Susan Callis Raabe died from pancreatic cancer on October 29th, peacefully at home and surrounded by family, exactly as she envisioned it. Susan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941. She graduated from Marymount College and Columbia School of Nursing. In 1965, while working in the coronary care unit at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Susan met a medical student named Daniel Raabe. She married him, the love of her life, in 1966.
In 1975, Susan and Daniel moved to Charlotte, where they raised their five children and became part of a close-knit community. Susan worked as a nurse, ran the Lilliput Children’s Theatre and worked with her sidekick, Judy Pascal, as an antique dealer. She and Dan created a household full of love, warmth, happy chaos, beloved dogs, and good meals. Susan was the superglue of her large and boisterous family, always at the center of the cooking, planning, celebrating, and day-to-day life.
She fought fiercely to see that her children were both educated and broadened, attending every school meeting and dragging them to any and all local cultural events, from lectures to concerts by her beloved Arlo Guthrie. While doing all of this, Susan also attended UVM and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. After her youngest left the nest, Susan followed her heart back to NYC, where she joined the Art Students’ League and devoted herself to painting during the week and enjoying the city and Vermont with Daniel on the weekends. Together they created a beautifully balanced life between the two locales, always making welcome their children and their grandchildren in both places.
Susan was funny, and fierce, and opinionated. She was deeply committed to her painting, her husband, her family, and her dear friends. She was a strong believer in equal rights, and enthusiastically joined the Woman’s March in 2017. Although she kept her New York accent to the end, Susan loved Vermont as well, especially gathering in the summer with family by the lake, and cozying in in the winter with her beloved murder mysteries. She taught us how to be a parent and a partner, and she showed us how to follow our hearts, both in marriage and in vocation. Susan is survived by her brother, George Callis, her husband, Daniel, her five children and their spouses; Daniel (Heather), Rachel (Chris), Emily (Paul), Sara (Becker), David (Victoria), and her eight much-loved grandchildren. We all adored her.
A celebration of Susan’s life will be held at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne on November 9that 3.30 p.m. The family wishes to thank Dr. Paul Unger and his staff at the Vermont Cancer Center for their dedicated and compassionate care during Susan’s illness. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in Susan’s name to the University of Vermont Home Health & Hospice.