Susan Keegan
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Susan Keegan A pomegranate sits on a friend's table in Santa Rosa. At her cousin's home in New York, there is a jar filled with black mustard seeds. And somewhere in Ukiah, a neighbor is scrambling some eggs hatched by the chickens that so delighted Susan Keegan. These are the gifts Susan shared so generously from her garden, and they are a metaphor for a life spent planting, nurturing, and cultivating life's riches. But Susan Ettinger Keegan has died, suddenly and unexpectedly at home in Ukiah on November 11, 2010, and her family and friends are left in shock and grief. Susan was born July 23, 1955 in New York City, and graduated from Lakeland High School in the suburban community of Yorktown Heights where she was raised. As the National Champion of the high school Debate Society, she honed the critical thinking skills that would serve her so well throughout her life. Susan was admitted to Radcliffe College, where she studied briefly, eventually earning her BA and Master's degree in English literature at Sonoma State University. In New York she met Peter Keegan, and headed cross-country on a motorcycle trip in the mid-1970s, landing in a sun-filled apartment in San Francisco's Potrero Hill. Settling in Ukiah a few years later, they raised two beloved sons, Simon and Luke, who she cherished beyond words, wanting for them all that is right and good and joyful in this world. Susan also became engaged in a myriad of community activities. She worked first as a reporter for the Mendocino Grapevine, covering local politics and writing feature stories, then as business manager for the Ukiah Players Theatre, and in the 1990s as an instructor in English and Business at Mendocino Community College. For eight years in the 2000s, Susan served as community services director of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, where her knack for motivating volunteers and coordinating events, including Relay for Life, earned broad respect. She was particularly proud of passing tobacco licensing ordinances in the cities of Willits and Ukiah to decrease cigarettes sales to youth. Most recently, she was the Mendocino County coordinator for Breathe California, organizing web conferences and training for health care professionals. Susan liked to begin each day completing the New York Times crossword puzzle with quick efficiency. A voracious reader, she zipped through classics and popular works by an astonishing array of writers, from Dorothy Dunnett to Patrick O'Brian. She could recite Shakespeare monologues by heart but just as readily devoured new mysteries, as long as they had an intriguing twist. A lover of libraries, Susan was reputed to be the #1 user of the Ukiah Library, checking out as many as a dozen books every week, year after year. Not surprisingly, she was also a creative and skilled writer, crafting short stories, the bones of a mystery novel, and many non-fiction works, including a book on the Mexican Revolution. Susan also loved to sing, and was for many years a member of the local quartet -- the And Who Sisters. She learned Spanish in mid-life and was a passionate traveler, adding Italy, Russia, France, England, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina to her list in recent years. Urban life called to her and New York City held a special power. An actor in local productions, Susan's credits include Jesus Christ, Superstar and Amahl and the Night Visitors. This fall she was thrilled to be chosen as the Player Queen in the Mendocino Community College production of Hamlet, describing her elaborate costume: "My first days as a blond, and it is truly fabulous -- I sparkle, I glow, I have white greasepaint in my hair even after shampooing!" Susan's intelligence, wisdom and compassion were evident to all who knew her. She understood the meaning of loyalty, and stood by those she loved. She was good at everything to which she turned her attention. At home, this meant tending a lush garden, five hens, a fish pond, a bee hive, a worm box, and of course her beloved cat. She made bread from scratch, jam from her own strawberries, and strong coffee for anyone who stopped by, unless they insisted on tea. Susan lost her mother, Nancy Cole Ettinger, three years ago, but she is survived by her father, Stanley Ettinger; her birth mother, Jeanne Russo; her husband of 32 years, Peter; sons, Simon and Luke; sister, Linda Ettinger Puls; in-laws, Fred and Regina Keegan, Catherine Keegan, Ed and Karen Keegan, Paul and Mona Keegan, Michael and Debbie Keegan, and James and Rose Keegan; cousins, Karyn Feiden, Doug Feiden, Wayne Feiden and David Elsasser, and her Aunt Barbara and Uncle Barry. Susan was a devoted and loving aunt to many nephews and nieces, including Frank and Kathy Hurtado, Shaun and Rachel Hurtado, and Mackenzie and April Keegan. Her sudden death brings an incalculable loss to those who loved her, including so many friends. A memorial service honoring Susan's life will be held November 21, 2:00 pm, in the sanctuary at Ukiah United Methodist Church, 270 North Pine Street, Ukiah. Friends and well-wishers are welcome to share stories and remember Susan's beautiful spirit. The service will be followed by a potluck gathering in the Church's social hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Susan's favorite charities, including the Ukiah Library, Ukiah Community Center Foodbank, or Ukiah Plowshares.

