Susan Bourdaud'hui

Susan Bourdaud'hui

Saturday, January 31st, 1948 Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

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Obituary for Susan Patricia Bourdaud'hui (Whitmore)

Sue Bourdaud’hui aged 72 of Washington DC, died on Wednesday October 14th 2020, 13 weeks after being diagnosed with brain cancer. She passed peacefully at Sycamore Acres assisted living facility in Derwood Maryland. She was the loving wife of Robert Bourdaud’hui with whom she shared more than 38 years of marriage and 44 years of companionship. Born in 1948 in Bristol England, she was the daughter of the late Ken Whitmore and Marian Whitmore. Her younger brother Bob remembers her from his childhood as being remarkable for how kind Sue was to him, unlike some other older siblings.

Sue graduated as a Bachelor Of Arts in Social Science through the Open University in 1978 then later with an MA from Georgetown University in Georgetown in 1989.

When Rob accepted a job with Airbus Industrie in Toulouse, France Sue embraced the opportunity and left behind her close friends in Bristol for a new adventure - she had always loved to travel since accompanying her parents on trips across Europe. Not that common a vacation destination for most people in the 1960s

She married Robert Bourdaud’hui, also from Bristol, in Toulouse France in 1982. Sue was founding partner of Langue Promotion (a language school in Toulouse) she taught english principally to french engineers from the region’s aerospace companies. She traveled extensively throughout the country during 7.5 years of residence. She loved the people, the countryside, the Pyrenees and the food culture.

Sue accompanied Rob to Washington DC in 1988 as he started a new phase in his Airbus career. Sue became a valued tour guide and coordinator with Smithsonian Travel Tours then for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Many lucky tour participants had Sue’s calm hand guiding the way across cities and towns around the world.

Sue was an enthusiastic supporter of various worthy causes from her strong support of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) in the 1970s to her years as a quiet but keen volunteer at Palisades Village and Miriam’s Kitchen.

Sue was never much interested in shopping or material goods but she appreciated a good appearance and had a definite sense of style. Luckily for all the cats and dogs that adored her that style did not worry for claws and shedding. She was a voracious reader of the New Yorker and mystery novels. A love of music particularly, American roots music, was a strong connection in the marriage. The annual Jazz Fest in New Orleans was a regular destination for many years. She had a really strong affection for the city.

Sue was taken from us too soon and will be sorely missed by her many, many friends in the US, UK and France.

A celebration of Sue’s life will be planned at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made - in lieu of flowers - to Palisades Village and Miriam’s Kitchen.

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Sarah Pegg, Scott Gerloff, and other have planted trees to honor the life of Susan Patricia Bourdaud'hui (Whitmore).
Planted in the area of greatest need

Nigel Clark

I met Bob and Sue for the first time in Bristol in the late '70's through CAMRA. They were already a couple and I always though of them as a perfect foil for each other. Their mild disagreements were more like comic banter and they always seemed to be having fun. In every photo I have of them they are laughing and usually raising a glass to the camera. Their enjoyment of life was infectious and I never heard either say a negative word about anyone - unless they were a politician.

I visited them in Toulouse and later at their house in Georgetown where their parties were legendary. They made friends easily it seemed and always made time for people. But parties and socialising were not the whole story. Both were clever and dedicated; Bob to his work at Airbus and his amazing music collection and Sue, through her MA at Georgetown University, as a tour guide for the prestigious Smithsonian Travel Tours which took her, and those lucky enough to be in her group, to the far countries of the world. I was once given a tour of the Smithsonian by Sue (one of her favourite places in Washington) and was deeply impressed by her intellect and knowledge - an aspect of her personality which her light hearted jollity sometimes masked.

When I married and came to live in Australia I lost touch with Bob and Sue but reading through the tributes here I understand how they went on touching people's live in the best and most positive ways.

