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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Suzanne Mercy Winsor Freeman 1933-2010


    Suzanne Mercy Winsor Freeman

    Suzanne Mercy Winsor Freeman, 77, life-long community volunteer, died Saturday, August 28, 2010 of respiratory failure in Tucson, Arizona. Suzy made her home in Green Valley, Arizona since 1997 where she was an active organizer of church and civic events, and known for her broad smile and engaging enthusiasm.

    Suzanne was born January 5, 1933 in Olathe, Kansas to Arline (Kinsel) and Frank Ammi Brown, and grew up in Orange and Santa Ana after her family moved to California in 1937. She purchased property in Green Valley, Arizona in 1982 to be near her half-sister Lucile Smith, becoming a full-time Arizona resident in 1997.

    As a mother and homemaker, Suzanne found great satisfaction as a Girl Scout Leader and church volunteer in La Habra, California, and later used her community experience as Executive Director of the North Orange County Volunteer Bureau. In Green Valley, Suzanne served as President of the Villas West Homeowners’ Association where she organized many social events and the annual craft show. She was an active member of the Green Valley Evangelical Free Church Christian Women’s Association and a frequent Bible study leader. Suzanne was a member of the Green Valley Genealogical Society always searching for new Winsor cousins. She enjoyed travel, crafts, and cooking.

    During her final illness, it was her great joy to know that her namesake Charlotte Mercy had been born to her eldest granddaughter Heather Craig and her husband David Ricketts.

    Suzanne is survived by daughter Denise and her husband Dan Levenick of Pasadena, California; daughter Deanna and her husband Kip Craig of Silverado Canyon, California; grandchildren Zack Levenick, Heather Craig Ricketts, Christian Levenick, Chelsea Craig, Chloe Craig, and Kayli Craig; great-grandchildren Anabelle May Ricketts, Charles Levenick, and Charlotte Mercy Ricketts; sister Frances and her husband Harold Jones of Santa Ana, California.

    She was preceded in death by her parents and half-sisters Lucile Paulen Smith, of Green Valley, and Bearnadean Duvall Avery.

    A Memorial Service celebrating Suzanne’s life will be held Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at Green Valley Evangelical Free Church, 1393 West Mission Twin Buttes, Green Valley.


    How does the family curator share the sad news of a parent’s death? Carefully, lest any vital date or place be omitted. Sadly, because it’s just so hard to do.

    Fellow genealogists may know my mom Suzanne Freeman after meeting her at the SCGS Jamboree or some other genealogy event. You probably know that she was a spunky senior citizen with the juvenile sense of humor.

    She became suddenly ill in early July and never fully recovered. Mom wanted to live independently as long as possible in her home in Green Valley, Arizona and her wishes came true.

    In her last weeks, her breathing was assisted by a ventilator and communication limited to lip reading and writing, however, she still had much to say! She wanted to know about all the people around her, was happy to hear about Thomas MacEntee’s growing career as an e-book author and speaker, and footnoteMaven’s latest edition of Shades of the Departed. She was interested in Amy Coffin’s research and Joan Miller’s travels; both geneabloggers she met while working on the SCGS Jamboree Geneablogger Welcome Bags. She wanted to know everything about everyone.

    Mom was a enthusiastic supporter of new ideas and new projects. She loved hearing about A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger, young genealogists with energy and zeal for the great ancestor hunt. She hoped that one of her own grandchildren would be bitten by the “genie bug” and continue the search for her Winsor ancestors. She loved meeting so many geneabloggers at Jamboree.

    It is hard to fathom that I will now be searching alone for those rascally Schiffbauer boys, or for the final Chamblin connection. Instead of picking up the telephone to say “Hey Mom, guess what I found out?” I will be typing notes to myself, and wishing she were there.

    My greatest regret is that I did not finish a family genealogy or history that would have helped her make sense of those convoluted cousin relationships she tried to unscramble. I thought we had lots of time; but we didn’t. I do hope, however, that, as our friend Sheri Fenley noted, Mom is now meeting the Windsor family she knew she had, and perhaps even making the acquaintance of a few cousins new to her as well.

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    Reader Comments (26)

    Your mother looks like a vibrant, charming, and beautiful woman. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always hardest to lose someone who is not really 'old' and then so suddenly. You wrote a beautiful tribute to her...I was crying while I read it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Warren

    So sorry for your loss. What an amazing, fun and energetic mother!

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lyons

    I've expressed my condolences to you privately, but I'd like to do the same here.

    You mom was such a great lady. So much fun! The last memory I have of her was at the pre-Jamboree dinner, and it's a great comfort for me that when I think of her, I smile.

    Hugs and prayers for you. Suzanne raised a great daughter, too.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Coffin

    Oh Denise...I am so very sorry for your loss. I was unaware she had been ill. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Your tribute to her is wonderful, and such a great photo you chose! I feel blessed I was able to meet her, she was so vibrant. I know you have so many wonderful memories, I hope we will hear about them eventually! May your fond memories help you through this difficult time. Hugs...

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Palmer

    What a lovely woman and how very blessed you are to be her daughter - as she clearly was to be your mother. My prayers are with you and your family.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNolichuckyRoots

    Like Amy, I too have already expressed my condolences privately - I want everyone to know what an avid supporter Suzanne was of the genealogy blogging community. I first met Suzanne in June 2009 at my first SCSG Jamboree which is when I first met her daughter Denise. They both had this great idea to create "welcome bags" for the various bloggers in attendance.

