Suzanne Pearson Grantham, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died Feb. 4, 2013, after a courageous struggle with glioblastoma for nearly five years.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Feb. 16, at St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Suzy’s honor to M.D. Anderson to support brain cancer research.
Suzy was born on July 29, 1950, in Santa Monica, Calif., and grew up in the Los Angeles area. A talented musician from an early age, she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of Southern California, where she was a student of Lillian Steuber and Daniel Pollock. She pursued further studies in piano and music theory at the Conservatoire American in Fontainebleau, France. A sensitive and elegant collaborative pianist, her last performance, with soprano Kathryn Findlen, was a recital of American songs in 2008.
While at USC she met composer Donald Grantham. They married in Carmel, Calif., in 1975, and shortly after moved to Austin, when he joined the faculty of the University of Texas Department of Music. Suzy taught piano until 1995, when she and her husband formed their music publishing venture, Piquant Press. Her perfectionism was legendary, and she worked with renowned conductors and music directors across the country. She managed and expanded the business until illness forced her retirement in 2009.
Suzy loved deeply, fiercely and unconditionally. A wonderful and devoted mother, she spent countless hours driving her three children to and from lessons, practices, classes and (one) pre-dawn swim practice. She loved to cook and entertain, and her warmth, kindness, clever humor and infectious laugh were felt by everyone who knew her. Suzy was exceptionally empathetic and compassionate. She adopted numerous pets throughout her life, despite her husband’s objections, and could easily cry at the sound of a beautiful piece of music, a sentimental movie, or even a TV commercial—much to the amusement of her family. She was immensely proud of her granddaughter, who brought light and laughter to Suzy’s last few years.
Suzy is survived by her husband Donald; daughter Ellen of Washington, D.C.; son, Mark and his wife Kim and granddaughter Chloe of Austin; and son Ben, currently serving in the U.S. Army in Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Her west coast survivors include stepfather, Harry Schellhous; mother, Margaret Schellhous; sister, Sharon Pearson; half-sisters: Donna Harmon and husband Gus, Diane Blakeley and husband Tom; stepsisters: Katherine Skelba and husband James, Coleen Pearson, and Jenny Pearson.
Her survivors in Duncan, include mother-in-law Pat Grantham; and brothers and sisters-in-law: Jim and Debbie Grantham, and Mike and Nancy Grantham. Her survivors also include numerous nieces, nephews and cousins and a host of loyal friends.
Suzy is preceded in death by her father, David Pearson; and her father-in-law, Donald J. Grantham, Sr.
Our family is enormously grateful for the outpouring of love and support shown to Suzy and to us during her illness. High on this list are her faithful “Board” members who met at The Magic Carpet or our home every Wednesday afternoon for years; her raucous and rowdy Book Club that changed its venue to our home for Suzy’s last meeting, the day before her death; her Poker Club (‘nuf said); the choir, clergy and parishioners of St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church; colleagues at UT’s Butler School of Music and the National Endowment for the Arts; her fellow singers in the Texas Choral Consort; the congregations of the First Presbyterian, First Baptist and First Christian Churches in Duncan; Anne Slechta, who helped with Suzy’s care in addition to her work with Piquant Press; and the numerous doctors, nurses, medical technicians and personnel at Texas Oncology, Seton and Brackenridge Hospitals, MD Anderson, Home Care Assistance and in particular Amalia Gonzales, and Hospice Austin.
Suzy fought this wretched disease with grace, dignity and humor. At one of her last medical appointments her oncologist asked “how are things in your world, Mrs. Grantham?”---to which she replied with a twinkling smile “My world is rockin’!” One rarely hears laughter in an oncologist’s office, but it was common when Suzy was in the building. Her husband and children adored her, and our world is broken and can never be the same without this wonderful, beautiful woman.
“I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.” -Leo Buscaglia.