Susan Schiffer passed away peacefully on October 24, surrounded by loved ones. She waited until the sun set, following a day as beautiful as the life she lived. Just three days after the 45th anniversary of her son Tim’s death, she headed off for a long-awaited reunion.
Born April 24, 1935 in Portland to Irving and Dorothy Erickson, Susan joined her sister and best friend Sally, and later was blessed with her brother Ron. The Erickson’s moved from Alameda to “Oswego” when Susan was in 4th grade. Some of her favorite memories of youth were riding horses with Sally on the Dunthorpe Trails. Susan went to Lincoln High School and Miss Catlin’s School. She attended the University of Oregon and joined the Delta Gamma sorority.
In 1954, Susan married Ambrose “Bubby” Cronin and together they raised six children. She was a master at juggling schedules, running a large household, gardening, hosting dinner parties, and caring for numerous pets including the occasional farm animal. She covered every task with precision and a large dose of humor. When time allowed, Susan stepped into leadership roles for various charities including the Children’s Charity Ball, The Speech and Hearing Center and Junior League. One of her proudest accomplishments was serving as president of the Portland Garden Club and both entering and later judging, flower shows around the country. Susan was grateful for all the friends she made through her volunteer work.
When her marriage ended after 25 years, Susan demonstrated another kind of strength as she navigated life independently. But a new and lovely chapter began when she met Jack Schiffer, whom she married in 1981. Together they traveled, continued volunteering and enjoyed life in Portland, Gearhart and Palm Desert. In 2006, at age 71, Susan was in congestive heart failure and needed a miracle to survive; that miracle came in the form of a heart transplant. She and Jack worked as a team for the next 13 years to protect her donated heart and continue living life. They attended grandchildren’s graduations, weddings and welcomed great-grandchildren, the youngest named Frances Susan, in honor of her Great Nanny.
Susan is survived by her husband Jack; sister Sally Stark; brother Ron Erickson (Linda); her children, Melanie Callander (Charlie), Marty Cronin, Sara Freeman (Perk), Kate Besse and Huck Cronin (Jennie) and stepchildren, Cathy Mustonen (Dick), Laurie Schiffer and John Schiffer. She also leaves behind 10 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and many beautiful nieces and nephews. Susan was preceded in death by her parents and son Timothy Cronin.
A Catholic funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 at St. Thomas More Church. 3525 S.W. Patton Road.
The family sends special thanks to Sue Altstadt for her lifelong friendship; Terina Buchanan whose loving care made it possible for Susan to stay at home while ill; The members of Marrakesh Country Club for flying the flag at half-staff in honor of Susan; and her team of doctors and nurses at Providence St. Vincent’s Hospital. Susan asked that any donations be sent to the Oregon Humane Society (Oregonhumane.org) or a local pet shelter in honor of her beloved dog Emma.
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