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Susal Stebbins Collins


1958 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Susal Stebbins Collins Obituary
Susal Stebbins Collins

1958 - 2016 Susal died on July 15, 2016 at the age of 57. She graduated with a BA in 1980 from the Saint Louis Conservatory of Music (oboe performance) and Washington University (St. Louis, MO) in political science. In 2010, Susal earned an MA in Intercultural Management from the School of International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, Vermont. Susal was a passionate human being with unbounded generosity and kindness. All who knew her experienced her absolute commitment to alternative energy, social justice, peace and anti-nuclear power movements. Susal worked for many years as a lobbyist for the Minnesota chapter of NOW, and was awarded the Susan B. Anthony "Failure is Impossible" Award for her work on behalf of women's rights. The award emphasized her "great strategizing and negotiating skills" in the legislature as well as her "never-ending optimism." In 2001, Susal joined the University of Wisconsin Tibetan Language Program in Kathmandu, Nepal. She worked there for three years as a journalist, photographer and editor. Susal also served as the Director of Nun's Welfare at the Arya Tara School for Buddhist nuns. Her stunning photographs from this period have been featured in several galleries in Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky and Vermont. Upon her return to the United States in 2004, Susal continued to deepen her work with the Buddhist community. In the Lam Te Dhyana School of Thich Nhat Hanh, she was accorded the dharma name "Joyful Connection of the Heart." All who knew her would agree that the name suited her perfectly. Once she got her degree at SIT, Susal taught courses in intercultural competence, social change, and practitioner inquiry methods. She is remembered for her spirit and dedication to SIT's students and mission and for her passionate commitment to social justice and humanistic values. With characteristic enthusiasm and commitment, Susal also served on the Restorative Justice Panel at the Brattleboro Community Justice Center. In this volunteer work, she is remembered for "her lovely, kind, gentle and wise soul that created a safe and welcoming space for the Panel's clients." In 2011, Susal became a Regional Trainer in the Transition Town Movement, and she helped to found a Transition Group in Dummerston, Vermont. The group fosters local initiatives that build community resilience in the face of climate change and economic crisis. Susal also worked with Marlboro Productions to assist in the international distribution to community activists of the award winning film "Taking Root" that tells the story of the Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate and SIT Trustee. In 2012, Susal joined the staff of Hampshire College, as the Contemplative Life Advisor. She supported students in the practice of meditation and mindfulness, and held community mindfulness gatherings designed to explore right understanding, right intention and right action to advance social justice and sustainability. A colleague said of Susal, "She brought so much light, so full of love and compassion, patience and honesty. She made a difference to so many students." Susal is survived by a loving family: her husband, William Collins; her mother, K. Ann Stebbins; two sisters, Beth Ann Stebbins (Douglas Brown) and Kara Lynn Stebbins (Al Ferro); a niece, Emily Stebbins (Chris Vita); a nephew, Russell Brown; an aunt, Ruth Raines; an uncle, Joel Dunipace (Barbara); six cousins and countless loving friends. Susal was preceded in death by her father, Robert (Bob) Stebbins. Transition Dummerston will be holding a potluck supper and life celebration for Susal on August 5, 2016 at the Evening Star Grange, 1008 East West Rd. in Dummerston Center from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations in Susal's memory be given Karuna Shechen, based in Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal to support earthquake relief. http://karuna-shechen.org/how- to-help/
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on July 27, 2016
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