Suzanne Graham (Sue) was a mother, grandmother, and part of a caring community of friends-that-are-family. She passed away in her sleep at her Portland, Oregon home on March 5, 2022 after a brave battle with breast cancer which originally began back in 2000. She is survived by her children, Caitlin and Gavin Bristol, and her two grandchildren, Isla and Owen Naar.
Sue was born and raised in Queensland Australia, daughter of Muriel and Cecil Graham. She exceled at school at St. Rita’s where she met lifelong friends and her love of literature was ignited. A plaque on the Board of Honor is still erected at the school with Sue’s name, where in 1968 she was awarded all three school honors (Prix D’Honneur, College Captain, College Dux). She remains one of only two students to have received all three honors in the same year. After St. Rita’s she continued her studies at University of Queensland for her Bachelors and Masters. Upon graduation from the University of Queensland she was awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship, providing complete funds to study for four years in the UK. She studied for her PhD in English Literature, specializing on James Joyce, at Queen Mary’s College, University of London. Following her time in London she moved to Portland, Oregon where she had her two children and a successful career in PR and Communications.
While she loved the beauty of Oregon, it was only a jumping off base for her world travels. Those who knew Sue well knew she was always wrapped up in planning and plotting the next trip – from an Amazon river cruise to an African safari to visiting old ruins across Europe (the older the better!). In her later years she took up photography as a hobby, documenting her trips, and even winning an award in a travel magazine. In addition to photographer she was also an incredibly talented poet, with volumes of wonderful poems that her children and friends will continue to enjoy for years to come.
Sue chose to be cremated so that her ashes could go back to the natural world she so loved to photograph and write about. A small celebration of life service will be arranged in the summer. Should friends and family want to honor and remember Sue where they are, she offered the following songs as ones she’d like played as part of a “positive remembrance.”
‘The Circle of Life’ from the Lion King, version by Elton John
‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen
‘Moon River,’ the Audrey Hepburn version
‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the Rod Stewart version
For those wanting to offer something in Sue’s memory, please consider donating to one of her favorite charities:
Panthera – to support the big cats she so loved seeing on her travels
The Nature Conservancy – to support the lands and waters on which all life depends
Though she is missed, her memories, photographs, and poetry lives on. Please use the tribute wall on this page if you’d like to share a memory or photo. Sue’s network of friends and family is truly global and this will be a way for everyone to share in celebrating her life.
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