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Susan Ellis Waskow, 59

(November 17, 1961—May 17, 2021)

Leader at Congregation Kehilat Shalom

Susan Ellis Waskow

Susan Ellis Waskow was a woman of action whose adventures ended at age 59 on May 17.

She was born in Syracuse, New York on November 17, 1961 to Eric Ellis, PhD, and Barbara Ellis, MA, both of blessed memory.

From 1964 on, she spent her formative years in idyllic Sewanee, Tennessee. She graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1983. Always independent, she lived in diverse locales such as Anchorage, Alaska; Buffalo, New York; Coconut Grove, Florida; Princeton, and Hopewell.

She was a creator. She had a fulfilling first career as a costume designer and seamstress. It was while working at the Alaska Repertory Theatre that she met the love of her life, Darryl Waskow. Darryl and Susan were married for more than 30 years.

Nothing surpassed Susan’s love of her husband and her two wonderful children, Harry and Dorothy.

She worked for numerous Princeton University organizations, including the Office of Religious Life, Engineering, the Art Museum, and Outdoor Action.

Susan’s life-long love of Judaism led her to be an active leader at Congregation Kehilat Shalom in Belle Mead, where she chanted Torah, served as adult education chair, ritual committee chair, and ultimately as synagogue president.

Fueled by a deep sense of justice, Susan dove into projects with passion and gusto. She took part in numerous political campaigns and activism including the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, DC where she took pride in engineering the tallest possible signs for herself and fellow marchers.

Her husband Darryl introduced her to sailing, and they enjoyed racing Snipes and Lightnings in regattas at the Jersey Shore and Caribbean. She enjoyed the sailing community as much as the competition. With her passion for the outdoors, she also delighted in camping, hiking, and kayaking.

Susan lived with great enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. She learned how to play flute in her 40s. She knitted numerous blankets for Project Linus, loved learning new dance steps, and cooked Iron Chef style concoctions.

Like her father, she was the family storyteller. Once prompted, she could animatedly retell a story ripe with nuances and long forgotten details.

Susan was a protector. As the sibling closest in age to her special needs brother, Richard, she once confronted a bully, armed with only her trusty metal lunch box. As an adult she continued to take care of him through the remainder of his life, including through her service on the board of directors of Franklin County Adult Activity Center in Winchester, TN.

She had close relationships with her siblings, both biological and through marriage. She maintained lifelong friendships and made new friends wherever she was.

Susan was always giving to others. In tribute to her father, a heart transplant recipient, Susan made her intent to become an organ donor clear.

She lived life to its fullest. She was predeceased by her parents Barbara and Eric Ellis and her brother Richard.

The memory of her inimitable personality will be a comfort to her survivors. They include: her husband Darryl Waskow, her son Harry and his fiancé Samantha Davidson, and daughter Dorothy all of Hopewell; her brother Ralph Ellis and his wife Angie of Peachtree City, GA and their children Abigail and Samuel; her sister, Beatrice Ellis Fine and her husband Steve of Leawood, KS and their children Benjamin and Eric; brother-in-law Steven Waskow and his wife Valerie of Princeton; and sister-in-law Rosalind Hansen and her husband Michael also of Princeton.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Congregation Kehilat Shalom, 253 Belle Mead-Griggstown Road, Belle Mead, NJ 08502; or the Sourland Conservancy, 83 Princeton Ave, Suite 1A, Hopewell, NJ 08525; or the charity of one’s choice.

Donations may also be made to help train individuals preparing for careers working with special needs clients through The Richard Ellis Memorial Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, 5801 West 115th Street, Overland Park, Kansas 66211.


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