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Susan Mary Claeys
Age 68, of St. Paul, MN
Susan passed away peacefully, surrounded by her children, in the home and city she loved, on Monday, April 25, 2022. She was preceded in death by her father, Marvin. Susan will be deeply missed by her children, Gina, Leslie, Louis, Jeffrey, Nathan (Alexia) Garrett; grandchildren, Kayla and Damian Garrett; Mother, Margaret Claeys; siblings, Peter (Karen) Claeys, Claudia (Bob) Landolfi, Diane (Doug Jones) Claeys, Eric (Susan Weber) Claeys, and Tom (Jeanne Steinback) Claeys; and many other family members and friends.
Susan was a woman of many talents, who brought her joyful playfulness, her sense of curiosity, and her strong moral compass to everything she did in life. Her belief in the beauty and value of all people, and in the possibility for redemption and healing in everyone, brought her into community with an amazing collection of people throughout the various chapters of her life. Susan was a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, mentor, sponsor, and treasured friend.
She was a trailblazing feminist in the workplace, as one of the first women in leadership in male dominated corporations in Minnesota. She became a highly respected project manager working for a number of Minnesota’s largest corporations, eventually merging her love for managing complex projects with her passion for community by applying her talents to work with local nonprofits and community groups. Susan earned two bachelor’s degrees as a graduate of Mankato State (Now MN State, Mankato) in elementary education, and of Bemidji State (MN) in accounting.
Susan was a devoted, working mother of five children. Her love for her children, and her passion for cultivating their own joy and genius could be seen in how she helped them each find a love for reading stories. In trips to the local public library, and through story time on her lap, Susan ensured they found joy in the wonder and imagination of books. Susan was a fierce advocate for a fair and equitable education for her own children, and for all kids. She donated her time, money, and resources to volunteer at their schools, to serve on numerous committees, to coordinate charitable gift giving, and to support student literacy in schools across the country.
Susan felt a profound sense of commitment to her community, which showed in her efforts to support local nonprofits. Through her own donations, support for fundraising campaigns, and by giving her time, she found ways to connect with causes that ranged from food insecurity, to helping those coming out of homelessness secure and maintain employment, to the performing arts.
In more recent chapters of her life, many friends came to know Susan as a prolific writer and poet. She kept private journals, but also shared her writings publicly as both an offering of her spirit, and a tool for coping with the struggles of her own recovery and the hurdles of living with cancer. She wore her humanity on her sleeve, and wasn’t afraid to share the essence of her being, which endeared her to so many.
At her core, Susan was a joyful person. She worked to find beauty and pleasure in all things, simple and profound. In her many walks around Como Lake, in her tireless work in her garden, and in her passion for floral design, she literally loved to touch and smell and see the beauty of the natural world. Susan’s drive to complete as many of her bucket list items as she could came not only from a desire to enjoy things like visiting all 50 US States, or seeing the Louvre in person, or enjoying the wonders of Tuscany, but from an insatiable desire to live a full and joyful life.
Susan’s journey of recovery was also a critical part of her life. The Al Anon and OA recovery communities were, in many ways, the places where she reconnected with herself and in turn those around her. She found communities that helped her find courage, balance, purpose, and healing. She served as a sponsor, a mentor and confidant to many who would become friends, and a source of inspiration to others who also walked this path of growth and discovery. She loved working and being with people in recovery, as there she found hope and tangible connection with her higher power.
Susan left a powerful legacy that will live on in those whom she has touched. Her family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and loved ones will hold in our hearts the gifts that she gave us, and find ways to keep her spirit alive. We will miss her deeply, and we know we are not alone.
- Gina, Leslie, Louis, Jeffrey, and Nathan (Susan’s kids)
Regarding COVID - masks are welcomed, but not required. To keep our loved ones safe, we are asking that everyone who attends be fully vaccinated if eligible, and to take a rapid test the day of the service before coming. If you have any symptoms, we ask that you please join the virtual service with us.
We hope to celebrate our mother with all who loved her and are able to attend.
Sunday, May 1, 2022
10:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Sunday, May 1, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
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