Susanne Elizabeth Collier-Lakeman

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was born at the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara on September 18, 1958 to Mr. and Mrs. William Bell Collier III and died surrounded by family at Simi Valley Hospital on April 1, 2014.

Susanne began her career as a ballerina studying with Maria Kedrina. She made her stage debut at the Lobero Theater at the age of 4 in the children's Parpignol Chorus of the Santa Barbara Civic Opera Association production of La Boheme. She continued her ballet training with Ernestina Fenzi, Tamara Usher (Kinsell) and at the Hanlin Studios. She was a principal dancer with the Santa Barbara Ballet Theater performing such roles as Queen of the Wilis in Giselle and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty both at the Lobero and on tour. Concurrent with her ballet career, she studied the piano with Lloyd Browning and took part a summer class taught by Reginald Stewart at the Music Academy of the West.

She was educated at the Howard School, Laguna Blanca School and graduated from Westmont College in 1980 with a double major in English Literature and Ballet.

Following her stage career, she pursued graduate studies at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, England where she earned her Masters and PhD degrees in Renaissance Studies. Her thesis was entitled "The Incidence of Deus ex Machina in Jacobean Theatre". While in England, she taught at the London Program for the University of Notre Dame.

Returning to the United States, she taught for three years at the University of New Hampshire, Durham before joining the faculty at California State University, Northridge in 1990. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994, and granted tenure in 1996. In 1999, she was the recipient of a University Ambassadors Polished Apple award and in 2001 was promoted to full professor.

She was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church where she served as a lector.

She was predeceased by her parents, and her husband David John Lakeman. She is survived by her sisters Mary Blackwood Collier and Sarah Collier Heatwole (Mrs. Mark), 3 nieces: Mary Phyllis Heatwole Duplissis, Elizabeth Collier Heatwole Coppins, Anna Bell Heatwole and 3 grand-nieces.

A Memorial Service is planned for Tuesday, April 15 at 4 pm at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Simi Valley. In lieu of flowers friends may contribute in her memory to St. Francis of Assisi.


Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Apr. 11 to Apr. 15, 2014
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