yearly check in to say hi and see that one another are doing well. She sent me early versions of her memoir and it was amazing to get a deeper perspective into her past that had either never come up before, or that I didn’t have the perspective to make sense of when I was a teenager. Last we spoke, she said she and the family were happy and doing great.
    With all that said, I still can’t put into words why it’s so hard to believe that Susan is gone. I think one would have to know her to understand. A flame that burns that brightly seems impossible to put out, but as long as we remember her, hopefully, in some way, she won’t really be gone.
    All my love and gratitude to Susan (and I can’t omit Michael; much of what I have to say about Susan, I would say about Michael as well) for being such a positive force in my life. I’ll miss you always.

  3. Harry Liedtke Avatar
    Harry Liedtke

    Frankly, I remember Susan mostly as a cook. Knowing of my German heritage, she prepared special meals as well as baking cakes and wanted to know how her creations compared to my mother’s cooking or baking. And creations those meals were. I felt very privileged to being asked in detail how a specific meal or slice of cake or “Torte” appealed to me.

    Aside from this one slice of life, Susan impressed me with her straightforward logical thinking about the world around us, about our political system, its strengths and its weaknesses.

    Today I feel a certain regret that I never took the time to come and see the house in Portsmouth after she and Mike finally sold their Wolfeboro home.

  4. Rob Mounsey Avatar
    Rob Mounsey

    Very sorry for your loss.

  5. Robin Schwarz Avatar
    Robin Schwarz

    Susan Hamilton was an icon in the biz. She could get anyone to do anything, anywhere at anytime. My best memory is Christmas, A caravan of friends made it to her winter digs in Vermont. Among her 9 dogs and other strays who pinched an invite, we would ski, take sleigh rides through the snow… horses leading the way, and be generally content with the world. That Christmas Susan decided to make a traditional English Christmas dinner. Among her many talents, cooking was a true tree topper. She could make gravel and sap taste like a 5 star gormet fixing. Goose was on the menu with many other dishes that were truely fashioned for a happy Christmas. The table was so long I think it rounded the corner and made its way into the next zip code. But nothing was too daunting for her. Single handedly she managed a magnificent dinner for over 20 people. I must say it was one of the most memorable Christmas’s in my catalogue of holiday memorablia. But we all have Susan to thank for that incredible evening. There is something unreal about the news of her passing. Anyone who knew her, knew she was invincible. So the thought she is no longer gracing the earth with her talents, which were many, her flower gardens, her music, her smarts, her low threshold for those things that didn’t ring true, well, we will miss that. I don’t like to think of Susan as gone. Let’s just say she’s gone ahead, in keeping with being first at everything she ever did.

  6. Mike Slosberg Avatar
    Mike Slosberg

    A freezing night in Aspen. A bunch of us have loaded into a car––myself, my wife, Susan and her young son, and I believe, the Edels––off to a dinner with Janet Monte and her significant-other, “Curious George” Lapin, at their ranch, down-valley. It is a wonderfully drunken dinner, topped off by a gorgeous Tarte tatin, which Susan has baked. She presents it, while proudly boasting it is a “restaurant quality” Tarte tatin.

    As if on cue, and in a besotted chorus, everyone shouts: “Which f*****g restaurant?”

    Since then, many restaurants have flowed under my bridge, yet I’ve never had a better Tarte tatin than the one Susan baked for that memorable night in Colorado.

    May Susan’s memory always be a blessing.

  7. Steve Sohmer Avatar
    Steve Sohmer

    I’m stunned. I was sure I’d always have Susan to commune with. She was a tremendous part of any success I had in network television. It’s quite true to say I couldn’t have done it without her. Annual trips to NYC to produce the network promotion theme music were a highlight of my year. I never delegated that assignment. Michael, I mourn with you. Blessings. Love, Steve

    1. Michael Avatar
      Michael

      Susan loved and respected you so much, Steve. I know she would have wished to have been able to say, “farewell.”

  8. Don Cicchetti Avatar
    Don Cicchetti

    I really liked her musical knowledge and sophistication, as well as her grace and good manners. Best of all, she liked my songs!

    For that alone I probably would have married her, or if she turned me down at that, at least washed her car a few times.

    Rest soft dear lady. We await reunion.

  9. Stephen "Buster" Ward Avatar
    Stephen “Buster” Ward

    I was a maintenance technician at Power Station in the late 80s and we always knew we needed to be on our game when Susan was in to produce a commercial. She was a total pro and every session resulted in the musicians finishing within three hours, and Susan walking out the door with a fantastic mix at the end of four. She had a real ear for what worked and she knew how to unite a room full of musicians and singers to give their best toward a common goal. Susan was class all the way.

  10. Michael Golub Avatar
    Michael Golub

    I feel as though I must write about Susan Hamilton’s life and death. Her departure from this earth was so sudden & unexpected that it leaves me in a state of disbelief. Susan was an almost indescribably special person…so complex and accomplished, to say the least. She decided to get into the music business and ran one of the most successful jingle houses in NYC. Although all of us in the music tribe know and benefited from her musical talents, I choose to discuss other aspects of who she was.
    She and Michael had four dogs but there was never a question as to who the pack leader was. When I ate at her house, I was always fed a gourmet quality meal, with all ingredients chosen under careful inspection. The side dishes were a beautifully productive display of fresh vegetables from Susan’s own garden. The table was set with homegrown flowers also cut from her flower garden.
    I loved crosswords. Susan said; “If you want, I could help?”
    Me: “No no I’ll do it” Frustrated, I left it on the table and watched her complete a Sunday Time’s crossword as if she were taking dictation.

    Conversation was always thought provoking. Did we disagree? Anyone who knows her knows that’s par for the course. But iconoclastic thought is forgiven when viewed through her logical intelligence. Such was the case.

    My wife Sue Read and I were always the beneficiaries of great hospitality from Susan and her brilliant soul mate, Michael Alkus. We were treated generously at both their Claverack and Lake Winnipesaukee houses.
    As for music? Well, she was the child protégé of James Levine. I believe she had perfect pitch. Legendary stories still circulate about her detective-like ability to hear out-of-pitch notes. Brilliant and difficult. Demanding, yet generous. We say goodbye to one of the unforgettable characters dealt from life’s deck.

    1. Roger Tallman Avatar
      Roger Tallman

      Susan will be always be remembered as a Gem! She was outgoing, honest, and would always “tell it like it was”..
      we had a fun Tim telling and sharing jingle company stories. I will miss her forever. God bless you Susan, and bless all those you touched. You will be remembered forever in spirit and Soul. ♥️Roger Tallman

  11. Darcy Avatar
    Darcy

    The family would love to hear from everyone!

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