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Susan June Blake

June 18, 1953-October 2, 2007

Love Song for Susan Blake: A Life Celebration

Sunday, January 20, 2007
at 2pm (reception from 2pm-3pm)
at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

Cpyright Peacesmiths/Gary Ivan

Click here for pictures and descriptions from Love Song for Susan Blake: A Life Celebration

Everyone is welcome!

This event is being hosted by PeaceSmiths, Inc. and Susan’s family. The event will include a slideshow of Susan’s life by Nancy Jane Blake, words from high school and college friends, and music and poetry from special guests. For more information, or to help, contact PeaceSmiths at (631) 798-0778 or peacesmiths@yahoo.com. (No rsvp required, but call if you like, so we have an idea of how many people are coming.)

Some stuff to share:

Photos of some items found in sorting out the PeaceSmiths archives.
More Photos (including the famous, “Cow Game”)

PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse, established 1972, continues…

Friday, February 1, at new (earlier!) time of 8pm.

Poet: Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr.

Musician: Preymik

Click here for post about Susan with video and comments

Peacemiths, Inc. is a non-profit peace and justice organization that was founded in 1972. The work of PeaceSmiths will continue, with your help and support. The PeaceSmiths board–including Margie, Dorie, and Judy–with the help of Susan’s sister Nancy, are very committed to moving the work forward.

Donations to PeaceSmiths ongoing work for peace and justice
could be made to:
PeaceSmiths, PO Box 312 Massapequa, NY 11758

Announcement from the PeaceSmiths Board

The Board of PeaceSmiths is pleased to announce the appointment of Kimberly Wilder as interim Coordinator. Kimberly has been an active member of PeaceSmiths for many years She has performed at PeaceSmiths Monthly Topical A-Typical Folk Music, Poetry and Whatever Coffeehouse as a poet and a flutist. She was a panelist at the Monthly Forum about education. Perhaps her most exciting time with PeaceSmiths included her adventure with trying to save the famous elm tree in Amityville. We are excited that she has agreed to help us coordinate the many events and projects coming up over the next few months.

In this role, Kimberly will work closely with the Board and she has our complete confidence and support in representing the organization. Please join us in welcoming Kimberly to this new role and feel free to contact her as PeaceSmiths’ interim Coordinator.

Signed, the PeaceSmiths Board

Last Church on the Left


11 Responses

  1. I first met Susan about 2 years ago. I had called about attending the Peacesmiths monthly musical event and open mic. She asked me if I would like to be the featured performer, to fill in for a cancellation. I accepted, and got there early to help set up. After many trips down to the basement and up, with chairs, tables, pillows, candles, etc., I was quite winded. Susan kept on at a much faster pace, although I knew she had health problems. While I took it easy to prepare for my performance, she kept on moving all night, as organizer and hostess.
    From Susan I learned that compassionate concern for this world can be a righteous source of energy. I last saw her on a beautiful day, at the bluegrass festival, with her bicycle. Namaste, Susan.

  2. I joined peacesmiths in 1989 we were involved with
    central american and the domestic homeless issue.
    I had been living in a building in freeport for some time they converted this building into a co-op by the late 80s and i was one of the last remaining original tenants left. during this co-op conversion the managment would do heavy constuction renovations
    inside of the aparments.But this work started to disturb other living things in the building
    by no time we had a major cock roach problem in every part of the building,but instead of at least
    hiring a licensed pest control company to take care
    of the problem the managment started to take the easy way out by buying pestisides themselves
    that were designed to attack the nervous systems of insects
    and animals and they were saturating the building
    with this dangerous poison without following proper labeling directions the building was turning into a gas chamber so it seemed to me that the management was creating a more dangerous
    situation then originally existed, i had to organize
    both tenants and owners to stop the illegal and excessive abuse of pestisides in our building.Well i really didnot know how to properly organize a protest like this so i went to susan blake and she told me about the different county and state agencies to go to for help, she advised me about my rights as a tenant , i whanted to make up a petition that all of the tenants and owners who were interested in stopping this madness could sign to present to the management and the health department but i never did anything like this before so susan wrote the petition this battle to stop the spraying went on for sometime and then in 1991 susan myself and
    some progressive owners got together and we raised money in the building to have a licensed exterminator who only used non toxic methods to
    deal with roach problems , some owners were inpressed but the illegal spraying by the managment continued i was in contact with susan
    every day she never gave up or let me down, i was also in constant contact with the nassau county health department and D.E.C. as per susans advise
    finally we both had a special investigations state police unit of the D.E.C. come down to the building they started an investigation that found the building super who was under the control of the management guilty of using pestisides in a place other then his own home without a license
    these pestisides were made to be used in chicken coops and barns not around people,this horrible fight lasted for almost ten years by the time it was over we were into the late 1990s it almost killed me
    i could not have kept going or won this fight without susan we were on the phone together every day im still very greatful to her for that, so thats part of what susan blake was doing durring the 1990s helping me stop that stupid madness my god that fight did almost kill me it really did.Susan
    we have had our ups and downs over the years but i really do love you very much dont worry you will be with your mother and father and patty god speed to you dear friend i will meet you again on the other side we will always be good friends dont worry about it i love you very much.
    alan wasserman

  3. For Susan Blake

    The first time I every met you was back in September 1995 at the Folk Dance. I will always remember you dancing your favorite dance. I cannot spell the name of it but starts with the letter C.

