Douglas Valentine

Profile Updated: November 16, 2018
Residing In Longmeadow, MA USA
Spouse/Partner Alice
Homepage douglasvalentine.com
Occupation writer

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Douglas Valentine has left an In Memory comment for Susan Reed Mackay.
Dec
07
Dec 07, 2018 at 4:33 PM

 

Sue and I reconnected in the late fall of 1971. She had recently completed four years of college in Kansas and was back in Armonk wondering, like many of us at that time, what to do next. I remember we had a good time celebrating New Year’s Eve together with some of my friends in Briarcliff. Sue was always tons of fun to be with – as well as heartfelt, sincere, and in love with language. I was a budding writer and she was one of the first of my contemporaries to encourage me. She bought me a book of poems by Robert Graves. Such a wonderful gesture.

Sue and I reconnected again in December 2017. She was living in St. Petersburg with her companion Robbie. She hadn’t been in contact with anyone from PHS for a very long time and was eager to chat about everything.

“I was in a clique,” she said in an early text. “It was the Armonk girls versus the P’ville girls when we started our sophomore year. Armonk didn't have a high school then, so we were bused to PHS. Eventually we called a truce and had a really great slumber party at Gail Bell's house in her dad's house down the road from mine. We were also caught up in the British Invasion and frequently went to New York City concerts. I managed to get autographs from all of the Rolling Stones!”

Over the course of the last year, Sue told me a bit about her life. In the early 1970's she got a job as an executive secretary with ASEA Inc., in White Plains. She soon met her first husband Patrick and moved into his Beekman Place apartment in mid-town, Manhattan. They married in Copenhagen, Denmark, and honeymooned all over Europe. Eventually they moved to the Upper East Side. She and Patrick went to Broadway shows, movies, ballets and operas, and traveled extensively in the US.

Sue and Patrick split in 1980, the same year she met her second husband Craig MacKay, a Scotsman. Sue and Craig lived in New York City. Sue became a homemaker. Her sons were born in 1984 and 1986. “Will and Rick Mackay are my greatest accomplishments in life,” she said with pride. She often spoke about them in our correspondence.

In 1991, Craig and Sue moved to Falls Church, VA. They separated in 2000 and divorced in 2007.

Sue met her devoted companion Robbie in 2002. “I lived in various places in Virginia from 1991 until 2008 at which time Robbie and I packed up and drove to St. Pete in a U-Haul with my Dodge Neon Sport in tow to the house I bought here. I came here basically to be closer to my mother (two houses away) and to be her caregiver.  Plus I hated the cold and got myself a little piece of paradise - palm trees and warm weather - gorgeous! I helped take care of her from 2008 until her passing in late July 2013. I miss her.”

As ever, Sue was very upbeat. “I have a lot to be thankful for,” she said, “and mostly consider myself to be merely a Senior Citizen, which comes with great shopping discounts at my nearby department stores. I'm a very good bargain hunter and even clip coupons!”

Sue, however, was not in good health. She had had cataracts removed from both eyes, surgery for a detached retina, and suffered from early macular degeneration.  She survived breast cancer in 2000 and congestive heart failure in 2013. She had had open-heart surgery, at which time a pacemaker/defibrillator was implanted in her chest. “I can be active for only short periods of time,” she said, “and must avoid high heat and humidity or suffer shortness of breath and weakness. It's scary but I'm grateful to be alive! I fill my days with catalogs (mostly browsing, sometimes buying), household projects, and TV sports. I enjoy eating out albeit rarely. And of course I'm spending lots of time texting and emailing.”

A few weeks before she passed away, the pacemaker battery was replaced. The operation drained her and frightened her. I don’t think she fully recovered. But as ever, she kept her spirits up. She was an avid Tampa Bay Rays fan and watched every game on her prized flat screen TV. I’m a Boston Red Sox fan –the “Stinky Socks” according to Sue – but she rooted along with me during the World Series. Red Sox pitcher David Price had, after all, been with the Rays. She was such a good sport.

Sue was very proud of her brother Preston, a musician living in Scotland. “See prestonreed.com to view my brother's unique and incredible style of acoustic guitar,” she wrote. “You can even hear his music and view his videos.”

She was especially close with her older sister Francie (PHS Class of 1962). It was Francie who let me know that Sue had passed away on 18 November. “I wanted to tell you because I know her communications back-and-forth with you over the past period of time were important, meaningful, and fun for her,” Francie said.  “She liked to talk about you and how great it was that the two of you were back in touch after all those years.”

I admired Sue and enjoyed our friendship. Despite her problems, she always kept a brave face.

Francie described her best. “Susie of the big blue eyes and lovely smile, gentle and loving, innocence personified, so funny and beautiful, always ready to laugh, lover of puns and terrible jokes, sender of sentimental cards and cups and statuettes and tchotchkes emblazoned with kitschy quotes about the power of Sisterhood, lover of stationery and hats and rings and necklaces and thrift shops and her family and her longtime companion, Robbie. She saved my life a million times with love. May you rest in peace and not be afraid.”

Doug Valentine

Douglas Valentine changed "Now" picture.
Nov
16
Nov 16, 2018 at 4:46 PM
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Apr 27, 2017 at 12:36 PM
Posted: Apr 27, 2017 at 12:36 PM