1954 ~ 2017
Suzanne Simpson was born to Marilyn Jean and Harry Simpson in Detroit, Michigan on September 15, 1954. She was the oldest of three children (survived by Jo Ann and Jim).
Her education was first at Eastern Michigan, then the University of Michigan, where she received two degrees. She also attended Goddard College in Vermont and Washtenaw Community College in Michigan. She returned to the University of Michigan, getting her Masters in landscape architecture and urban design. Her life was like a collage with numerous interests including sociology, psychology, environmental studies, social work and urban studies/design. Her range of career paths was indicative of her expansive curiosity and exploratory nature. When she landed on art as her life's passion and work, it was no surprise. Art already had been a thread in her life since she was a child.
Suzanne's free spirit was also reflected in the various states she lived in : Michigan, Vermont, New York, Florida. She moved to Utah in 1989, where she worked as part of the Kids Against Violence Program, then with artist Rebecca Campbell. Other positions included the Utah Artist-in-Residence Program where she taught in various schools. In 1994, she was asked to teach art at Weber State University. Shortly after that, she added teaching at Westminster College. Between the two schools, she was responsible for 5 to 7 classes per semester. She taught for more than 20 years.
She was highly respected as an outstanding artist with remarkable creativity and personal success (photography, collage, design, assemblage, etc) Her art was seen on covers of magazines as well as in exhibits, including The Art Barn, and most recently at the Parliament of World Religions.
Most importantly, Suzanne was a beloved, dedicated teacher, devoting herself entirely to her students, many of whom became and remained her friends. She gave of herself unsparingly and was absolute in her commitment, encouraging and launching the careers of many fledgling artists. She'd stay up to help her students sometimes till 3:00 in the morning.. This remains her proudest legacy.
Suzanne will be remembered for her intense love of nature and connection to the earth, for her boundless curiosity, for her sunshine smile and joyful spirit. The success of her life is measured by the beauty of her art and the abundance of friends who will miss her dearly. She died on November 3rd, after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Typical of her indefatigable spirit, she held her own until the end and died with her values intact. She left without the assistance of drugs or any unnatural assistance, including aspirin.
Her great regret at the end of her life was that she had not fulfilled her dream of completing a stone house, a Kiva, in Torrey, Utah where she had aspired to create artwork full time in an outdoor environment.
A celebration of her life will be held at 7:15 PM on November 15 at the home of Jerry and Elise Lazar, 4187 S. Neptune Drive. In lieu of flowers, Suzanne requested that you consider donating to an environment organization of your choice.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune on Nov. 8, 2017.