    Well this year the idea blossomed and both Suzanne and Denise spearheaded a great project along with the help of others. Suzanne was always interested in what was going on with the genealogy bloggers and I am honored and touched that should would take an interest in my work and the work of others.

    A gracious woman with a wicked sense of humor and a joy to be around. My regret is that I didn't know Suzanne sooner.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThomas MacEntee

    Denise, I am so sorry for your loss and that of your family. You wrote a beautiful remembrance - I know how hard that is!

    Your mother was a beautiful person who lived and loved life to the fullest.

    Now you have the memories and the pictures and the artifacts, and probably have to find them and save them or pass them around. This can be a wonderful time of appreciation and wonder at just how good yourm other was - and a way to get through grieving for your loss.

    My prayers are with you and your family -- Randy

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Seaver

    I am so so sorry. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Life is so fleeting.

    You are so blessed to have such a wonderful mother. And a co-genealogist too. Although it could never compare, know that we are here when you have that genealogy find moment and we love you and support you.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Hovorka

    As with Thomas and Amy I've expressed my deep sorrow at your loss previously. I do wish to add that you have paid her a wonderful tribute.

    I am so glad I had a chance to meet your mother and very much enjoyed visiting with her at our pre-Jamboree dinner at your house. I'll also remember Reg and I sitting in the sun for lunch with your Mom and you at Jamboree. Your Mom commented (while you stepped away for a minute) "Oh Denise won't like the sun, maybe we should find some shade!" She was looking out for you, as I'm sure she did always.

    It was so nice that you and your Mom and your aunt and sister were able to do your "house tour" a few days before. I'm sure there were good memories and good pictures made.

    She was a wonderful lady and she did a good job of raising you to be a wonderful lady too.

    thinking of you and the family,

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Miller (Luxegen)

    Thank you so much for the very kind words. Mom truly enjoyed her genealogy friends and spending time with the blogging-bunch at Jamboree. I know I will be finding little tidbits of advice and research clues for a long long time.

    ~ Denise

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    Denise, I am so sorry to learn of your mother's passing.

    I felt that the geneabloggers had adopted her as the honorary "mom" just like Elyse has been adopted as the honorary "daughter." I was so glad that I had a chance to meet her at Jamboree. I remember thinking how lucky you were to have a mom that shared your interest in family history, and how much fun it would be to share the thrill of a new record.

    Although he's been gone for 26 years, my dad still guides me to good parking places, especially when I'm in a rush or the weather is particularly icky. I know that Suzanne will be there, pointing you in the right direction just when you need it.

    I will keep you both in my thoughts.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula Hinkel


    What a beautiful tribute for a beautiful lady. May she now gently guide you as you continue the search for those elusive ancestors.

    You and your family are in my prayers.


    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Mills

    I am so very sorry for your loss Denise.

    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Buster

    Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death.
    When a life has been lived completely honestly,
    completely successfully,
    or just completely,
    the correct response to death's perfect punctuation mark is
    a smile.

    I am smiling through my tears.


    September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterfootnoteMaven

    My deepest sympathy. This is a very lovely tribute to her.

    September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApple


    It was with shock that I read of your mother's passing. I was so blessed to meet her at Jamboree and didn't we have fun at the eldest bunch lunch? I guess that's why her passing stunned me: she was so alive and healthy and as everyone else has noted, so interested in our geneablogging community. I'm glad you had the opportunity to do the house tour; that was probably almost as fun to read about as it was to do. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers.


    September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam Robbins Midkiff

    I never had the good fortune to meet your mom in person but I sympathize with your loss all the same. It's been over 3 years since I lost my own mom and I remember how comforted I was by the outpouring of love and support from the genea-blogging community. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong and keep the happy memories.

    September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJasia

    I'm so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKerry Scott

    Denise, I am so sorry to learn this news about your Mom. Sometimes there are no words. This is one of those times. You and your family are in my thoughts. Hugs and solace and the laughter of remembrance as well as the tears of sadness.

    September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan A. Kitchens

    Denise, I was stunned to read this and I 'm very saddened to hear of your loss. I know we were working on a connection. Your MOM was a very vibrant person. I am thrilled to have been in touch with her in the past.
    May your faith carry you at this time and always. I have my MOM yet but lost my Dad it is so hard to loose a parent.

    Blessings to you and your family. Susi Pentico

    September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusi Pentico

    Denise, I am so very sorry for this season of loss and sorrow in your life . . . I do realize every day just how blessed I am to still have my healthy & feisty 78-year-old Mom around . . . my heart goes out to you and yours . . . {hugs} from Texas . . .

    September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeNotForgot


    I was very saddened to hear of your mother's passing. It was a great pleasure to have met her at Jamboree two years ago and then to see her again this year. I sat next to her at dinner in 2009 and found her to be a wonderfully engaging person. She was very proud of you and all of your work. I know you will miss her, but she will watch over you and your siblings with a glorious joy and pride.

    September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig Manson

    Denise, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I only knew your mother through your blog posts but she was a vibrant person and you obviously had a wonderful mother-daughter relationship. Something you will always treasure. You've written a lovely tribute to her and I'm sure she is smiling down on you.

    September 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Goodrum


    You already know my personal thoughts so I will not repeat them here. Just know that you were loved so very much.

    And OMG I forgot about the Girl Scouts! I think a lovely tribute to her of us wearing our uniforms is in order. No matter how truly geeky we look.

    Peace Sista Penny

    September 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheri Fenley


    So sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. Wish I had met her at this past Jamboree. Sounds like she was a real pistol. Times like these make you stop and think about your living relatives and how important it is to make the time to spend with them before it is too late.

    September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

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