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Suzanne E. Winsby

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Suzanne E. Winsby Obituary
Suzanne Elizabeth (Sliger) Winsby, 66, of Acton, MA died peacefully but unexpectedly at home on April 18, 2018 from congestive heart failure, and complications from Type 1 diabetes, with which she had wrestled for 53 years. Over the last two years, she faced numerous health challenges and extended periods of time in hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals. She stayed determined and optimistic till the end. Suzanne was a beautiful, strong, and courageous woman. She was a painter, a mother, wife, and great friend to many. She loved to paint outside the lines using vibrant colors, and she painted colorful murals and decorations in several hallways and bathrooms around the Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord, which was her home away from home. She was creative in all aspects of her life, from organizing wild themed birthday (and un-birthday) parties to one day dumping out bags of flour on the floor for her then little kids to play in, she bro- ught joy to those around her. She was witty and sharp and warm, known for her adroit remarks. She loved art and literature, and conversation. She was always chatting with the next person in line. She was born to Patricia (Mack) and James Sliger in St. Louis Missouri October 8th, 1951, the oldest of three children. Her father was an executive with Alcoa, and the family moved every few years. The family moved to Washington State, first to Seattle, then to Spokane. Next they moved to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and then to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father got the assignment to start up Alcoa of Australia, and the family moved to Melbourne, Australia for three years. In preparation for the trip, Suzanne had a physical, where she was diagnosed at age 13 with juvenile (type 1, insulin dependent) diabetes, the start of a lifelong challenge. The family moved back to the Pittsburgh suburbs and the Fox Chapel school district. Two of her neighbors on that street of transplanted executives and their families, Jim Allmendinger and Roger Winsby, became her lifelong friend and spouse, respectively. She attended Moore College of Art in Philadelphia from 1969-70, and Chatham College in Pittsburgh finishing her BA in painting in 1974. She and Roger married in 1975 and they lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In 1981, Alexandra Elizabeth Winsby was born, and she was followed by Joseph Maxwell Winsby in 1984. Suzanne stayed home to raise the children. In 1985, the family moved to Acton, Massachusetts. Her art career had been on hold between jobs and raising kids. She found an outlet, calligraphy, which combined her wonderful script with colorful decorations, which could be done at home. She made colorful wedding invitations, ketubahs, and Suzanne found a new community of calligrapher artists in the Boston area and became a founding member of MassScribes, and was admitted into the prestigious Lettering Arts Guild. Suzanne wanted to return to painting large, color-field, abstract paintings and needed a studio where she could work on this. She found the Emerson Umbrella in Concord, Massachusetts, and started working on a way to get access to one of the coveted studios. She loved color: bright, bold, washes of color, splashing across the canvas with joyful abandon. Her paintings and murals are exuberant abstract expression works, messy and fun. She was magical, whimsical and gloriously fun, a true extrovert with a love of life, art and music. Suzanne also decorated glassware and kitchenware with colorful designs, which she sold at the Umbrella open studios events. Another creative outlet was teaching art, at the Umbrella, the DeCordova Museum School, and an arts outreach program for the Concord Public Schools. She was beloved as a teacher and mentor to so many children and young adults who were drawn to her vivacious nature and how she translated emotions into colors on a page. She was a vibrant fixture of the Emerson Umbrella artists, organizing parties and Halloween costume walks around Concord. She served on the board for multiple terms. Suzanne and Roger enjoyed traveling, movies, plays, and ballroom dancing. They organized several retro prom dances over the years with throwback hairstyles and clothing. Whenever possible, they loved to dance in public to embarrass their children. Suzanne then taught swing dancing with her dear friend and fellow Umbrella artist, Jon Schmalenberger, at the Umbrella for several years. The family moved to Carlisle for several years, and then to Concord. After a series of health complications stemming from her Type 1 Diabetes, her eyesight suffered significantly and she was not able to drive. This forced her to take a step back from making the visual art she so adored; however, she kept her studio and her many friends drove her to the studio and to doctor appointments. Then, several people connected with the Umbrella decided to start a rock n roll/blues band, with Suzanne as one of the singers. This became known as The Monday Night Band, and this activity became a great joy for Suzanne. After a series of eye surgeries at Joslin Diabetic clinic, her eyesight was restored sufficiently that she could drive during the day. Suzanne and Roger moved to the Robbins Brook 55+ townhome community in 2010. Suzanne was a devoted mother and was very proud of Alix and Joe. She was a supportive, spontaneous, (sometimes conspirator) parent and friend, always respecting her childrens ideas and whims. She made sure that Alix got all the artistic education in her formative years, that Suzanne had wished she had gotten from her family. She drove Joe all around Carlisle and Concord to sports events and friends houses. Suzanne was thrilled that both of her children married such wonderful people and that she now had four grandchildren. She loved singing harmonized lullabies with Roger to their grandchildren. Suzanne is survived by her husband of 42 years, Roger Winsby; daughter Alexandra (Myles Bisi) of New York, son Joseph (Monica Welle) of Miami. Nana Sooze will be greatly missed by her grandchildren: Thea (4), Emilia (2.5), Rhys (1.5) and Beatrice (who was born two days before Suzanne passed away; she was thankful to meet her via Facetime). She is also survived by her younger brothers Daniel Sliger of Pittsburgh PA and Edward Sliger of Roseville California. Her health problems intensified over the last few years, as the long-term complications of diabetes impacted all of her systems. Her family greatly appreciates the support of all of her Umbrella and Acton friends, who always checked on her and gave her numerous rides, after she stopped driving. Her family especially appreciates the devotion shown by Jon and Marilyn Schmalenberger and Max Payne. This support, along with help from her caretaker Jackie Porto allowed her to continue her creative work and joie de vivre. A celebration of her life will be held at the Umbrella Center for the Arts, 40 Stow St., Concord, MA on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 4 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Joslin Diabetes Center (www.joslin.org/ giving.html). Guestbook www. DeeFuneralHome.com.
Published in The Boxborough Beacon from May 1 to May 10, 2018
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