Sue Berard

Susan Crampton Berard - September 21, 1934 to November 21, 2009
Susan Crampton Berard - September 20, 1934 to November 21, 2009

[View some more photos of Sue at this Picassa album.]

Sue loved good food.

Of course Sue loved her family, and she loved Cohasset, Mass (where she grew up), and she loved her work with the Society for Hematopathology, and she loved puzzles and card games (especially Bridge), but she really loved good food, and she loved preparing and serving good food to those people she loved.

I count myself very lucky to be included in that group, mostly because of my recent association with her eldest daughter Alison; her endearing nick-name for me was “SonInLaw” which mimicked the same salutation given to her husband by her mother. We bonded over food: were the steaks thick enough? And how long would we need to cook them? How should we slice the potatoes? How much cayenne pepper should we add? If we refrigerate the blueberries, can we whip the cream just before serving? Would you like another cheese straw?

Implicit in these questions was that she was interested in my answer. She didn’t ask simply to include me in the process so that I could feel as though I contributed. She asked only when she needed to know the answer to a question that she didn’t actually understand. It occurred to me only late in our relationship that these questions were truly her way of offering respect. After all, when I boldly opened, in the few times she accepted me as her Bridge partner, that we would make 1 club, she always knew when to bid game, and when to pass. When Sue was my Bridge partner we NEVER lost a bid (unless I was playing the hand…).

She also loved to buy lunch for me and her daughter, especially when it was Japanese. Her favorite item, when she could find it on the menu, was grilled yellowtail collar, a thrifty roasted celebration of the succulent meat found around the base of a yellowtail tuna’s head and gills. She must have acquired a taste for this when she and her family lived in Hiroshima in the 1970s. Still she always encouraged me to order from the sushi menu as long as I would order her some yellowtail and some tuna to share. Because she most often was buying, I never minded allowing for extra chop sticks on my plate.

Late in Sue’s life she acquired a taste for a fresh cappucino, and I was always ready to satisfy her need for a bit of dark stuff and fluff. It was always after a dinner Alison and I had cooked for her and Cos: roasted chicken and new potatoes; grilled steaks and sliced tomatoes; lobster and potato chips; or Coquille St. Jacques and fresh peas. Her request for a cappucino really meant “Nice dinner” and I took it as such. It made me feel like a member of her family. It made me feel loved by Sue.

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14 thoughts on “Sue Berard

  1. Early on this foggy morning, what seems like only a few hours after Mom’s passing, Alison & I both laughed and cried reading what you wrote. We want more, including more photos. It’s sad thinking that we may forget some of the charming nuances of Mom’s quirky, loving character that we all recognized as classic Sue or special moments that we shared. Thank you SO much. love, Leslie & Alison.
    P.S. How does 21 years as a son-in-law qualify as only a recent association? [Leslie asking?!?!]

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  2. We loved this essay. Thanks for remembering Sue so beautifully. We will read this to her friends at her memorial luncheon at the Ocean Point golf club tomorrow. love Alison

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  3. Amy Elsbree remembers:
    When Sue packed a lunch for us to take to school she always put the lettuce in a separate baggie so it didn’t get soggy in the sandwich. And, I remember what a lovely and disciplined cook she was. For some reason I have a vivid memory of her making mayonnaise from scratch. She’s the only person I’ve ever known to do that! I also remember that she used to make a delicious butter cream icing. And she’d let you lick the beaters, but only after she’d wiped off virtually every speck with her spatula!

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  4. From Alice Elsbree Eckerson:
    Yes, I definitely remember Sue as a wonderful cook. Food was always such a pleasure at your house. I don’t remember the mayonnaise, but I remember homemade pasta (noodles we called them then) draped over chairs or special racks in the kitchen? Could that be?
    Alison replies: Yes, we did drape noodle dough over chair backs. Good memory, Alice!

