Susan's Story

SUNSHINE - In Sunshine, ME, on Nov. 25, 2015, 78-year-old Susan Whiteford Smith died peacefully in her home under a full moon with her daughter Rebecca Tremain Smith by her side. After months of managing the progressively terminal effects of mini-strokes on top of Lyme disease, Susan is joyfully remembered by many whose lives were entwined with hers, including eight grandchildren.

The Ruxton, MD, native's parents, Roger Streett Whiteford II and Edith Burnside Whiteford, raised Susan and her brother, Roger Streett Whiteford III, during Baltimore's boom after World War II, in which her father served as a U.S. Army colonel in Europe. Susan went to Baltimore County public schools and, after attending Randolph-Macon Women's College for two years, in 1959 graduated from Goucher College, where she later worked in admissions.

She and her late husband, Gardner Watkins Smith, have three children: Elizabeth Whiteford Whitehead of Boerne, TX; Tremain, of Philadelphia; and George Van Siclen Smith II of Baltimore. Susan and Gardner spent the 60s in Charlottesville, VA, where they made life-long friendships. They returned to Ruxton and extended family in 1970, when Gardner rejoined the Johns Hopkins medical community as an academic surgeon. In 1998, they retired to their home in Sunshine in beloved Maine, a place they had both visited since childhood.

Starting in the 1980s, Susan's spirituality blossomed into a life-changing resource for many people, both longtime friends and new acquaintances, who sought and received her counsel. People re-imagined themselves at her home and in her garden, which she'd turned into a space where her strength and beauty were shared bounteously. Susan was an ardent champion of others, giving encouragement and guidance while involving herself with good causes and, on a personal level, sharing ideas that have been deeply valued by a large community that grew around her for years, near and far. She will be sorely missed, as she lived with abundant grace and beauty to the very end, and her memory and gifts will live long in others.

A memorial service will be scheduled for next year near Sunshine.

Donations in Susan's memory can be made to Opera House Arts, P.O. Box 56, Stonington, ME 04681.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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