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Susan Hartung

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Susan Hartung Obituary
Susan C. Hartung

HOUSATONIC Susan Carol Hartung passed away on Sept. 6 with her children at her side. She was 74. Hartung was born in Milwaukee, Wis., and attended Shorewood High School. After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in English, she moved to New York City in 1962. There she immersed herself in the world of art, studying painting at the Art Students' League and Columbia University, where she earned an MFA, and participating in experimental movements in art, music, and dance. She lived in an unfinished loft on the Bowery and on a boat in the Hudson River. Hartung moved to upstate New York and, in 1974, married Antoni Milkowski, a sculptor. Together they raised two children in an old farmhouse in New Lebanon, tapping maple trees, growing vegetables, and making art in a studio they shared. Hartung worked as an editor and later taught English and third grade at Berkshire Country Day School. Hartung continued to draw and paint for over fifty years. Her artwork has been exhibited widely in the Berkshires, Columbia County, and New York City, and is included in many private collections and in the collection of SUNY Albany. Hartung also loved to write, publishing a book of poems, Inclusion, in 2011. If Hartung's art was an open-ended exploration of line and form, her poetry was an exploration of the joy, complexity, and sadness of life. She found beauty in everyday things and meaning in even unpleasant things. She made cancer, with which she lived for three decades, one of her subjects. Hartung also found joy in music, playing piano with friends and singing for many years with Berkshire Bach and other choruses. Hartung was curious and engaged. She loved to travel, try new recipes, and read. She loved walking, canoeing, and chi kung, and she tried new things hiking in Hawaii, kayaking in Alaska even late in life. She was funny, loving, and strong. Hartung deeply valued the friendships she had, some of which lasted more than 50 years, and continued to make new friends until her death. Whether discussing writing and art, singing, spending time with neighbors, receiving care, or supporting others with cancer, she added much to the lives of many. Hartung is survived by her daughter, Anna Milkowski, of Arlington, Mass., and her son, Stefan Milkowski, of Fairbanks, Alaska. A retrospective exhibit of Hartung's paintings and drawings will be on display at Hudson Valley Community College from Sept. 18 to Oct. 25. MEMORIAL SERVICES: A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Unitarian Universalist church at 1089 Main Street in Housatonic. Donations in Hartung's memory may be made to the New Lebanon Public Library, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, the Columbia Land Conservancy, Mountain Road School, or HospiceCare in the Berkshires.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Sept. 11, 2014
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