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PASSAGES Pioneering lesbian business owner Susan Mazer dies
by Carrie Maxwell
2021-09-04

This article shared 1239 times since Sat Sep 4, 2021
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Former Chicagoan Susan Mazer died Aug. 31 due to COVID-19 complications. She was 77.

At the time of her death, Mazer was living in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with her wife Janet Norton.

Mazer was born May 10, 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from Franklin Senior High School in Reisterstown, Maryland. Mazer volunteered for the Peace Corps 1966-1970 where she was stationed in Bucaramanga, Cordoba, Columbia.

For 22 years, Mazer worked at Morton Salt International, Inc. in Chicago. While working at Morton Salt, Mazer also ran a business called Amazing Promotions where, among other things, she sold/gave away Pride flags. Mazer and Norton lived in the Andersonville neighborhood for many years prior their move to Florida.

Additionally, Mazer and Norton hosted a Sunday morning brunch for friends prior to Chicago's annual Pride Parade. Mazer was called the "Pearl Mesta" of the Chicago lesbian community. The couple was also active members of Congregation Or Chadash (now Temple Shalom Or Chadash).

Mazer is survived by Norton; sister Arlene Mazer Amernick; nieces Ellen Amernick and Carrie (Richard) Grinspun; great-nieces and nephews Danielle Behar, Steven Behar, Drew Lang and Jeremy Lang. She was preceded in death by her parents.

"If you want to have fun, call Sue," said longtime friend Alice Cooperman. "Sue loved life and wanted every moment of her life to be filled with fun and surrounded by people she loved. And she loved many, many and was loved by even more. She made me smile even if I was grumpy and she dragged me to our next adventure whether I was in the mood or not. I could always count on Sue to have something interesting and exciting on the agenda from a delightful lunch time walk in the loop to a trip to Florida or Canada or White Pines State Park. No place was too remote or uninteresting.

"If there was no fun, she made fun. And she was kind. If someone was in need you could count on Sue to be there to help. And she adored her nieces and nephews. Nothing was too absurd. Sue was there to support and love them. And most of all she loved Jan. She would have walked to Siberia if it meant being with Jan. 'Wither thou goest' was written for Sue because Jan was her life and Jan loved her in equal measure. I will miss her every day. I hope she is having fun wherever she is."

"Whenever Sue and I were together, be it at home, on the street, in a grocery store or a park, Sue would dance," said longtime friend Anita Lieberman. "She would grab me and we did her version of an 'Egyptian' dance, twirling around, laughing and urging everyone to join us. She brought music and laughter out from everyone she touched. And she loved my mother. She always wanted to visit her; she always made time to go to breakfast or dinner or celebrate a holiday together as a family. When I had dental issues she sat with me every day and fed me with small pieces of fruit she had cut up especially for me. She was there to support me through every bump in the road. I will miss her laughter, her jokes, her compassion and her loyalty to everyone she loved."

"We admired Sue and Jan as role models," said longtime friends Sarah Siegel and Patricia Hewitt in a joint statement. "They were the first long-term lesbian couple we knew after we became a couple in 1991. We were lucky to meet them, and each other, at Congregation Or Chadash in Chicago. It was a time when many congregants' name tags had only first initials of their surnames, but the four of us were fully out and there was power in that. We pray for Jan's continued health and are very sad that Sue didn't make it to 5782, the Jewish New Year, which begins on Monday."

The funeral will take place Sunday, Sept. 5 at 2:15 p.m. Eastern Time at Eternal Light Memorial Gardens in Boynton Beach, Florida. For those who cannot attend in person, the service will also be streamed on Zoom—meeting ID 340 506 4741. Following the service, guests are invited to stay on Zoom to share their stories and celebrate Mazer's life.


This article shared 1239 times since Sat Sep 4, 2021
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