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

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

Nikki Turgeon-Williams

Sue was certainly taken much too soon from this world; she had a young soul and an avid zest for life. I was fortunate to meet Sue and then Rob through my wife Lisa, when they were coworkers at National Trust. Sue was a fierce supporter for Lisa and me at a time when many blood-family members rejected our love and commitment to one another; I will always consider both she and Rob as part of our early chosen family in DC. We laughed together a lot, enjoyed fantastic food, wine, and music in various venues around the city. Most memorable were the nights that ended with Sue cuddling our little dog in her arms; she was an animal lover extraordinaire. I will never forget that she hosted a surprise shower for me in advance of our commitment ceremony and also a fantastic graduation party after I received my graduate degree. She and Rob were always generous with both their home and their hospitality.
We had a shared passion for human rights, representation in places of power, and a general disdain for hypocrisy. I am sure if Sue had one regret other than leaving too soon, it was not being able to cast her vote toward her strong moral compass, in this election. She made me more passionate, more vocal, and more aware. I will be forever thankful for Sue's presence in my life--she was a force for love and fairness.
My heart hurts for you, Rob--the two of you were such a fantastic, dynamic couple together. The world has a little less light with losing Sue. With grief, Nikki Turgeon-Williams
Comment | Posted at 11:23am via Condolence

Lisa TurgeonWilliams

Sue and I met in the travel business and worked side by side for many years. With her wonderful accent, and talent for dealing with the public, she was often able to handle the trickier calls with upset travelers. We took a liking to each other almost immediately and the work relationship also turned into a friendship. We introduced each other to our partners Rob and Nikki. Sue even helped my wife to be pick out an engagement ring for me! Sue and Rob were beyond generous with their time and their home. Not only were we often included in parties at their home, but they offered to host a graduation party and a wedding shower because our little condo would not hold the number of invited people. Sue and Rob invited our family on two separate occasions for a fantastic Thanksgiving meal that they prepared themselves. Sue always had a special place in her heart for our little dachshund and would insist on cuddling him whenever near him. Even though we didn’t see the two of them much these past few years, I never will forget the generosity of friendship that the two of them extended to us over the years. I will miss her laughter and her fierceness. Our lives are truly better having shared time with Sue and Rob. Sending you our love, Rob.
Comment | Posted at 11:03am via Condolence

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