Susan Macy

1924-2016

            Susan Borden Hyde Macy died September 1 at her home on Lake Tashmoo surrounded by her family. She was 92.

 

            Susy, known as Sue by many on the Island, was born in Santa Barbara, California in 1924 to Robert “Bobby” McKee Hyde and Dorothy Borden Hamilton Hyde. Her mother died six days after Susy was born and her father married Lydia Tonetti of Snedens Landing, New York the next year.

 

            Susy grew up in Snedens Landing with her parents, a younger sister and two brothers. The family spent many summers on Martha’s Vineyard in a summer camp that Bobby Hyde built in 1931 on Lake Tashmoo. At the time it was the only cottage on the narrow spit of land between the lake and Vineyard Sound. Lake Tashmoo was a fresh water lake and Herring Creek a small creek until it was opened up by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. Susy remembered taking long walks along the beach all the way from West Chop to Lambert’s Cove in the years before the hurricane.

 

           During their Island visits, Lydia made jams from wild blueberries, beach plums and chokecherries and sold them in town. The family spent one winter on the Island, living on Main Street in Vineyard Haven across from Owen Park, and Susy attended Tisbury Elementary School.

 

            When she was 14, Susy moved to Santa Barbara to live with her father after he divorced Lydia and married Florence “Floppy” Tuckerman Andrews. Several years later, Santa Barbara school officials were chagrined to learn that Susan’s unconventional father had placed her a grade ahead, but they couldn’t argue with her stellar academic record when she qualified for graduation just after her seventeenth birthday.

 

            Susy continued to travel east to spend summers with Lydia and her siblings at the Tashmoo cottage. When she was sixteen, she met and fell in love with Eliot “Bud” Macy, whose family had a summer camp on the opposite side of the lake.

 

            Susy and Bud were married on the Fourth of July 1942 on the shore of the Hudson River in Snedens Landing, where Lydia’s mother (the sculptor Mary Tonetti) had built a stone pergola at the base of a waterfall. It made a lovely setting for the wedding, with the bride and bridesmaids arriving on a small catboat ferry. Bud’s father, a Congregational minister, officiated.

 

            Bud was a conscientious objector during World War II and performed alternative service through the end of the war. Susy had her own views and supported the war effort by working for a defense contractor for a short period. Susy attended college near Bud’s various work sites, including a forestry camp in Grand Flats, NY and later a mental hospital in Concord, NH, where she also worked. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English at Boston University in 1945.

 

            After the war ended, Susy and Bud moved to Santa Barbara, California, where they would eventually raise five children. They returned to the east coast in the fall of 1946 where Bud briefly pursued graduate studies at Yale Divinity School before volunteering to work with the American Friends Service Committee. While Bud was away for several months on an AFSC post-war reconstruction project in Finland, Susy, living alone with their year-old son and pregnant with their daughter Jill, negotiated the purchase of a small house in New Haven shortly before he returned.

 

          The family returned to Santa Barbara in 1948, where another daughter was born. In 1949 the young family, with three children under four, sailed to England on the Queen Mary and traveled on to Denmark to spend the winter with a young Danish family they had met in California the year before. The family returned from Europe on the Swedish liner Stockholm, which would tragically gain fame six years later for a collision which resulted in the 1956 sinking of the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria off the coast of Nantucket.

 

            After settling down in Santa Barbara, the family visited the Vineyard almost every summer through the 1960s. At the end of each school year (delayed to July in 1952 and 1953 by the births in those years of two more sons), they loaded up the family station wagon and drove 3,000 pre-Interstate and pre-seatbelt miles to Massachusetts. At summer’s end, they drove back to Santa Barbara.

 

            Susy was active in the PTA and as a Brownie Leader as her children were growing up. In 1966-67 she volunteered full-time in a multiethnic kindergarten and for the following two years she was an instructional aide in the Santa Barbara School System. In 1970 she entered the post-graduate Counseling/Psychology program at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), completing her M.Ed. in Education-Counseling and Guidance in June 1971. In 1972 she received her Psychometry Credential and in 1973 her School Psychology Credential, both at UCSB. In 1974 she earned credentials through the California Community College System as a Community College Instructor and a Community College Counselor.

 

            While Susy and Bud summered on the Vineyard in 1974, Susy applied for and was hired as the first School Psychologist for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional School System. Before then psychologists had come from off-island or children had been sent off-island to be tested for special needs.

 

           Susy and Bud became full-time Island residents. Susy loved her job, the children she worked with and her colleagues. In June 1993 Susy retired, but continued to work by referral from the Director of Special Education for Martha’s Vineyard Schools, from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School and from therapists and psychiatrists. She did this until the end of 2000.

 

            While working she participated in Advisory Committees for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, especially the Early Childhood Planning Committee, and Advisory Committees for the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, especially the Kindergarten/Preschool Committee.

 

            Susy was an ardent feminist. She didn’t join “the movement,” but she strongly believed in equal rights for women and men. At the bottom of a page of quotes she put together to be helpful to mentors and parents, she wrote, “I’m sorry there aren’t more women represented here, but they were obviously too busy to sit down and translate their gifts into words.”

 

            Susy loved poetry, especially T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay and John Donne. She loved to read and after many years of working in the schools she took up reading again and got much enjoyment from it. She loved the lines of poetry that appear at the top of the Vineyard Gazette and would often cut them out and save them.

 

            Susy also loved to bake and loved to eat, especially sweets. Her children remember in particular the tantalizing aroma of hot cardamom bread fresh from the oven. She made amazing blueberry and beach plum jams. She loved nature and being outdoors in the garden, blueberrying in the woods around Tashmoo, or collecting sea glass along White's Beach. She liked to walk the two miles from her office to the family summer cottage on Herring Creek Road, picking blueberries along the way. Ever considerate of others, Susy only picked the berries where the mosquitoes and poison ivy were the worst so there would be plenty for everyone who wanted to pick. She also loved flowers and would often take a small bouquet from her garden when she would visit someone.

 

            She adored her family and was interested in and proud of each one of them. She and Bud had been married almost 69 years when he died in June 2011. For the next five years she spent winters with her youngest son, daughter-in-law and their family in Rockland County, New York, not far from Snedens Landing where she grew up. She also spent time in the winters with two of her other adult children and their families who lived nearby. From the end of May through early November she returned to the Vineyard and lived with her daughter in her home on Lake Tashmoo.

 

            Susy and Bud set up a charitable trust to be distributed upon their deaths, the proceeds of which were designated mainly for Vineyard charities, notably the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha's Vineyard, Hospice of Martha's Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard Community Services.

 

            She is survived by her son Tim Macy and wife Barbara of Franklin Lakes, NJ; daughter Jill Macy of Vineyard Haven; daughter Sarah Macy and husband Ted Pedersen of East Rutherford, NJ; son Mike Macy and wife Ann of Santa Barbara, CA; son John Macy and wife Joy of Blauvelt, NY; 10 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and her brother Gavin Hyde of Santa Barbara. She was predeceased by her husband Bud, her sister Anne G. Bjorklund and her brothers Joe Hyde and Francois Hyde.

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