Susie Nelson

Susie Nelson

 

Apr. 5, 1942 - Feb. 26, 2014
CHICAGO - Susan K. Nelson, 71, of Chicago, Ill., died on Feb 26, 2014. Known to friends and family as Susie, she was born in South Bend, Ind., on April 5, 1942, to Naomi H. and Raymond E. Nelson, M.D., both deceased. She is survived by her sister, Janet Harvey, and brother, Robert Nelson, as well as five nephews and two nieces. She graduated from South Bend John Adams High School, and from DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind. She was a writer, reporter, editor, and teacher. Ms. Nelson, who died Wednesday at a Chicago retirement and rehabilitation residence, worked a stint as a reporter for the Indianapolis Times before joining the Chicago Tribune in the mid-1960s. At the time, most women were automatically relegated to features rather than hard news, recalled former Tribune colleague Pat Terry. Female Tribune newcomers would be asked, "Would you like to be on society, fashion, or cooking?" Terry said. In features, Ms. Nelson was an assistant fashion editor, entertainment writer, feature writer, and writer of offbeat columns. Then, she landed a promotion to the Sunday Chicago Tribune Magazine-a highly prestigious and plum assignment in those days. She was one of the first women to work on the magazine, serving as both a writer and editor, according to Terry and her husband, Cliff Terry, a former Tribune feature writer. The dual role was a feather in her cap, Cliff Terry said, because most people were one or the other. Ms. Nelson loved a well-turned phrase. As a Chicago Tribune reporter, textbook editor, and writing teacher, she had a special talent with words, friends and colleagues say. "Words were the thing in the end--written, but also spoken,'' said longtime friend and journalist Jim Tuohy. Even in her final days, as she battled lung cancer, she cherished reading the New York Times and listening to National Public Radio. She also was an avid traveler, as well as a devotee of jazz. Over the years, she wrote or edited articles for Esquire, the Washington Post, the Chicago Reader, Encyclopedia Britannica, World Book, and Reader's Digest. Most recently, she worked as a freelance writer. She also was an adjunct writing instructor at Columbia College, and from 1998 to 2005, she taught various courses in the Chicago Public Schools. A memorial service is planned for March 22 at 3:30 PM, at DePaul University Concert Hall, 800 W. Belden, Chicago.

Published in South Bend Tribune on Mar. 3, 2014

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