Obituary of Susan Janet Sheehan
September 7, 1947 to March 17, 2023
Susan grew up happily in Winnipeg, in a large active family. From a young age on Susan loved to frequent the local library, where she became a lifelong reader- one who over time would create her own large eclectic book collection. Susan also enjoyed live theatre and was an active member of the Kelvin High School drama club.
Susan began her university education at the University of Manitoba where she made lifelong friends including her Winnipeg sorority sisters. She later transferred to the University of British Columbia where she graduated with a degree in Commerce - one of only two women in her class. Shortly thereafter, Susan met and fell in love with Michael Sheehan, a photographer and commercial art teacher, while they were both undergoing cancer treatment. They were married in 1970 and enjoyed a brief and beautiful marriage. They delighted in travelling throughout British Columbia and especially enjoyed their time on Bowen Island. In 1971, Susan lost Michael to cancer. She forever treasured their relationship and kept his beautiful photographs nearby.
Susan had an extraordinary career. She started with the Vancouver Credit Union before joining the British Columbia Public Service as an economic development officer. Her time travelling the province to visit proposed projects bestowed upon her an encyclopedic knowledge of BC towns and highways. While on secondment with the Federal government in the 1980’s, Susan’s policy and financial analysis expertise enabled her to contribute significantly to women’s economic equality in Canada. While at Status of Women Canada, she provided the data, analyses, and arguments for pension reform, pension splitting on marriage breakdown and the expansion of survivor benefits.
Susan briefly returned to BC and enjoyed her role helping with the successful Expo 86 World Fair. During this time, she designed and transformed her property on Bowen Island into a lovely comfortable oasis which was enjoyed by many friends and family over the years. However, the Government of Canada beckoned once more – this time with a permanent position in procurement policy at Supply and Services. From her position at Supply and Services, she progressed to Foreign Affairs and International Trade as senior negotiator and team leader on government procurement issues within WTO and for the GATT multilateral trading talks. She was, according to colleagues, exemplary in this role, and famously discreet.
Upon retiring, Susan returned to Bowen Island where she frequently hosted friends and family, including holiday get togethers. An avid traveler, she continued to love time spent in Europe and anywhere warm with a beach. For many years, she was a valued volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Bowen Island Library. Susan was a loving and tireless caregiver to her sister, Ardith and a special great aunt to Audrey and Jack. Susan cared deeply for her family and is described as their rock, always there for them.
In 1989, Susan was reunited with her birth daughter, Sheri, and became a loving member of Sheri’s immediate and large extended family. Susan treasured her time with her grandson Cory - Grandma Sue, having had the opportunity to be there from the time of his birth, sharing her love of museums, art, music and books. She even taught him to like vegetables. Sheri will always be so thankful for Susan’s support as she and Bill raised Cory, and as her confidant and friend for life.
After a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Susan died on March 17, 2023, in Stoney Creek, Ontario at the age of 75. She will be dearly missed by her daughter, Sheri Harris (Rick Lezon), grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Cory and Alannah Annable (great-granddaughter Adalyn), siblings Stacy Johnson (Dennis), Dermot Shane (Eva) and Aynslie Price (Scott) as well as her much-loved nieces and nephews; Stephanie Johnson, Madeline Shane (partner Mat, Audrey, Jack), Haley Price and Jack Price. Susan was predeceased by her husband Michael Sheehan, parents Audrey and Walter Shane, nephew Cameron Johnson, great-grandson Owen Annable, sister Ardith Shane and sister-in-law Nancy Falck. She will be greatly missed by dear friends made during her time in Ottawa, amongst them Monique Charlebois. The family will always be grateful to Monique for her love and support, and her countless visits with Susan, particularly in the last years of Susan’s illness. She will be fondly remembered by her former son-in-law Bill Annable and Sheri’s parents and siblings.
Her family wishes to thank the teams at Chartwell Waterford, Amica Stoney Creek and Best Care for helping Susan to live her very best life in her last years’ while Alzheimer’s continued to take away her extraordinary capabilities. Susan was gracious, charming, and sweet to the end of her days.
Cremation has taken place. Friends will be received at the Donald V. Brown Funeral Home, 36 Lake Avenue Drive, Stoney Creek on Saturday, March 25, 2023 from 2 p.m. until the time of Funeral Service at 4 p.m. in the Funeral Home Chapel. which may be viewed remotely from the Donald V. Brown Funeral Home Facebook page. In her memory, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Alzheimer Society would be greatly appreciated. Notes of sympathy and condolence may be left at www.donaldvbrown.ca