Susan Michaels
1956 - 2018
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Susan Michaels

1956 ~ 2018

Susan Michaels, former co-anchor of KING-TV's "Seattle Today", passed away on December 21st at her home in Sultan. In addition to her accomplished career in television, Michaels was known as a champion for animals, founding the nationally-known animal sanctuary Pasado's Safe Haven.

Born and raised in Waukegan, Illinois, Michaels attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and found her first job in television as a reporter at WICD-TV (NBC). From there, she moved to St. Louis and worked as a reporter, producer and host at KETC-TV (PBS) and KDSK (NBC).

Relocating to Chicago, Michaels won three Emmy Awards as the co-host of "PM Magazine" on WFLD-TV (Fox). In 1987, Michaels came west to Seattle, where she was named co-host of "Seattle Today". During this period, Michaels got involved with animal welfare, creating the annual gala, "Tuxes & Tails", for the King County Humane Society.

In 1991, Michaels transitioned out of television and opened her own business, A Grand Affair, a Bellevue store specializing in women's formalwear. The store gained national exposure when Michaels was featured on "CBS This Morning" and "The Sally Jessy Raphael Show." In 1992, Susan appeared on the cover of Inc. Magazine, which highlighted her success as one of the new breed of small business leaders.

Throughout her life, Michaels dedicated much time and effort to animal causes. She found her true calling in 1992, when the tragic death of Pasado, a beloved donkey who lived in Kelsey Creek Farm in Bellevue, prompted her to follow her passion for animals and enter the world of non-profits. Susan and her then-husband Mark Steinway founded Pasado's Safe Haven, a sanctuary dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals in need. They built Pasado's into a major force that would have long-lasting impact on the lives of both companion animals and farm animals.

The sanctuary eventually expanded to an 80-acre farm in Monroe, housing hundreds of animals including dogs, cats, cows, donkeys, pigs, llamas and goats. Pasado's investigated cases of animal abuse and facilitated large-scale rescues of puppy mills. With community support, Pasado's offered rewards to identify the abusers and advocate for their criminal prosecution.

To pass on an appreciation of animals to new generations, Michaels held classes including her popular "Sanctuary 101", which inspired others to start their own micro sanctuaries. During the holiday season, Michaels hosted cruelty-free Thanksgiving celebrations and coordinated "Home for the Howlidays", which distributed dog and cat food and other much-needed pet supplies to the homeless and less fortunate.

One of Michaels' major achievements was the creation of The Spay Station, a mobile spay / neuter clinic that travelled to the most needy areas in Seattle. Over the past 15 years, The Spay Station has been responsible for thousands of spay / neuters, greatly helping to diminish the number of animals going to shelters.

In 2000, Michaels appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in a segment called "Finding Your Spirit". The exposure on "Oprah" allowed Pasado's to expand even further, attracting supporters from around the world.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Michaels was deeply affected by seeing the footage of animals stranded in the New Orleans floodwaters. Pasado's put together a rescue team that travelled to Louisiana and, over the next month, rescued over 1,200 animals. The work done on the ground by organizations like Pasado's Safe Haven spawned changes in FEMA policy to consider animals in disaster evacuation plans.

Perhaps Susan's finest achievement was her lobbying for and passage of five bills in Washington State related to the care and welfare of animals. This included the historic "Pasado's Law", which made animal cruelty a first degree crime.

In 2010, Michaels retired from Pasado's to spend time with her own animals, of which she had many.

Susan is survived by her mother Rose, brother Forrest, many friends, her animals, and a legacy of service... giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

Donations in Susan's memory should go to an animal welfare organization of your choice.

