Susanne Coshow Mathewson

Susanne Coshow Mathewson

8/6/1935 – 4/29/2019

Susanne Coshow Mathewson passed away on April 29, 2019, at the age of 83. Sue was born in 1935 at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California, to Dr. G. Horace Coshow and Dorothy Mae Metsker Coshow.

Sue had a wonderful childhood growing up in Carpinteria, California, where she earned valedictorian at Carpinteria High School. Her family frequently took road-trips throughout the western United States and her parents traveled internationally setting up Sue’s life-long interest in traveling.

Sue attended Stanford University where she earned a BA in psychology in 1957. During that time, she was active in student organizations, and was elected vice president of the Student Body (the highest student position available at the time to women at Stanford). In another highlight, during a brief 10-minute period, she helped to steal The Axe at the end of a Big Game rather than return it to Cal. Summers were spent working in Yosemite, a place she loved and visited frequently throughout her life, especially Tuolumne Meadows.

After graduating from Stanford, Sue moved to Boston and worked as an assistant buyer for Filene’s department store. In 1959, she married William (“Bill”) D. Mathewson, whom she met while a student at Stanford, and they moved to San Jose, California, and started to raise four children. In 1968, they moved to the Chicago area, then Philadelphia, back to Chicago, and on to Los Angeles before finally returning and spending the rest of their lives in downtown Chicago.

Sue was active in the community everywhere she lived, from volunteering at the children’s convalescent hospital in San Jose, to school PTAs and garden clubs, to being den leader in Cub Scouts or troop leader in Girl Scouts, to being a board member of the Trees that Feed Foundation. In Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, when one of her boys did not make the local baseball team, Sue started a no-cut little league, one of the first to allow girls to play baseball. The Lower Merion Mustang League grew to more than 40 baseball teams.

Sue had a life-long love of learning and in 1981 earned her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. As part of this love of learning, Sue and Bill enjoyed travelling extensively, visiting Africa, Asian capitals, South America and most of Europe in addition to many national parks in the US. Sue reached the Everest base camp at age 55, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 60 and Mt. Hoffman above May Lake in Yosemite at age 80 with her children and grandchildren.

After Bill’s death in 1991, Sue continued to travel internationally She truly loved studying and experiencing other cultures, particularly ‘sub-primitive’ cultures, and was very outgoing, seeking out unusual adventures, striking up conversations and making friends wherever she went. Notably, she was the first Caucasian woman to cross the highlands of West Papua, New Guinea, trekking over Mt. Elit to Piliam with a guide and nine porters; she helped sail a two-masted tall ship for three months from Panama to Tahiti, stopping at Pitcairn Island; she river rafted in Chile and Ethiopia; she visited Iraq, Iran, Syria, Kurdistan, Palestine and Jordan, all immediately after the first Iraq War; she ran a dog sled team for a week above the arctic circle in Norway as well as in Alaska during the Iditarod race; she kayaked in Laos, Madagascar, Mexico, Canada, Italy and along the Turkish coast; she visited the North Pole twice on Russian nuclear-powered ice breakers and the South Pole once; she eventually traveled to all seven continents and over 120 countries. In her sixties, Sue fell in love with fly fishing and for the rest of her life actively fly fished throughout the US and all over the world, consistently working on trying to improve her technique.

Sue was an active member of the International Women’s Association, Trout Unlimited, Stanford and Northwestern Alumni Associations, and supporter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Cubs. She was predeceased by her husband Bill and sister Sally, and is survived by her brother George (Alana) and her four children, Cynthia (Rick) and Brad, Eric (Merriman) and Bok Choy, and eight grandchildren. Her insatiable curiosity and quest for knowledge and new experiences made her a wonderful role model for all and she will be greatly missed. She has been buried at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto.

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