BALDWIN, SUSANNE FRANCIS "SUSI", was born on January 22, 1947 as a first child to Sue Bonner and Charles Jackson Baldwin, one of the first families of Coral Gables. Susi graduated from Coral Gables High School, earned her bachelor degree from University of Texas and attended graduate studies at the University of Alabama. Susi's first job was as a high school AP World History teacher at Coral Park High School at the age of twenty. She then became a coordinator for "Close-Up" a national student study program of government in Washington, DC. While living in Washington, D.C., she developed a love for Irish folk music at the Four Provinces Pub, which led her to manage folk bands, Irish Breakdown and Schooner Fare, in New England and Ireland. Susi lived in both Maine and Virginia and continued in folk music as a promoter of the "World Folk Music Festival" where she worked many music legends whom she proudly called friends. She also loved theatre as a crew-member of the London production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Godspell." After her first bout with breast cancer, Susi returned to her home state of Florida. She lived in the family Florida Keys vacation home in the Toll Gate Shores subdivision of Islamorada, where she was a friend and neighbor to many. Susi was known for her love of animals and particularly the herons and egrets she fed from her dock every day. She enjoyed working at the Dolphin Research Center and Hooked on Books. Susi created and directed many festivals including "The Hauntings" in Leesburg, VA and award-winning "Indian Key Festival" in Florida. She was a tour guide in both Washington D.C. and Key West's Audobon House. Susi was a popular guest speaker for P.E.O. Chapter K in Coral Gables, as granddaughter of Gladys Baldwin; stepdaughter of Irene Baldwin; and step-sister of Irene Richards. Susi has traveled to five continents and has authored over a dozen novels, one of which may be e-published on KINDLE reader early 2013. Susi was a breast cancer survivor of more than 25 years, however, it returned in the late summer. She underwent aggressive treatment in Miami, but wanted to return to her beloved Keys to heal in a kinder and gentler place with her many animals and friends. Susi passed away with courage and grace Saturday, October 27th at Mariners Hospital in the Florida Keys. At her request, her ashes will be scattered in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and a celebration of her life is planned in Islamorada in December. Susi is survived by sister Bethany Baldwin and niece Jacqueline Coleman, step-sister Irene "Renn" Richards and husband Terry, step-brother Bob Gravely and wife Sally, nephews Robert and Clayton Gravely and niece Paige Gravely, and longtime family care-giver and friend Margaret McCormick. She was preceded in death by her brother, Jack Baldwin and her beloved cocker spaniel Chelsea. Donations in lieu of flowers to "The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center" in Tavernier, Florida.
Published in Miami Herald on Nov. 4, 2012