Recently, on the Facebook page “A Mighty Girl,” I read about several strong, self-sufficient women who took on the world in different ways. At the age of 67, Emma Gatewood became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Drew Gilpin Faust is the 28th president of Harvard University. Maggie Doyne opened an orphanage in Nepal at the age of 19.
“A Mighty Girl” highlights inspirational female role models of the past and present, from Marie Curie to Malala Yousafzai, and encourages girls to “be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure.”
On Friday afternoon, in a tragic automobile accident, our community lost a mighty girl.
With her wide smile, indomitable spirit, and huge heart, Susan Isham was a friend to everyone she knew…and she knew everyone.
Easygoing, professional, and dedicated, she was a sought-after food service employee who made hospitality an art form.
She worked at the Sunday River Inn for more years than I can count, starting when she was a teenager and eventually becoming its ultra-capable manager. She could take reservations, rent skis, fold towels, and make dinner for 60—all at the same time, if needed.
As a single mother, she taught her daughter the value of self-reliance, as she taught it by example to everyone she knew. I doubt she ever realized just how many people she inspired with her capability, strength, and positive attitude.
As strong and self-sufficient as she was, Susan was also incredibly generous with her time and resources. She was a tireless community volunteer, and she never turned away anyone in need. She fed them, counseled them, and restored their spirits, and when she sent them back out into the world, they knew that someone had their back.
She stayed in her hometown for nearly all of her life and made treasured and lasting connections with her community. She was a loving mother, grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter.
My niece Sara, who grew up with Susan at the Sunday River Inn, wrote, “You have been so much a part of our family over the years and we are all the better for having felt your love, grace, and optimism. May your family find peace in the prayers of all the hearts you have filled in your too-short lifetime. Godspeed to your spirit!”
No one whose life was touched by the spirit of this mighty girl will ever forget her.