Susanne J. Learmonth
Corinth, Vt. — “When the world wearies and ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” – Minnie Aumonier
Dr. Susanne J. Learmonth died peacefully on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, at home after more than a two yearlong gallant battle with brain cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family. Susi, as she was fondly known, was born in Vienna, Austria on Sept. 15, 1926, and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1938. Her family was able to escape through Italy even after the Anschluss. Susi’s family settled in the Brighton section of Boston.
Susi graduated from Girls Latin, then Radcliffe College, where she was Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School in 1952. Susi interned at Mass. General Hospital and remained on their staff as an anesthesiologist for 23 years before moving with her husband, Jack, to Corinth in 1974. There she joined the staff at the VA Hospital in White River Junction, Vermont. “Dr. Susi” loved taking care of patients, especially the vets at the VA. She was also appointed an Associate Clinical Professor at Dartmouth Medical School. In 1993, Susi retired to her garden, her poetry, her family, adventures with her husband and lots of volunteer work.
Susi volunteered in the local schools and was invited to lecture at schools in Vermont and New Hampshire on her experience as a Jew in Austria in the early days of the Holocaust, and the subsequent escape of her family. In 2008, the Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont published her book Dear Otto, a compilation of letters that her father exchanged with other Jewish families in Europe in his efforts to bring them to the U.S. She contributed to two earlier volumes published by the Center. Susi was a writer of poetry, often incorporating themes from her physician’s life. Many of her poems have been published.
Susi volunteered at the local ski area, Northeast Slopes, in East Corinth, and was a board member of the Upper Valley Vermont Symphony Orchestra. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 2010. When Susi was diagnosed with a terminal illness, the many friends of Susi established an endowment fund in order to provide financial support for the VSO educational outreach in the Upper Valley for years to come.
Susi loved gardening, hiking, skiing, canoe camping and other outdoor activities. She was a right hand to Jack in the family maple syrup operation, even wielding her own chainsaw!
Susi lived in Corinth. She is survived by her husband of 41 years, Jack; a sister, Hanni Myers of Chestnut Hill, Mass.; three sons: Geoff Lamdin and wife, Sue of Brunswick, Maine; Peter Lamdin and wife, Kate of Pelham, Mass.; and son, Andy Lamdin of Montpelier, Vt.; three step-children: Brad Learmonth and partner, Jon Gilman of NYC, Debra Learmonth and partner, Peter Markos of Dover, N.H., and Cheryl Hallahan and husband, Jim of Ayer, Mass.; nine grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, not to mention innumerable nephews and family “adoptees” — the many young people she took into her home over the years.
A note from Susi — “Written by me as a fond farewell: It’s been quite a journey and you have all been there for me all of the way. What a lovely bunch. Know that I thank you and hug you.”
And from Dr. Susi – “I am as proud of my pickles as I am of my MD from Harvard!”
There will be no visiting hours. A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. on Oct. 19 at the
1st Congregational Church, Rt 113, Thetford Hill, Vt. followed by a reception at the Corinth Town Hall, Cookeville, Vt.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the Susi Learmonth Upper Valley SymphonyKids Fund c/o The VSO, 2 Church Street, Burlington, Vt. 05401.