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Obituary for Susan Diane Wagner
In the early morning hours of Friday, December 31, 2021, Susan D. Wagner (née Southard) of Peterborough, NH, passed away peacefully after a long battle with cancer. She was 69 years old. She is survived by her husband, Phil Yokel, of Peterborough, NH; her mother, Shirley Southard, of Winter Haven, FL; her sister, Brenda Roy, of Kissimmee, FL; her two sons and their spouses, Joshua Grigsby and Emilie Kleinszig of Vienna, Austria, and Nicholas Wagner V and Victoria Wagner of Berlin, MA; and many more beloved family and friends.
Born in Plymouth, MA, in 1952, Susan grew up in the South Shore area of Massachusetts. Her childhood years were spent in Duxbury, MA, and she graduated from Old Rochester Regional High School in Mattapoisett, MA, in 1970. The ocean and its coastal shores would remain places of comfort and healing for her throughout her life. Guided by a deep-seated refusal to accept violence or injustice, Susan was active in the counterculture and civil rights movements of the late 1960s and early 70s and participated in marches to end the Vietnam War. She was particularly concerned for the victims of abuse, and supported numerous organizations that rescued animals and provided shelter for women and children.
Professionally, Susan began her career in public relations in 1985 with the Cumberland Company for the Performing Arts in Cumberland, RI. In 1987, she created Audio Journal, a nonprofit radio reading service that provided news, performances, discussions, and other informational and creative content for the blind and visually impaired. After more than a decade as executive director, during which she was constantly involved in both fundraising and public outreach, Susan stepped down from Audio Journal to concentrate fully on public relations. Over the ensuing decades, she helped dozens of small businesses, social organizations, and creative artists secure funding and reach wider audiences. She was perhaps proudest, however, of her work with UMass Memorial Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston, which raised millions of dollars for cancer research and shared the stories of people courageously fighting the disease.
Susan loved living. She took great pleasure in travel and exploring new places, in her interactions with pets and other animals, in watching her children grow, and most of all in talking and laughing with loved ones. She will be greatly missed.
In accordance with her wishes, no formal funeral service will be held. Donations in her name can be made to the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (https://apcc.org/get-involved/donate/).