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Susan L. Rhodes

November 27, 1951 - December 22, 2019

Susan L. Rhodes

November 27, 1951- December 22, 2019


Susan Lynne Rhodes passed away some time between 12 AM and 6AM on the morning of December 22 from complications of multiple sclerosis at the Family First Care Home in East Portland .


Susan was born in Salem, Oregon on November the 27 th , 1951, the daughter of Fred and Em m a lyn Rhodes, a farming family living near Sheridan, Oregon . She attended Willamina Grade School and High School, graduating in 1970 as Salutatorian of her class. She went on to attend Lewis & Clark College, graduating in 1974 . In 1979 she moved to Bloomington, Indiana to be with her future husband Charles Schwenk and obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration. S usan then moved to Champaign-Urbana Illinois where she obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science. During this time, she and Charles Schwenk married (1983) and she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (1984) . She taught for 2 ½ years at the University of Kentucky and then retired on disability. She and her husband then lived in Bloomington, Indiana where he taught at Indiana University , until May of 1996, when he retired and they returned to Portland, Oregon.


Susan has published several academic articles as well as essays on political topics in online journals like Open Democracy . She was a lay minister in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives and was active in the Portland Buddhist Priory during the late 1990s and early 2000s. She also served on the Disability Advisory Committee of the Portland Parks Department.


For over 35 years, Susan bore an extremely severe disability with exceptional equanimity and resourcefulness . She credit ed her Buddhist practice for her ability to do this. S he is survived by her husband Charles Schwenk and her sister Sheryl Condron.


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