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Published in Ukiah Daily Journal from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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25 entries
December 9, 2010
Susan un lindo y limpio espiritu , descansa en paz
Paty y familia.
November 28, 2010
Dear Peter and family. My daughter Emily just notified me about Susan's untimely death. My prayers and thoughts are with your family. Sincerely,
Ramona Ansolabehere
Ramona Ansolabehere
November 26, 2010
Our deepest sympathies. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Frankie and David Nickeson
November 21, 2010
“What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch, we may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget.” In honor of Susan Keegan with deepest respect and abiding love for her family.
Jim and Joanne Domire
November 19, 2010
How sad to lose someone you love so much. Susan was a wonderful sister-in-law, aunt, mother, wife, friend, cousin, daughter, sister, etc, etc, etc. I cherish the time I had with her. The lessons she taught me. The love she gave so freely to my sons, Frank, Shaun and Mackenzie. She then extended that love to their wives, Kathy, April and Rachael. She and I worked very hard to create real family traditions. We marveled at our sons successes. We shared all the stages of motherhood together. Supporting one another through the challenges that only sons can bring. We often questioned where we would be within the next year, 5 years, 10 years. We never considered that one of us wouldn't be here. We so looked forward to the pitter patter of the little feet that would fill our homes again, as we became grandmothers and great-aunts. My thoughts, prayers and love go to Simon, Luke and Peter. And to everyone else who loved her as we did. Susan will forever live in our hearts.
Karen Keegan
November 19, 2010
My thoughts and Prayers go out to you and your family. Susan was a wonderful women and I'm glad I had the opportunity to have known her. She will be missed...
Laura Gerrard
November 19, 2010
It is with sincere sympathy that I send this note, in shock, after reading on-line the news of Susan's passing. I have been the Survivorship Chair for Cloverdale Relay For Life since it's onset and Susan was a dear, dear friend immediately. We were able to meet up a few times in person, many times on the phone and via email, always with compassion regarding cancer Survivors and finding a cure. What a strong legacy she leaves behind and I hope it helps the family to know so very many people share in your grief. I am numb and it will take a bit for this to sink in. Many, many prayers will be said for all of you today, and in the days ahead. Thank you for sharing your tireless wife and mother . . . . . she leaves a deep impression on many hearts. With love, friendship and sincere sympathy ~ Kathy Dogali
Kathy Dogali
November 18, 2010
Dearest Peter, Simon and Luke: I just learned of Susan's passing and am at a loss for words. So many wonderful memories she has given us. So many moments of tenderness and kindness. I hold each of those moments, with warmth in my heart, in memory of her. May you be held in the love of your family and know your freinds embrace you with affection and care.
Deborah Lovett
November 18, 2010
My deepest condolences to Susan's family and friends. Although I only met Susan recently, she made such an impression on me with her kindness and caring for her dear friend Oni, my stepmother, and my sister's and I during my father's passing. She was such a great friend to Oni and I know that she will be sincerely missed by all who knew her. Although she is gone, she will never be forgotten by those who love her. Rest in peace dear Susan.
