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Susan Begg

Obituary of Susan Begg

Susan Begg

Ithaca - On September 15th it was discovered that the Outrageous Susan Begg had exited this world to attend to whatever adventure awaited in the next one. She was born with at least five lives, perhaps not the requisite nine of feline fame, but definitely more than one.

She started out a Navy brat, born on July 31, 1950, into a Navy family to Chief Warrant Officer Robert Begg and Renie Begg. When they were stationed in the States, she spent some of her childhood in Bucksport, Maine, which was the favorite Begg gathering place. Although most of her childhood was spent overseas and on Adak Island in Alaska, she always felt that tie to Maine. In all of these places, she learned to love the sea, world travel, and eventually, single malt scotch.

Her next life took her to Smith College where, amidst other brilliant women, she found that she also loved women. Pretty much all of them.

Life number three found her enrolled in the Cornell Veterinary School. She thrived and excelled! She was dubbed "Boomer" by one professor and did her best to live up to the name. She found another smart woman with whom she would be involved both personally and professionally as she moved out into the world.

In life number four she did an internship at the prestigious American Medical Center in New York City, and then a residency in Pathology at Cornell. She worked for a few years in Buffalo and then weaseled her way back to Ithaca, leaving a string of broken hearts behind her. She worked at Briar Patch Veterinary Hospital until she didn't. Then she started her own business, Vet Express, where she became loved by every client who needed her to come to their house and attend to their beloved pets.

At this point, the lives she led became somewhat entwined. Alcoholism followed her from Life #2 until the end of her life. She became very involved with 518. This relationship was very important to her. When she was her best self, it was when she had an outside structure, and 12 Step was a powerful influence on her. She played softball and rugby; she became a fire fighter, a job of which she was particularly proud. She joined the Unitarian Universalists. Then, finally, studying and working incredibly hard, she returned to the sea by joining the Merchant Marines. In many ways, she felt that she had come home. In each of these lives she found families of friends, lovers, team mates, neighbors and coworkers, all of whom will miss her.

She is survived by her cousin, Jane Paxton, by her sweet cat, Hugger, and by a small group of longtime friends, Team Susan, who knew her for decades and supported her for the last few years of her life.

Starting in 2016, she began to suffer from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's-like dementia. Sometimes she could roll with it, telling friends to call her moments before they arrived at her house because she "couldn't remember shit". As her memory failed more and more, she became increasingly depressed. She grieved for her mother who died in 2007, but always told people that she was blessed by the friends who rallied around her. She struggled with her old demons.

Later it became obvious that most of Susan had headed out to sea, leaving us with a pale imitation of her former, larger than life, self. Like the Unsinkable Molly Brown, the Outrageous Susan Begg has pulled herself out of the water and charmed her way into the next adventure.

A Memorial Service will be held at a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Ithaca Community Recovery, 518 W Seneca St., Ithaca, NY 14850.

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