    At the Coffeehouse always runing around making sure everything was just right.

    Your name will be in memory on my back at all the breast cancer race I do. Your name will be added to the list of women this makes number 10 names in memory of.

  4. I remember when I first met Susan some 20 odd years ago. She lived behind my bakery and always came in for croissants. She was invariably colorfully dressed with her trusty bicycle. I have a picture of her in front of the store on her bike along with Barry. They serendipitously ran into each other there that day after several years and retold the story of how Susan saved Barry from drowning many years before.

    I loved when Susan would come by my house in the evenings and we’d have dinner together in my sunroom, candles on the table …… the crickets chirping outside…classical music softly playing in the background. But the best thing was our conversations. Susan was brilliant…. a wonderful conversationalist and a fabulous debater. Sometimes we’d disagree vehemently and other times we’d laugh….we even gossiped some.

    She was afraid of dogs but when she saw how gentle and well behaved my dogs were, she relaxed and even enjoyed them.

    I remember that distinctive smell that was quintessential Susan….Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint soap!

    She’d call me when she needed something artistic. One night she came by and we worked on a flyer using my computer….that was in the days when she hated using computers for anything. So we sat up all night long because everything that was written had to be redone and looked at in every kind of font possible! Not bad for someone who didn’t like computers!

    We’d often get tired after talking for hours and Susan would end up spending the night on the sofa. Just a few weeks ago Susan called….she was feeling uncomfortable and hot and asked if she could come over. Of course! It was the first time she actually allowed me to pick her up and drive her home the following morning. We watched a tape of her play that night.

    Susan gave me a gift before she died that I will always remember and she helped me in an hour of need when she herself was in so much need. That is real love and caring. She also gave me the gift of meeting wonderful people.

    I don’t feel like she is gone yet. I guess it’s denial. But I will miss all those things we did together and her wonderful Peacesmith’s coffeehouse events….presented as only Susan could do. Sometimes….tired as I was…I’d stay afterwards to wash the dishes and help her pack things away until the next coffeehouse.

    I will miss our late night phone calls. I will miss running into Susan at the supermarket or riding her bike around town. I will miss her scintillating conversation, her smile, her humor. The world will miss an avid activist who lived by her creed.

    Someone very special is now gone and my life will be changed because of the loss. This makes me very sad.

    Susan, wherever you are, I hope you finally found peace. It was an honor knowing you and having you as my friend. Thank you. Peace.

  5. I meet Susan for the first time about 20 plus years ago. I was a junior in high school and she came to my class as a guest speaker. I started volunteering with Peacesmiths soon after and worked with Susan on the Coffeehouse, the monthly discussion forums and various other events on and off for the next several years.

    As a teenager, walking into the old Peacesmiths basement office in Massapequa for the first time, going to my first coffeehouse upstairs in the living room of Katherine Smith’s house…..it was like a little slice from a different time. I learned a great deal from Susan and, by her example, she gave me the courage to live according to my beliefs.

    I don’t have a third of her energy and only possess a fraction of her dogged determination, but I am continually inspired by her force of will and by the uncompromising way Susan lived her life every minute of every day.

    I think that is what I will miss most about Susan; she would never, ever compromise her beliefs when it came to peace and social justice. If only there were more people in this country with the courage to stand by their beliefs, to stand by what they know in their hearts to be the truth….maybe things would have gone differently the last six years. Damn! I’m going to miss you, Susan. I promise to do the best work that I can in your memory.

  6. From our first meeting in the stairwell of Gannett freshman year at the University of Rochester, to children’s theater, to tree pants in Harriman Park, to porcupines in the Catskills, to years of woodwind quintets and flute and oboe duets, to peace marches, to Clearwater, to coffee houses, to picnics and Shakespeare in the Park, to hours of talking, to hours of laughing, to sadness and fragility and still great spirit. It was a real nice clambake. Dear Susan-I miss you.

  7. susan will win. her heart was given over to peace, and her spirit will see the earth through to this. she was and is one of the many who are taking us through all the conflict, differences, and lack of vision, to the better world we are going to have. did she live to see it? this is like asking, susan, do you hear me now? the answer is yes– her spirit lives, she is still here, we will keep speaking her name. there is nothing stronger than a leader for peace. thank you susan for all the moments we shared.

