Their romance began in 1981 at a contra dance in Northfield, MA. Within a month, both being courageous, Susan and Walt were on a two-week wilderness canoe camping trip in Quebec. It went well! It led to a caring, protected, loving, nourishing, healing, teasing, and continually surprising forty years. Her bright and playful spirit filled their home. Gentle, kind, courageous, strong of will, spiritual, generous, deferential, Susan was the brightest of lights … yet a quiet light.
Susan had just returned from a year of Studies of Bothmer Spatial Dynamics at Emerson College, Forest Row England, while independently raising her three children as a single mom. Back home in Wilton, NH, she designed and, with her brother Robert, constructed a passive solar home in the Heartstone Community. A risk taker and an active doer, Susan was always moving.
She rekindled her light in cherished alone time. Susan had many ideas and possessed uncommon wisdom, but never foisted thoughts, ideas, or advice on her spouse, her children or others. Respect for the individual was essential to her being! She wished not to burden anyone and had the strength of will, courage, and resolve to sustain that independence until the end.
Born in Chicago, the oldest child to Mirabelle and H.T. Harrison Willett, she grew up in Rye, New York with three siblings: Jean K. H. Wilke and husband Patrick E. Wilke of Reno, Nevada; Ty Willett Jr. of Houston Texas; and Robert K. H. Willett of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Susan applied her degree in elementary education from Hamilton College as a Waldorf teacher at Pine Hill-High Mowing in Wilton, New Hampshire, and Hartsbrook Waldorf School in Hadley, Massachusetts. Susan became an aesthetician as a second career, and was an esteemed trainer, communication editor, and the US representative of Dr. Hauschka Skin Care USA. She served on an international board that standardized Dr Hauschka facial and related treatments worldwide. Susan established High Meadow Skin Care, providing personal care from her cozy home studio for twenty years.
Fully committed to healthy, local, and organic food, she campaigned with friends and neighbors for compulsory GMO labeling. She prepared beautiful food without exception. As a consummate homemaker with an innate and elevated sense for design, Susan crafted an uncommonly beautiful and comforting home.
Susan’s dedication to fitness saw her walking alone and with Walt to all corners of Ashfield and surrounding towns most days of the year. Her twice a week ritualized workouts at Kings Gym in Greenfield lasted almost twenty years.
Susan was attentive to the skies and heavens with a studied awareness of the moon and planetary cycles, the clouds, the weather. She viewed with the same intensity and clarity the critters large and small that made homes in the surrounding yard and fields. She was particularly taken with dragonflies.
Susan adored all children; she would drop to her knees and meet them at their level, engaged fully. Playful in a childlike way, Susan was a cherished bedtime story reader; her carefully considered book gifts became childhood favorites in numerous families.
Dancing together—contra, square, Cajun, folk, swing, and of course the waltz—brought immense joy whether on the dance floor or in the kitchen. Twice Susan’s weight, Walt found an unexplainable magic that they could be in perfect balance. Covid shuttered the dance world and their last short waltz was at midnight Dec 31st, 2019 at Walt’s office desk in the presence of a virtual Ashokan celebration.
Susan is survived by her children Michelle Vey of New York City; Robert Vey of Las Vegas, Nevada; and Jeffrey and Susan Vey of San Marcos, California with granddaughters Nicole and Jessica Vey, all central to her life. She leaves her husband Walter L. Cudnohufsky of Ashfield, MA, son Niels and wife Lynda Cudnohufsky of Ashfield, MA, and son Craig (Cudnohufsky) Gibson and wife Rachel Gibson and grandchildren Phoebe and Levi Gibson of Amherst, MA.
For the rain that brings forth the green leaves,
For the stars that give form to the flowers,
For the earth that cradles the seed,
For the sun that ripens the fruit,
For all this goodness and beauty,
we thank you. Blessings on the meal.
(Waldorf meal blessing)
By her request, an intimate celebration of life ceremony for family and close friends will be held on her beloved Ashfield property in the spring.
Memorial donations can be to made to Red Gate Farm Education Center, Ashfield, MA, a local education center connecting children with nature and farming.