On Thanksgiving of 1982 I was introduced to a gracefully sophisticated lady at the Bakery restaurant on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. I said goodnight for the last time to that same genteel woman on Palm Sunday.
We settled in Riverside over 30 years ago to live and raise our family. I originally assumed we had taken a serendipitous path that led us to Riverside. On reflection, I am now certain that the village had chosen Susie Bartholomew before I ever met her.
Suzanne was enchanted by Riverside. She loved the design of the village and that it had, in fact, been designed. She was fascinated by the history of Riverside and its inhabitants. Susie probably came to know more of those chronicles than anyone living or dead. She enjoyed the architecture of several of the older structures in Riverside, especially the library building.
My first encounter with Riverside occurred at night. I had entered a labyrinth without a ball of thread. I was hopelessly lost. After living here a while I came to the conclusion that I had stumbled into the American version of the village from the musical Brigadoon. I’m sure Susie’s first impression of Riverside was the same as her last; she was home.
Susie expressed her devotion through service to your community. She was on the historical and preservation commissions, the St. Mary’s school board and belonged to the Riverside Book Club as well as the Garden Club. It should be noted that she was an active member of these organizations. Susie did not belong to network or look for accolades. She felt an obligation to serve, but it was an obligation she performed joyfully.
A few days ago, two Cockspur Hawthorns were planted near our home on one of the common space islands that help characterize the village. The project was conceived and funded by members of her siblings’ families. It was coordinated and executed by the village of Riverside’s forester.
Suzanne valued family above all else. I found it very appropriate that her two loves, family and home, would collaborate on this wonderful tribute.