Her ashes will be spread in a field of daffodils that she planted in memory of all the animals she helped to save.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2019.
Memories & Condolences
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47 entries
January 3, 2021
I will never forget how special susan made me feel the day she picked my wedding dress for me. Talented in so many ways. Loving, kind, such an inspiration. Rest in peace susan.
Dollyanna Emerson
Friend
January 3, 2020
Your spirit is missed Susan; I hope you are in Heaven frolicking with all the beloved animals you loved and saved..
Irene Anderson
Friend
April 28, 2019
Freckles
I first met Susan when a dog named Freckles was rescued by Pasado's from an abuse situation in Eastern Washington. Charges were filed against the owner; and subsequently he wasn't allowed to have animals in the State of Washington. Susan led that fight, and many others. Freckles - his name was never changed - went on to live almost 18 more great years and passed peacefully in 2017. That is Susan's legacy - fighting relentlessly for all animals and inspiring others to fight for creatures that can't fight for themselves.
Diana Shepherd
April 26, 2019
We were so sad and sorry to hear that Susan had passed. She was so energetic/pawsitive/"gonna get it done" kind of gal...full of compassion for the animals...we met her when our neighbor's cat, Mr Grey, was killed in 2000. It was believed he was one of the Bothell Cat Mutiliations..she encouraged me to speak out for him/about him (his family did not wish to) so I did...he was our Sonshine's best friend..our world changed forever on 9/1/2000...Because of Susan, we began to see animals the way I wished everyone would..family..to be loved/cherised...I attended court hearings with her and rode a time or 2 in her old SUV with her/she apologized as a goat had been in there prior to me...I thought that was great...a true animal person...1 zillion % genuine...because of Pasado's, 6 dogs were rescued from a hoarder in horrific condition..Angel, the investigator came out and within a week, the dogs were out...Animal Control did not take the situation seriously, whereas, PSH did..all dogs were rescued/rehabbed and rehomed...I hope she is in Heaven/Rainbows Bridge with Pasado and all the other animals she loved/saved..Much love to you Susan.
Irene Anderson
April 25, 2019
Oh my. I did not know she passed. I took her Sanctuary 101 course and was so inspired by her work and farm. A true spirit for animal care and rights. RIP Susan.
Lisa Saban
April 15, 2019
Edith Parrao
April 14, 2019
I was so sad to hear of Susan's passing. I used to watch her every morning when she was on the Seattle Today show.
I can remember seeing her on The Oprah Winfrey Show telling about
Pasado's Safe Haven. Before then I had no idea she was involved in that wonderful organization.
Thank you ,Susan, for all that you have done to help those without a voice.
Rest in peace.
Kathy
Black Diamond WA
April 14, 2019
Susan - what a truly beautiful and uniquely courageous soul. I was inspired and honored to know you! I know you will continue your journey to care for the animals who now surround you.
Lisa Halston
April 14, 2019
Leo Cadiz
April 14, 2019
Leo Cadiz
April 14, 2019
Leo Cadiz
April 14, 2019
I'm so sorry to hear of Susan's passing. I remember her from my days in Seattle, when she was a tv anchor. What a lovely woman she was, and a great champion for animals. She is an Angel now, still looking after them, I'm sure. Karen Farnham, Tucson, AZ.
April 11, 2019
Just heard today of Susan Michael's death. We tried to fine her for years after she left Pasado's. She was instrumental in us starting our own Precious Life Animal Sanctuary. In fact we gave her her first cow, Hope. So sorry for this news. Ralph and Caryl Turner
Ralph Turner
April 1, 2019
Thank you for honoring Pasado.
Lisa Kuehl
February 6, 2019
So glad I got to spend time with you during the fundraiser "garage sales" for Pasados for a few years. You cared so much about the animals and people around you! You will be missed.
January 28, 2019
God bless you, Susan. Peace.
January 28, 2019
Gob bless you. Peace.
Glenda Say
January 28, 2019
I was lucky enough to get to know Susan on a trip I took to Washington to work at Passado's. She was a force! I will never forget her zest to get things done, her bright spirit, and all her wisdom. I hope Passado was one of the first to greet you. Thank you for all you did, and all the wisdom you imparted. God Bless!
Jackie Rhein
January 28, 2019
I did not know Susan, but her compassion for animals and all she did for them is both inspiring and amazing. The world is a better place because of Susan.
January 27, 2019
Susan Michaels was a force. I first met her nearly 20 years ago when I was still in high school and began volunteering at Pasado's Safe Haven. Things were very different then, and for those of us who believed in the worth of all animals, it was overwhelming and isolating--the idea that things could ever get better for animals felt so impossible, it seemed too foolish and heartbreaking to even try. But once I found Pasado's, it was like stepping into a whole new world, full of hope and compassion. Susan created not only a sanctuary for the animals, but for those of us who volunteered with her--a place where there were happy endings, and we had the privilege of being surrounded by others who cared. She fostered a community of like-minded kind people, so many of whom would go on to do incredible work on their own. Susan had the ability to make you believe nothing was impossible, no matter how bleak. She envisioned big, almost unrealistic ideas, and through tireless work and unwavering commitment, managed to turn them into reality. It is a rare person who can be a dreamer and a doer, and even rarer to be the kind of person who makes others feel that way about themselves. Susan gave me the confidence and experience to participate in so many rescues that I never would have felt capable of before her--including getting critical surgery for a stray dog in Ethiopia and organizing with others to get him back home with me, one of my proudest accomplishments. She was a truly special person and my heart cannot stop breaking for her loss. I hope her soul is being comforted by the many, many, many animals that have had happy endings thanks to her incredible work.
Chelsea Saunders
January 15, 2019
For the Animals,' that was every breath Susan took. Her passion and commitment was evident in all she did. She brought to our attention the need for legislation that would protect the animals and punish those who did not.
I nominated Susan foe the angel award that Oprah gave out on her show, although she wasn't selected, she was recognized for her on going efforts For the Animals,'
Pasado was her dream that became a reality, she worked tirelessly to love and protect all animals, and she did so with grace and dignity. Rest in piece Susan, and know we will continue your mission to protect all animals.
January 15, 2019
One of my favorites I took of our much loved, Pit~Lab, Coco. She's 2 1/2 years old now. I rescued her from the streets & adopted her shortly after.
WOW! What a great, admirable lady, Susan Michaels was and tremendous contributions for animal welfare. God bless her soul and my sincere condolence to her loved ones, friends, and all the people she's touched throughout her life and thru all her wonderful achievements and caring legacy for all the voiceless animals in need. Thank you, very kind lady. You are a great inspiration to all.

