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  • Joseph Pasternak III

Suzanne H Lehman Obituary (1927 - 2017)

Suzanne H Lehman, aged 90, died on April 30, 2017 at her home in the Lathrop Community in Easthampton, MA. She spent the last 28 years of her life in the Pioneer Valley after retiring here with her late husband, John D Lehman, in 1989. Born in Norfolk, VA on March 11, 1927 to J. Edwin Habbe, MD and Anna Mae (Lewis) Habbe, she grew up in Whitefish Bay, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee. Living close to Lake Michigan, she developed a life-long love of swimming and the water. She spent many happy summers with her family at George Williams College Camp in Lake Geneva, WI, now part of Aurora University. It was there that she met and married her husband, who was from Naperville, IL. They remained married for over 50 years until his death in 2002.

Suzanne and John raised their family of three children in a number of college towns, where he taught economics and worked as an academic administrator. These included Ripon and Madison, WI, Granville, OH and Aurora, NY. They ended their working careers in Oshkosh, WI, where she was a local news reporter for the Daily Northwestern newspaper and he was a student aid officer at the University of Wisconsin. When they re-located to Northampton in retirement, they moved their 25-foot Cape Dory sail-boat from Lake Winnebago, WI to Willsboro Bay, NY, on Lake Champlain.

Suzanne had a passion for learning throughout her life and was an early and active member of the Five College Learning in Retirement program. She was active as a participant and leader of this program, making many new friends in the process. Also an enthusiastic traveler, she took many Elderhostel tours to Europe, the Middle East and the Southwestern United States. Her last major travel celebrated her 80th birthday with a trip to Mayan historic sites in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. Planning for and recollecting these adventures was a source of ongoing pleasure. In her final years, day trips took her to the Tanglewood Music Festival for Saturday morning rehearsals and local landmarks in the Pioneer Valley.

She will be remembered for her enduring tenacity and persistence, and fiercely held opinions against intolerance and injustice. Her signature sense of humor and irony will be dearly missed. Deeply bound to the natural world, she treasured summer days above all.

Suzanne is survived by her three children, Michael and his spouse, Joan, of Rochester, NY, Andrew of Arlington, MA and Elizabeth (EB) and her spouse, Vanessa Smith, of Holyoke, MA. She is also survived by her brother, Donald Habbe and his spouse, Doosie, of Missoula, MT. Her animal companion, Lilly, also mourns her passing.

Family and friends offer their deep thanks and appreciation to the many exceptional and generous caregivers from The Lathrop Community in Easthampton, O'Connell Care at Home and Cooley Dickinson VNA Hospice who cared for her in the last years and days of her life.

A memorial at the Lathrop Community will occur at a date to be announced shortly. Interment will occur at Glen Oak Cemetery in Aurora, NY. Gifts in memory of Suzanne may be made to the Five College Learning in Retirement program in Northampton or to the Dakin Humane Society in Springfield.

The Williamsburg Funeral Home was entrusted with her cremation.

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