Susan Asbell (Courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer)
To her friends, Susan Asbell was a dynamo, role model, and a "larger than life" figure known for infectious energy and leadership.
"If she took on a cause, that cause was lucky because she was absolutely passionate," said a longtime friend, Phyllis Pearl, superintendent of elections for Camden County. "She gave 150 percent and made sure you gave 150 percent."
Asbell, 68, a Camden native, was vice president and president-elect of the board of trustees of the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County. A resident of Cherry Hill and Margate, she led efforts to hold the club's annual Thanksgiving dinner. "Susan would beg, borrow, and steal from anyone she could," Pearl said. "Some things, we cooked, and some, we re-heated. She truly made it an experience."
Executive director Bernadette Shanahan said: "She was a powerful force - and she changed lives."
Part of what drove Asbell was a spiritual side that grew as a member of Congregation Beth El, said Senior Rabbi Aaron Krupnick. "She was a very religious person," Krupnick said, "a presence."
She was a member of the ritual committee and headed a committee that comforted and prepared meals for mourners. As a member of Beth El's sacred (burial) society - she and others washed and prepared the bodies of female members of the congregation the night before burial, a practice thousands of years old.
Beth El member Karin Elkis, said Asbell exemplified the biblical "Woman of Valor" or Eshet Chayil in Hebrew. "Her value is beyond pearls," the verses say. "She extends her hands to the poor, and reaches out her hand to the needy."
The poem "is old, but in Susan's case, it translates to today," said Elkis, chief of staff for the senate majority office in Trenton.
Asbell is survived by her husband, former Camden County Prosecutor Samuel Asbell; a son, Steven; a daughter, Stacy; a brother, Andrew Kushner; and three grandchildren.
Courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer.