August 29, 1956 - May 16, 2019
Susan Jane Frank Dahl
Died May 16, 2019, Portland, Oregon
Susan Jane Dahl was born August 29th, 1956 in Norwalk, Connecticut to David Frank and Jane Beeston Frank. She passed unexpectedly on May 16th, 2019 at the age of 63.
Susan grew up in CT and graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a nursing degree and a minor in French. She worked in psychiatric hospitals in CT and Oregon, which provided many interesting stories shared at family holiday meals. She also worked as a visiting nurse assisting home bound and elderly patients.
She is survived by her first husband Moises Guedes of Oxford, CT, her second husband Christopher V. Dahl of Wrangell, AK and her two sons, David A. Villa of Bridgeport, CT and Arne E. Dahl of Point Baker, AK and her sister Jennifer G. Frank of East Granby, CT and brother Peter B. Frank of Auburn, CA. She also leaves many cousins and her Aunt Marisa Coogen from the Marblehead, MA area.
Susan had her father’s gift for languages and spoke French, and a little German and Russian. She had beautiful red hair. She loved to travel, riding cross country with a friend on a motorcycle in her early twenties and visiting Europe several times. Some of her favorite activities included volunteering with the American Red Cross, and other social service agencies. She also loved flowers and gardening when she found the time.
In her late thirties Susan moved to a remote scenic inlet in Southeast Alaska, living on a float house with a beautiful mountain view and a cat who could swim to shore at high tide. Susan, Chris and Arne lived throughout Alaska, including living in Wasilla, Craig, and Ketchikan. She home schooled Arne through Kindergarten. The family lived on a small island in Point Baker, a community of roughly 80 people while Arne continued into first and second grade, traveling to a one room school house by boat. Eventually the family moved to Salem, Oregon where Susan returned to psychiatric nursing and Arne got to attend more traditional schools.
Three years ago, Susan moved herself to Portland, Oregon using Uber. She very much enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere and diversity of Portland. She loved walking her Chihuahua, Albie to the great coffee shops in her new neighborhood. Albie’s nickname in the neighborhood was Killer. Being a service dog, Albie was allowed to accompany Susan everywhere including the grocery stores, hairdressers and on trains and buses.
First husband Moises Guedes said there’s a hole in my heart. I remember a very sweet side with Susan. We were young in Portugal, she was beautiful. There was a beauty which I cannot forget. It is said that love has only a beginning. Also, the more love you give the more you love you have. The supply is endless.
Second husband Christopher Von Dahl remembers Susan as a steadfast person. Someone who always did what she said she was going to do.
Early in her nursing career Susan had her first son David. He remembers their first apartment on Wooster Street in New Haven. They went to Wooster Park and the playground nearby. He remembers their apartment on Fountain Street. Riding his bike in the driveway (it was a busy street). And a garden full of sunflowers, and a porch covered with morning glories.
Second son, Arne Dahl, a young fisherman in Southeast Alaska, remembers his mother’s independent and impetuous yet compassionate nature. He recalls how fast she was to try and fix what she was felt an injustice to herself or someone dear to her. During Arne’s last year of middle school he dealt with a teacher who seemed to have it out for him. After an incident in which he felt particularly wronged by this teacher, he confided to his Mom that evening. Early the following morning, she walked in and asked to speak with the teacher and much to Arne’s pleasure, by the time school had started he was in a different teacher’s class. He also remembers how sincerely happy she was to volunteer for the American Red Cross or at any organization that felt relevant to struggles with which she empathized. Despite being struck with the intriguing challenge of Bipolar Disorder, Susan was living her best life.
During Arne’s last visit with his Mother over Thanksgiving 2018, he brought along his girlfriend Tango Batelli, and they spent time in Portland visiting gardens and ethnic restaurants.
Brother Peter remembers an incident from their childhood. The family lived in Gales Ferry, CT. Susan was in second or third grade. They were waiting for the school bus, and playing catch with a large rock. Susan caught it, but badly smashed her fingers. Her teacher said they were going to get her a ball after her hands healed up.
Sister Jennifer remembers Susan’s love of Chinese food and eating out in Chinatown in NYC. Jennifer went to college in NYC and Susan came in many times and they went to Chinatown. As they got older, Susan observed, we just can’t eat three or four entrees like we used to. Jennifer also remembers the many interesting and descriptive letters Susan wrote her over the years, from the unusual places she lived and visited. The letters are treasured and saved.
Susan’s close friend Lonnie Lindsey remembers Susan as one of the sweetest, kindest people she ever knew. They worked together as nurses in Ketchikan when Arne was a baby. They were also neighbors. She was very happy to have Susan as her friend for as long as she did.
Susan and Jennifer’s childhood friend Sarah Smith-Levine remembers Susan when they were all in their early teens; Susan always had those shaggy bangs that would fall in her eyes… and what a smart aleck! She always had a sarcastic, snappy comeback.
She used to roll up the skirt of her Catholic school uniform and show her freckly knees. She was not above whining to get her way… but Sarah and Jennifer were wise to that, being sophisticated, older women, and mostly just tolerated her. But she was a feisty girl, and when she put her mind to it she very often got what she was aiming for. She was part of a childhood that was pretty special, and I will always remember her that way.
Sister in law Joleen Dahl remembers Susan bringing over flowers and plants from her yard. She liked old fashioned plants, like weigela, even though they took a long time to bloom (years in some cases). Susan loved flowers and loved to garden.
Susan will be missed very much by all of us.