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In Memoriam: Suzanne Wetzel Seemann

Suzanne Wetzel Seemann

Media Relations Office

media@whoi.edu

October 4, 2012

(508) 289-3340

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of former joint program student Suzanne Wetzel Seemann on September 27, in California. She was 40.

Suzanne (Suzie) died in a motor vehicle collision in Freshwater, CA, during a morning run with friends. Suzie lived a beautiful life, and her death is a tremendous loss for many.

Suzie was beloved soul-mate to her husband, Hank Seemann, and devoted mother to their son, Malcolm, and daughter, Evelyn. Her local family included her mother-in-law, Ann Seemann, whom she adored and who was part of their daily lives. Suzie cherished the love and support of her parents, Bill and Wendy Wetzel; her grandmother, Marie Wetzel (Nana); her sister and brothers, Becky Sodon, Scott Wetzel, and Bill Wetzel; her sister-in-law Caroline Wetzel and brother-in-law Bob Sodon; her brother-in-law, Luke Seemann; and many friends and extended family.

The great love of Suzie’s life was raising her amazing and beautiful children in partnership with Hank. Suzie set the gold standard for her approach to parenting and was widely admired and loved for her gentle nature, capacity to give, and dedication to being a mom. Suzie deeply valued the local community of parents and teachers at Garfield School, Wind in the Willows, and HSU Child Development Laboratory, and the nurturing environments they create for children.

Suzie loved outdoor adventures and time in nature with family and friends. She had a passion for bike riding, swimming, hiking, camping, backpacking, and observing the natural world. Hank proposed marriage on a Yosemite mountain peak, and Malcolm was raised in a Yosemite tent-cabin his first two summers. Many friendships were built and nurtured on a trail. Recent summers included joyful family camping with Wendy, Russ, Keenan, and Kai and Seth, Jen, and Nick. Suzie’s best birthdays involved waking up in a tent with her family. Days without a run, bike ride, swim, or walk were few.

For the last six years, Suzie’s weekly routine included early morning runs for fitness and fellowship. She cherished the bond with her friends and fellow runners Terri Vroman-Little, Jessie Hunt, Tasha Souza, Margaret Morris, Marlene Allen, Harry Kavich, and the rest of the local running community through the Six Rivers Running Club.

Growing up, Suzie was blessed with a loving family and the close presence of her Nana, Grams, Gramps, friend Steph Jeffries, and many other friends. After leaving home for college and adulthood, hardly a week went by without a phone call with her Nana to share their joys and challenges. Her parents loved her deeply and were a continuous source of care and support.

Suzie was a skilled woodworker, seamstress, and craftsperson with inspired project ideas and an eye for precision. She was a gardener who loved fruits and vegetables, peaceful time in the yard and garden, and sharing good food. She doted on the family chickens, hens Quaker and Kack (and until his re-location, the rooster Dotty).

Suzie was a talented teacher who created a rich learning environment for her students at College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University. Midnight oil was burned many evenings to prepare the next day’s lecture slides and incorporate the latest weather events. She inspired an appreciation for atmospheric and ocean sciences and earned respect for maintaining high standards.

Suzie was born in Neptune, New Jersey, on August 9, 1972, and moved with her family to Little Silver, New Jersey, in 1983. After graduating from Red Bank Regional High School in 1990, she earned an undergraduate degree at Princeton University and a master of science degree in 1996 in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program working with Jim Edson in the AOP&E Department. She earned another graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. She met her husband, Hank, at MIT. They married on September 30, 2000, in Green Lake, Wisconsin, and lived in Madison, Wisconsin, until 2006, when they moved to Eureka. Son Malcolm was born in Madison in 2004, and daughter Evelyn was born in Eureka in 2008.  Since December 2011, they lived in Bayside.

Suzie was a respected research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at University of Wisconsin from 2000 to 2006, co-authoring several papers for peer-reviewed journals and setting an example as a successful female scientist. From 1999 through 2005, Suzie worked summers in Tuolumne Meadows of Yosemite National Park as visitor center staff and park ranger. Suzie was instructor of meteorology for the College of the Redwoods Earth Sciences Department from 2009 through 2011, and for the Humboldt State University Geography Department from 2011 through 2012.

Survivors include husband Hank, son Malcolm, and daughter Evelyn, all of Bayside; parents Bill and Wendy Wetzel, and grandmother Marie Wetzel, of Little Silver, New Jersey; sister Becky Sodon (brother-in-law Bob, niece Belle) of Navesink, New Jersey; brother Scott Wetzel (sister-in-law Caroline) of Milford, Connecticut; brother Bill Wetzel of New York City; mother-in-law Ann Seemann of Eureka; brother-in-law Luke Seemann; sisters-in-law Danae Seemann-Peppas and Aliki Seemann-Daglas; uncles Andy Hocker and David Docker; and cousins Elizabeth George, Emily Hocker, and Diana Harper. Suzie was preceded in death by grandparents Richard and Martha Hocker; grandmother-in-law Marie Rohde; father-in-law Howard Seemann; and “baby girl Seemann” in 2006. Suzie leaves many grieving friends in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Yosemite, Wisconsin, Humboldt County, and elsewhere.

A memorial service to celebrate and remember the gift of Suzie’s life will be held at Freshwater School in Eureka, California, on Saturday, October 6, at 10:30 a.m. Contributions may be sent to a memorial fund established at Umpqua Bank (992682542).

Information for this obituary was taken from The Journal website.

Originally published: October 4, 2012