Susan Elizabeth McDonald (nee: Blohm)
"Deadly storm takes house. Leaves Excellent view."
(From The Shipping News, One of Susie's favorite novels)
Susan Elizabeth McDonald: Daughter, sister, crazy aunt, soulmate to Stephen, friend to many, mentor to many more, Crescent sailboat promoter, Captain of the Moxie, boatswain, lover of all-things-Detroit, especially the Eastern Market and Indian Village, intellect, pathological optimist, food aficionado, voracious reader (loved Kafka!), history buff, promoter of science (especially asteroids), and goat herder, sailed away from us on March 6, 2023.
Susan Elizabeth Blohm was born in East Detroit, August 19, 1952. Packed into a tiny house with four siblings and her parents, the East Detroit years were happy with an endless stream of neighborhood kids and chaos. One bathroom and 900 square feet proved to be too small for all seven--so off to the 'burbs they went.
The family moved to Clinton Township in the Mid-60's. Susie stayed in touch with many of her life-long early neighborhood friends throughout the years. She graduated from Fraser High School in 1970 as a precocious student, with an intellect and sarcastic wit well beyond her age. She was voted class crab in the alternative yearbook, and proudly posed for a photo standing atop a pile of garbage giving the world 'the bird.' So much for high school.
Sue headed to Western Michigan where she met her former husband Patrick McDonald (deceased). She eventually made her way back to her beloved Detroit where she graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in journalism. After moving to Indian Village in the late 70's, she became the Editor of the Grosse Pointe News, and later Editor of Michigan Woman Magazine. Her life completely changed when she met the smart, quirky guy with the outrageous beard: Her soulmate and life-partner, Stephen.
Together, Susie and Stephen sailed through life--from adventures in the Florida Keys, to endless days on the Detroit River and the Great Lakes. They shared a mutual love for Crescent sailboats, Indian Village, and especially each other. Thus, began the Goat Yard Years. The Goat Yard, an eclectic collection of everything from boats to firetrucks, took its name from Captain Nemo, the ornery goat that wandered the yard, loving only Susie and tolerating the rest. There were parties on the tug, competitive racing, and life-long friendships made. And through it all there was sailing. Lots and lots of sailing. Her life changed again when Stephen died in 2013. Susie once said "I never really knew a person could actually have a broken heart. Now I do."
Sue's contribution to the Detroit sailing community-through the Goat Yard and her efforts to successfully bring Grey Haven Marina back to life-were immeasurable. Her work with the Detroit Sail Club made her a mentor to many and helped spread her love for sailing. She took pride in her role as a strong woman, both intellectually and physically, and loved being a mentor to the females around her, especially her nieces. Susie could fix just almost anything.
Sue was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer in the Spring of 2020. For three years she fought through variations of chemo as well as radiation, and brain surgery. She was a warrior who remained endlessly optimistic. Her final months were spent in the loving care of her brothers and sisters--especially her brother Tom and sister in-law Jan. Susie's days were an endless stream of love: Visits from nieces, nephews, and friends, noisy, dancing grandkids, phone calls, Sunday church, and a menu of all her favorite foods. Miraculously, she experienced very little pain. She tolerated all of us, spending her last days with a smile on her face. And, as sailors are prone to say, 'that ain't no bullshit."
Susan is survived by her sister Julie Ohlsson (Gary), her brothers Jeff (Karen), and Tom (Janet). She will be intensely missed by her nieces and nephews, all of whom cherish their irreplaceable Aunt Susie. She was preceded in death by her brother Robert (Linda), parents Robert and Patricia and of course, her best friend and soulmate, Stephen.
A special thank you to the Hume family for your kindness, and for loving our sister so completely.
Susie, we will wait for you on the shore.
Memorial contributions may be made to Cross Lutheran Church, 35851 Utica Rd., Clinton Township, MI 48035
Sue was Stephen's spark, but she was a good friend to many as well as me. I got to enjoy her spunk and vitality. Her vision and her love. I'll miss you , but you'll always be in my heart
Beautiful inside & out! Remarkably brilliant, & tremendous fun! Always at the ready with a quip.
Will be missed by so many.
A true American Hero!
Sure am going to miss her. Way too soon. Thank you for everything Sue. Fair winds, sailor.
I'm so glad I got to see Susie again this summer at her niece's shower and wedding. Her spunk and zest for life was always impressive. She will be missed. Happy sailing!
While we did know each other...I knew of you (and Stephen of course). Fair winds Ma'am!
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Clinton Township, MI, United States 48035
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