Sincerely,
Victoria Resurreccion
Victoria Resurreccion
January 12, 2019
I admired Susan for so many years after her dedication to Pasados and her plight to help save so many unwanted animals after Pasados death. I remember seeing her speak at an animal rescue rally and thinking wow I'd love to do what she's doing someday. Thank you for being that angel and advocate for so many animals here in Seattle Susan and being part of making the world a more compassionate place for them. Rest In Peace over the rainbow bridge
Valerie Holmes
January 11, 2019
Rest in Peace, and thank you for all you have done for the animals
Krissa Sturzione
January 11, 2019
Thank you for your love and support to those who are unable to speak. You are a true hero in my heart. God Bless.
Patricia Schoch
January 11, 2019
Susan showed so many of us how to turn our deep feelings into meaningful action to help all creatures. The light of her compassion will illuminate the world of animal welfare forever.
Peg Kehret
January 11, 2019
I can picture Susan being greeted in a heavenly field by Hope & Tommy, the cows, Ziggy the goat, Wiggles & Lucille, the pigs, and all of the other precious beings she loved with her heartfelt compassion. Susan was a shining light, and her legacy will be with us always.
"Goat Girl" Mary Lou Calo
January 10, 2019
Rest In Paradise Susan, you will be missed dearly. May you be greeted by all of Gods creatures up in heaven.
C. S.
January 10, 2019
Susan you made a huge difference in this world and I know you have reunited with the sweet souls you worked endlessly to save. I feel so fortunate to have worked with you and your amazing staff. I will always cherish my time at the farm.
Noreen Lara
January 10, 2019
Omgosh..... I loved this woman..... I rented my wedding dress from her.... it was the first and last dress ... my mother picked it out....susan called me and said I had to have it.... it was perfect and needed no alterations.... on behalf of my mother who loved animals dearly...she passed away of cancer 2 years ago...I want to donate to her cause in my mother's name....
Dollyanna Emerson
January 10, 2019
I am truly saddened by this loss. You are an amazing spirit, Susan, and your legacy will never fade. Thank you for being a voice for the vulnerable amongst us. You are my hero. Rest easy.
Laurie Fenner
January 10, 2019
You changed my life and taught me so much! May you rest in peace surrounded by all the animals you saved and made such a huge difference for!
Stacie Martin
January 10, 2019
God speed, Susan.
Roscoe, T. Racoon from CW 11 KSTW
January 10, 2019
Susan was truly a hero for the animals! I always admired her compassion and the hard work for all the wonderful things she accomplished. She made the world for animals a little kinder. We all should be able to make a difference, no matter how small to help all animals. Please make a donation in her honor.
January 10, 2019
Thank you, Susan, for taking the initiative to start Pasado's Safe Haven, and for speaking up on behalf of those who cannot.
Gary Tucker
January 10, 2019
Susan, thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of all God's creatures, great and small, who had no voice. I was always in awe of your intelligence, dedication, and innovation. Surely you are now joyously romping around in heaven with all your dogs, cats, chickens, bunnies, cows, ponies, lamas, piggies, etc etc. I love you.
Penny LeGate
January 10, 2019
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My condolences to the family. I was honored to be a tiny part of Susan's mission to improve the welfare of animals. She was a force And the animals were lucky to have her as their champion. Not everyone leaves such a large legacy. Fly free, Susan and thank you for sharing your passion with so many of us!
Dana Bridges Westerman
January 10, 2019
Thank you for all you did for the animals and the people who care about them.
Lorrin Maughan
January 10, 2019
Thank you Susan. Pasado's Safe Haven was the first animal rescue I ever volunteered at. You showed me a world I didn't know existed although it was right in front of me. A world of abuse and cruelty towards all animals that to this day breaks my heart. But more importantly, through your love, dedication and unstoppable determination, I learned that we as animal lovers could make a difference in their lives. I met some of the most caring people at Pasado's, many of whom 15+ years later I'm still in touch with, volunteer with and help make animals lives better. For me it all started with you and Pasado's. May you rest in peace.
Sincerely,
Mike Ostrem
Mike Ostrem
January 10, 2019
Kobe
I'm convinced that without your talent and determination, the animal rights movement would never have seen the gains it has today. Thank you for showing me the truth and allowing me to work along side you. We'll never forget you Susan.
Rita Morgan
January 10, 2019
I was proud to have worked with Susan in raising funds for Pasado and being the first retail store to have food bins in our stores to get needed food donations for the animals. Susan was the animals shining star for their well being. Her life was dedicated for the animals.' Rest in piece Susan.

Cherie Myers
January 10, 2019
Thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the innocent.
Judi Nelson
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