Obituaries

Susan MacFeiggan Dean

Mrs. Edwin P. Dean (Susan B. MacFeiggan) of Concord, MA, died October 8, 2015, following a long illness.

 

Susan was born on June 16, 1938, to Mr. and Mrs. David Lee MacFeiggan (Dorothy Fassett Borst), and grew up in West Hartford, CT. She was a direct descendant of Governor Thomas Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as well as several early settlers of New Amsterdam. An enthusiastic Anglophile, she also enjoyed her Lowland Scots heritage, and once visited her family’s ancestral village of Kirkcudbright on a memorable trip with her father.

 

Susan studied at Connecticut College before moving to New York, where she worked in magazine publishing at Glamour and Vogue. She relished the excitement of the city in the early 60s, and it was there that she met her husband, Edwin. In 1964, the couple moved to Farmington, CT. During this time, Susan worked at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford as assistant to the Curator of Paintings. Relocating to Concord in 1976, Susan, ever the gardening enthusiast, earned a graduate certificate in landscape design from Radcliffe College in 1983. She opened a landscape design practice in Concord, where she specialized in creating beautiful English country gardens out of the rocky New England soil. Not content to just select plants and direct their installation, she could be seen working alongside the crews at her job sites, expertly and energetically wielding a pitchfork or shovel. In addition to owning her own business, Susan worked during winters in the Harvard graduate admissions office as an assistant, providing a patient, sympathetic ear to anxious applicants.

 

Susan was an intellectually curious person and a determined progressive. She was a voracious reader as well as a collector of illustrated children’s books. She loved the music of Diana Krall, whom she saw perform on two continents. In more recent years, her interests turned to the pursuit of crafts; not only did she enjoy the company of her fellow enthusiasts while knitting beautiful patterns and numerous stuffed animals for her granddaughters, but she also became interested in the spinning and dying of wool, along with the sheep that produced it. Susan was a lifelong animal lover, and had a number of pets over the years, including a Peekapoo dog and many cats. Her most recent enthusiasm was for Maine Coon cats, upon whom she doted. Her latest cats, Bailey and Jenny, as well as the squirrels whom she fed outside her home, feel her loss.

 

For all who knew Susan, one of her most defining characteristics was that of an extrovert. She loved meeting new people of all ages and backgrounds, and took great satisfaction in connecting others with shared interests. Always young at heart and in spirit, Susan took special pleasure in making friends with young people, including the children of her closest friends, and the friends of her children and grandchildren. She established friendships everywhere she went, especially through her hobbies, her business, at Rockywold-Deephaven family camps on Squam Lake, NH, and in her neighborhood of Concord Greene, where she was co-head of the garden committee. She delighted in regular adventures and daily phone calls with her dear friends Ellen Matheson of Concord, and Maud Walker of St. David’s, PA. Most important to Susan were her friends and family; she was a devoted daughter to her parents, who predeceased her. Those who were fortunate to call her wife, mother, grandmother, sister, or friend were warmed by her fierce loyalty, her tremendous love, her encouragement, and her irreverent sense of humor.

 

Susan was married to Edwin, who survives her, for over five decades. Their 53 years together were characterized by a shared love of family, pets, museums, books, and travel, which included driving the country roads of New England and family vacations at Squam Lake. In addition to her husband, her rock and oft-bemused participant in her enthusiasms (such as attending sheep festivals), she is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel P. Dean (Anna E. Sweeney) of Washington; her daughter, Ms. Stephany B. Dean and her partner Douglas Sommers of Grafton, MA; her sisters, Mrs. David Ertman (Jane MacFeiggan) of Hyde Park, NY, and Mrs. David Dillon (Nancy MacFeiggan) of Westford, MA. Susan’s greatest joy in life was being “GaGa” to her granddaughters, Abigail B. White of Concord, and Elizabeth P. Dean of Washington, who shared her love of animals and crafts, especially beading and making “fairy houses” with her out of items found in the woods. A memorial service was held on October 27, 2015, at the First Parish Church in Concord.