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  5. Lisa Gibbons writes:
    Probably the memory I go back to most is the dinner you hosted at your house back in high school. Was it the Turnabout Dance? I see your family’s kitchen and remember planning and preparations and then a lovely evening. She helped us create such a grown up event and guided us with a light touch. I think we were blessed to have a group of parents who expected a lot of us in some ways, but also treated us with a level of respect and confidence in our abilities that meant we were able to do so much. Love to your family, Lisa

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  6. Eva MacLowery writes:

    We had so many memories- you girls are in so many of our photos of birthday parties-we were neighbors- and friends–
    I remember we dog sat the cocker spaniel and had to feed her an egg–
    we cooked together- even thought about opening a catering business together-
    dinner parties- helped each other with our knitting projects–
    it goes on forever-and although we had the last few years in different places the history remains.

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  7. More from Eva MacLowery:
    I did read the webpage
    yes of course I remember her making mayonnaise
    we also made canolies from scratch-got the recipe from one if Jim’s techs ,Alba. whose father was a baker
    we made canelloni-ONCE-took all day and my gang ate them in 5 minutes!
    and of course the picture on our kitchen wall of the 4 of us with our 4H animal at the fair—and picking berries at Butlers
    to mention only a few!

    not to ignore your dad- he has to remember when he left me a head of iceberg lettuce on my doorstep, as I was bitterly complaining about the price of a head of lettuce–
    you were still on Johnson Ave and we on the corner of Burley and Conway
    forever ago

    love Eva

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  8. Sue had been my friend for 11 loving years. I valued our friendship and looked forward to our twice a month visits. We always greeted with a hug, we always talked about the events of the times we were apart and them we updated each other on our families. Many of Sue’s family members I have never met but I feel as though I know all of them. Sue and I are both the middle sister of 3. We both shared the mothering older sister (Phebe & Shirley) and our a adorable baby sister (Paula & Ella). On those Saturday mornings, she always had a good smelling kitchen going on. Drove me crazy, then she’d stop to comment, ‘Beverly I found “RUBAR” today, didn’t think I would find it here but I did.’ Then the phone would ring, it’s either Alison or Lesile. Those calls always made her moment. I loved her too.

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  9. Marc Rector remembers:

    Our very first memory of Sue was when we were trudging across a big field to join Paula and John’s wedding celebration. As we approached, a woman came toward us. Simultaneously, we all said, “You must be…” Neither Eric nor Alison were there and we knew nobody, but immediately found ourselves in good hands.

    And very often, we think of her when we cook “Flank Steak a la Sue.”

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  10. Sarah Leighton Stellwagen wrote:

    I loved Sue. Sue and Cos opened up different parts of the world to me on our 7th grade summer trip out west (you guys took me in for 3 weeks, you know). We had many fun times growing up. Since Mom died, Sue has really been wonderful about checking in and including my family (Christina in particular) and has really filled in as a 2nd grandmother.

    So, know that I loved her and will miss her.

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  11. From The Society of Hematopathology:

    We were saddened and want to acknowledge, on behalf of the Society, the passing
    of Susan Berard, former Executive Assistant for the Society for
    Hematopathology, and wife of Costan W. Berard, one of the co-founders and SH’s
    first President. Sue was present at the launch of the Society in 1981, and in
    the early years managed all aspects of Society business from sending out the
    annual dues notices to planning programs and receptions. A constant figure in
    the life of the Society in its early years, she guided incoming officers and
    provided key institutional memory. Sue was a familiar face at the annual
    meetings,and personally greeted old and new members upon their arrival. She
    served for nearly 20 years, retiring in 2000.

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  12. Cos

    Sue meant a great deal to so many in the Society for Heme. I can still see her at the door of the annual meeting each year, signing in the members and handing out the programs. She was the public face of SH.

    I have heard many SH members, who all share your loss.

    Elaine

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  13. from Chet Safian, Princeton classmate of Cos, best man at their wedding:

    Thanksgiving Day 2009
    Dear Alison
    Thanks so much for your telephone call and for the wonderful photo album and comments from your husband, Eric. I will be sending a long email to your dad later today and feel badly that he and your mom and I lost touch with each other over the past years. We all shared many special times back in the 1950s, which I remember with great fondness. Sue was a special person and it is nice to know that she and your dad spent over 50 years together in happiness.
    I remember 52 years ago today, when I spent Thanksgiving Day 1957 in Cohasset with Cos and Sue just after they were engaged to be married. (Cos proposed late October 1957).

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