[Nyerges is the author of 10 books and regularly offers naturalist training. He can be reached at www.ChristopherNyerges.com, or School of Self-reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]
During the second week of December, I got a message: Sue Redman had died. This came as a great shock. Sue (and her husband Rich) were longtime friends. Sue was 72 years old, but I still had the sense that she would live forever. Here are my thoughts about Sue as I reflected over the years.
It was 1976 and I had just moved out of my home with my parents. I’d gone to my grandfather’s farm in Ohio to live for 6 months after high school, came back to California, and then decided it was time to set out on my own. I was living in a small hut in Highland Park, searching for the meaning of life, and needing a job.
I walked into the office of the Altadena Chronicle on North Lake Avenue looking for work. I met Sue Redman, and we got along great. She wasn’t anything like the front desk secretary at the Star News, whose job was to repel anyone who walked in the front door.
Sue spoke with me like a real person, and we quickly became friends. I became a typesetter and a columnist for Altadena’s only hometown paper. It was the beginning of a great relationship
I also met Rich at that time and we also became great friends. He hired me to do framing and painting at the Chronicle office, and even way back then, I realized that Rich and Sue were unique. Two sides of the same coin. They were, at least in my eyes, the way a married couple should be, both having respect and concern for the other.
(Over time, the Altadena Chronicle segued to the Altadena Weekly, which was swallowed up by the Pasadena Weekly, so we could say that part of what Sue and Rich created lives on.)
I always found Rich to be the model of integrity and honesty. So I once asked Sue if she worshipped the ground where Rich walks, and Sue laughed.
I realized that as the years went by, I was very much a part of the extended Redman family. Sue and Rich hired me for one of my first jobs. Rich printed my first book in their newspaper’s print shop. When I got married the first time, the ceremony took place at their home in the Meadows conducted by Rich, who was also a pastor of an Altadena church. And, up to about a year ago, I lived there on the Redman estate on the edge of the Angeles National Forest, and found it to be paradise on earth, within the watchful and protective aura of Sue and Rich.
Each time I would come back from a trip, Sue was so interested in hearing all the details and encouraged me to write about it.
I very much enjoyed reading Sue’s two novels, and I hope that everyone reading this will eventually read them and enjoy the world that Sue created. [They are available on Kindle].
I was saddened and shocked to hear of Sue’s passing. Perhaps I shouldn’t be. I mean, we will all die. But, I still miss her, and have had her in my mind and heart since I heard the news.
I think with someone like Sue, she never really dies. She touched so many of us, in so many ways, with her kindness and friendship and genuine concern.
The circle of friends and acquaintances of the Redman family were vast, evidenced by the diverse and large group of people who gathered on the Winter Solstice at a downtown Pasadena church to honor her life.
I told Rich that night that he was a very lucky man. He lives in paradise, and he had the best possible life partner, and he is still surrounded by a wonderful family, and friends, and students.
Sue and Rich, thank you for being a part of my life. I will always be a Redman!