  8. Posted for Rev. Janice (repost from peacesmiths.org web-site)

    I had the privilege of caring for Susan in what might have been the most difficult time of hers or anyone’s life, in the wilderness of last days, at dear friend Cindy’s home, visited by her sister, connecting as she could with us and a few friends. Susan and I allied from first phone communication, and bonded from first meeting in Dr Schachter’s office with commonalities and the interconnectedness of our lives. I feel like I knew her in person for only seconds; getting glimpses of her life thru a kaleidoscope, as it was then and how it was now – synopses juxtaposed to details of moment by moment existence. It was my joy to make and see her eat one of her last solid meals – a “perfect” onion & cheese omelet with her especially fresh, healthy eggs. It was my honor to follow the instructions from sentences weakening into breathy words in an attempt to ease her discomfort. It was inspiring to hear her modestly uncover threads of accomplishments and capabilities and to realize all the lives she affected/touched, and then to have that vastly expand while attending her life celebration. It was easy to rub her back during the last coffeehouse concert for which she summed up all her energy to attend. Three days later shortly after I returned home from Susan-care, it was a shock to my intuitive knowing to answer the call telling me Susan was gone. One an half after I left her, after I stroked her face and hair, sharing few words and much love; tearfully telling her I wish my sister Susan was like her as we exchanged “I love you;” a precious moment in time…

    When Susan attended the GoldenApple Coffeehouse I’m involved in, she heard one of my favorite performers, a sensitive songwriter and excellent musician. When he asked the audience for a response to a question, Susan was the solo voice answering with a surprisingly strong expression about procrastination! Susan, and all, loved the concert; we were thrilled that she did. Thereafter, I’ve never heard Fall Down as the Rain, one of my favorite Joe Crookston songs, without thinking Susan must have written it. If time had allowed, I would have played it at the celebration; I’m pleased to be able to offer it now in written form and with a link to hear part of it. This song gives us tangible ways to be reminded of Susan’s beautiful presence in the natural world.

    Thank you, Susan, for allowing me to care for and learn from you.

    Rev. Janice

    [a href=”http://www.joecrookston.com]

    Fall Down as the Rain
    Joe Crookston 2004

    When my life is over
    And I have gone away
    I’m gonna leave this big ole’ world
    And the trouble and the pain
    And if I get to heaven
    I will not stay
    I’ll turn myself around again
    And fall down as the rain

    Fall Down as the rain
    Fall Down as the rain

    And when I finally reach the ground
    I’ll soak into the sod
    I’ll turn myself around again
    Come up as goldenrod

    Come up as goldenrod
    Come up as goldenrod

    And then when I turn dry and brown
    I’ll lay me down to rest
    I’ll turn myself around again
    As part of an eagles nest
    Part of an eagles nest
    Part of an eagles nest

    And when that eagle learns to fly
    I’ll flutter from that tree
    I’ll turn myself around again
    As part of the mystery

    Part of the mystery
    Part of the mystery

  9. I used rent property from Susan. I think she was a very nice person. I only happened to find out about this very sad event by chance as I was looking up the Peacesmiths. I now live on the other side of the country but will never forget Susan Blake and what a nice lady she was. May God Bless You Susan

  10. I was saddened to hear about the death of Susan Blake recently. By chance, I read a short obit about her from a copy of the New Music Connoisseur; for that publication, news is delayed by a half year or so.

    I had the privilege of knowing her about 30 years ago, and I remember we met at an anti-Shoreham rally benefit around 1977? 1978? just can’t remember. I was a mere lad of 18, still living on the South Shore of Long Island and impressed by her: she was very funny, smart, outspoken and committed to activism. She really inspired me to take a stand, speak out, get off my suburban ass and do something.

    One of my happiest memories about her is attending an anti-Shoreham benefit with her in Suffolk County, and hearing her call square dance calls while a small band played, later she admitted she had no idea what she was doing, but made it up as she went along.

    She also enjoyed acting and told me that (when I was reading Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano), she played the part of the Maid (who was reallly ‘Sherlock Holmes’).

    When I finally moved from Long Island forever in late 1978, I lost touch with her and her mom, who I was also friendly with. We told each other that we would keep in touch, but it didn’t happen. I think it’s inspiring to me that she kept true to herself and her activist causes; there really weren’t that many people who would do that on Long Island…perhaps there are now. (at least I hope so). It’s been interesting to read the memorial comments here, I should say that Susan’s mother was just as outspoken as she was – and that legend about the both of them hugging or chaining themselves to a tree in protest is probably true.

    I miss them both and am the happier for having known them at a formative period of my life.

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