Tracy (Magoon) McCarthy
November 18, 2010
Dear Peter and family,
I am so sorry for you loss. I know just what this kind of shock is like - at least how it was for me. I played softball with Susan years ago on Project Sanctuary team. I played right next to Susan who was a great 2nd baseman - and bonus - always funny. miss you now.
Paloma Hill
November 18, 2010
Dear Peter and family, Words can't express my feelings for your loss and for one of the brightest lights in the Ukiah community.

The obituary so well described her vibrancy and multi-faceted living that even those who didn't know her well, will know they missed someone unique in this Creation.
May God's peace fill your hearts and lives in the days and years to come.
Maggie McNeill
November 18, 2010
Oh, no! We are terribly saddened. Our years in Ukiah with Susan and Peter, Luke and Simon were magic, like Hogwarts or Camelot. Susan was an enthusiastic singer in our folk group at the Ukiah United Methodist Church. She was always so positive and enthusiastic. And we appreciate her service in the church as youth counselor and a dedicated member in so many ways. When the Ukiah Players theater kept costumes in the church, we would often chat with Susan as she sorted through the garments and garb. We know that God has welcomed Susan into a special room in God's eternal mansion where she wants for nothing but the consolation of her loved ones. Our prayers go out to you, Peter, Simon, and Luke!
John & Rachel Kraps Berry
November 18, 2010
Blessings are in our thoughts and prayers.
Becky Thomas
November 18, 2010
What a beautiful tribute. My deepest condolences.
Ginessa Pierson
November 17, 2010
How truly sorry Iam for your loss. We had just reconnected on facebook earlier this year. What a beautiful story she leaves in her wake.
trudee gardner
November 17, 2010
Dear Simon I am very,very sorry for the loss of your mom.She sounded like a very special lady.Hugs to you and your family
Wendy Snyder
November 17, 2010
Peter,Luke and Simon,
our arms are around you.
Sue and Gary Schinsing
November 17, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss. Your neighbor.
November 17, 2010
Dear Peter and Family:
I was so sorry and shocked to hear of Susan's death. My condolences to all of the grieving family.
Prilla Goforth
November 17, 2010
Peter, I'm in shock. I didn't know Susan but I have always heard wonderful stories about her. The mid 50's seems to be a bad age to be these days. I'm so sorry for your loss and it goes without saying that if you need anything, my phone line is always available. Take care of yourself.
(Sean Keegan - Houston)
Sean Keegan
November 17, 2010
I am very sorry for your loss.
Dennis & Lawanda Lucido
November 17, 2010
To Susan's family: I only just met Susan working on Hamlet, but she was a joy to be with and I had hoped to spend much more time with her in the near future. All of us in the production have heavy, heavy hearts over her death. You are truly blessed to have had such a wonderful lady in your lives.
Andrea McCullough
November 17, 2010
During the brief but memorable time I was lucky enough to spend with Mrs. Keegan, I found her to be an extraordinarily warm and gracious woman. She will be missed.
Justin Givens
November 17, 2010
Dear Peter & family:
We are so saddened and sorry for your loss of Susan. She has a special place in my heart. She was kind enough to take the time to befriend our daughter Cielo (14 years old at the time) at Mendocino College while they were in an art class. Cielo looked forward to seeing Susan, as she felt comfortable and warmly received. This was Cielo's first classroom experience since second grade (she is home-schooled), she was scared and nervous, but Susan was there for her! When we would run into her at Super Taco, she always had a friendly and welcoming smile. She was a true, precious gem. Our prayers and love go out to you and the family. God Bless you. Sincerely Larry, Debbie, Cielo, and Raquel Alavezos.
Debbie Alavezos
November 17, 2010
So sad to read of Susan's death, and at such a young age, too . . . I knew her both from her work at Mendocino College, where she was a fine instructor, and for her work through Mendocino County Public Health. "Out, out, brief candle . . . ." You certainly will be missed, Susan.
Frank Zotter
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