Sue's sudden death has shaken us all. We who were privileged to have know her will never forget her and our hearts go out to Bob, her life's partner.
Comment | Posted at 08:36pm via Condolence

Elizabeth Lasko

Thank you for this beautiful remembrance.
Posted at 11:31am

Sarah Pegg

Although we lost touch, I never forgot our wonderful friendship in Bristol. The memories will always remain. RIP Sue. xx
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Memorial Tree Planted

Sarah Pegg planted a memorial tree for Susan Bourdaud'hui
Comment | Posted at 07:51am via Memorial Tree

Carol Welsh

I just posted a picture from 2011 of Sue and Rob in our team picture at the Race for Hope-DC. Sue's smile says it all - what a super person. There just are no words, no words.
Comment | Posted at 05:15pm via Condolence

Suzee Wesemann

Sue’s death came so fast and unexpectedly. I am profoundly sad that I will never see her again. Genuine kindness is rare and Sue was truly kind. I met Sue and Rob the Friday after 911. Steve’s mother had just passed away. I was 6 months pregnant. It was a terrible time, but Rob and Sue hosted a beautiful dinner in their back courtyard, a special evening with friends that fortified us with laughter, hope and joy. These are troubled times again, but I think back on that candlelit evening and remember that we survived and even thrived since then. We have lost friends along the way, sorely miss them, but they still light us up when we crave those cherished times together. Sue, I will miss your radiant smile and selfishly wish that we had more time to spend with you. Rob, you are not alone in your grieving. We can’t make your pain go away, all we can do is share the sorrow.
Comment | Posted at 10:40pm via Condolence

The Rees Lewis's

We, Bill and Liz, first met Sue in 1974 in Bristol. We are so lucky to have had an incredibly close friendship with Sue for over 40 years. Eleanore and Dan have known Sue their whole lives. As a family we are devastated at Sue’s sudden passing. She leaves us all better people for having known her and spent time with her. Sue—we miss you terribly. We sit here, as a family, swapping stories about our times together, there are so many beautiful memories to treasure.

We are so lucky to have experienced so much of the world with Sue; to have shared so many experiences. Great food, music, culture, and laughter. We had great times together, starting with Bristol parties, and on to France, Italy, the US, and Turkey. Sue lit up our Christmas holidays each year, as she did for so many other people on her annual Christmas trip with Rob back to the UK; sprinkling wonder and fun across the country every year. There are just so many memories, one of our favourites is from a visit to Rob and Sue’s house in Toulouse in the 80s. A 5-year-old Dan dropped his special comforter towel down the central well of a Toulouse art museum so it was visible but irretrievable. For many years, Sue would report back to us that the bright pink towel was still there for all to see—a brilliant, funny, and caring anecdote that never failed to make us all laugh.

We carry an abiding memory of Sue as being a kind, friendly, funny, subtle, caring person, with a great sense of humour and a strong sense of justice. She was so emotionally intelligent. As a friend she could be, and so often was, relied upon to give sound advice. All of this made her such a joy to be around. She was always asking about, and doting on, Eleanore and Dan, especially when they were growing up. She bought Dan his first remote controlled car—exactly the gift he wanted as seven years old. She had an incredible love of animals, and when she stayed at our house in the Christmas holidays, our three cats would all be drawn to her; she could often be found reading a book in our sitting room, with all three cats curled around her.

Brilliant and moral people such as Sue always leave an enduring impression. Sue played a very big part in our (Eleanore and Dan’s) ethical development growing up. She was so engaging, sensitive and patient, taking the time to listen and consider our perspectives even when we were children. Discussing things like politics and feminism with Sue helped us to understand the world, and how it could be improved. Put simply, knowing Sue set us up to be better adults. We feel and hope that Sue’s values endure with us.

As beautiful as she was on the inside she was also beautiful on the outside, with the sweetest dimples and a great dress sense. However Sue was not totally comfortable with the camera, we have so many funny snaps of her ducking away or with hand up trying to escape being the center of attention. One of Sue’s deepest grace was making others feel special.

We as a family miss Sue so much. Rob—our heart and love goes out to you. It is so hard for us to imagine a world without Sue‘s sparkle. Sue, we can’t do you justice here, but we do want to say that you left us, and the world, better for your presence.
Comment | Posted at 05:39pm via Condolence

Elizabeth Lasko

thank you for posting the wonderful photos. xo
Posted at 01:54pm

Why light a candle?

This is why you should light a candle..

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