Susan Mithun Duncan
Duncan, Susan Mithun age 70, passed away peacefully at home in Santa Fe, NM in the presence of family on August 19, 2017, after an 18-month battle with cancer. She was a lifelong educator; an activist for racial and economic justice; a loving mother, wife, and sister; and a caring listener with a ready smile for her friends. Susan was born in St. Paul on October 26, 1946 to parents Howard W. Mithun who served as General Counsel for the Minneapolis Star Tribune - and Jacqueline R. Mithun - who was an elemetary schhool teacher. She attended Visitation School and graduated from Northrop (Blake) School in Minneapolis in 1964. At Stanford University, friends nicknamed Susan "Christopher Robin" for her adventurous yet practical spirit and her strong moral compass. There she met her husband of 49 years, Cam. After marrying in 1968, they moved to Houston, where they founded a community newspaper - Space City News - and then Austin, where Susan began her career in education with the Head Start preschool program. Susan and Cam joined the anti-war and international solidarity movements of the time, participated in the Venceremos brigades to Cuba, and later moved to Puerto Rico. Susan and Cam lived in Washington, DC for 29 years, where they raised two daughters in a home known for shared meals with neighbors and colleagues, and as a welcoming place to stay. Susan taught middle and high school history and geography, and later managed summer, after-school, and service-learning programs. She also volunteered with the PTA at her daughters' elementary school and with Amigos de las Americas, a youth service program in Latin America. In 2007 Susan and Cam moved to Santa Fe. Susan was elected to the Santa Fe Board of Education in 2013, where she championed bilingual education and advocated for the District's immigrant students. She was also a member of the Mayor's Cabinet on Children and Youth and the Collaborative Working Group on Extended Learning. Susan was especially passionate about the Hands-on Heritage summer program she started a place-based, expeditionary learning program for students in grades 4-8 focused on the environments and cultures of northern New Mexico. Susan loved cross-country skiing and hiking with Cam and their dog, Tess. She passed on her love of the outdoors to her daughters, who treasure memories of canoeing adventures and family camping trips. She shared her garden with them (especially the weeding), teaching the names of flowers, and nature's seasons and cycles. She enjoyed learning languages and was fluent in Spanish and French. Friends remember her ability to connect with people of all walks of life, and she will be deeply missed by many. Susan is survived by her husband, Cameron Duncan Jr; daughters, Lucia and Anna Duncan (with partner Tony Macias); granddaughter, Lucinda; sister, Jacqueline S. Mithun of Edina, MN; cousins Lewis, Raymond, and John Mithun; cousins Marcy, Katherine, Bill, Louis, and Patrick Tilton; and many nieces and nephews. There will be a public memorial to celebrate her life at 4pm on September 16 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 107 W. Barcelona Rd, Santa Fe. To honor her legacy, contributions can be made to Partners in Education for the Hands-on-Heritage program - 1300 Camino Sierra Vista Santa Fe, NM 87505 - or to a charity of your choice.
Published on September 3, 2017
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