By Chuck Dickinson
Former and current members of the World in Watertown Board of Directors were deeply saddened by the passing of their friend and colleague, Susan Klaw. Susan died peacefully at home at age 74 from ALS on December 23, 2023. There will be a memorial service on January 13th at 3 p.m. at the First Parish of Watertown Unitarian Universalist, 35 Church Street, Watertown.
Susan was an active and engaged force with World in Watertown, and served on the Board of Directors for many years. She was always an active participant in meetings and many of World in Watertown events and programs (e.g., Unity Breakfast). She provided special leadership for World in Watertown’s sponsorship (with Friends of Project Literacy) of a naturalization ceremony and voter registration, a life-changing event for 200 immigrants from 50 different countries. She also played a key role in the transition of Board leadership from the “old guard” who had founded WiW to a new generation of community leaders in Watertown.
Will Twombly, one of the founding members of World in Watertown in 2020, remembered her this way: “Susan’s commitment to social justice was extraordinary. She ‘walked the walk’ every day, both in her working career and in her volunteer endeavors. Susan’s support of immigrants was especially noteworthy, as well as her tireless efforts on behalf of the disadvantaged people of El Salvador. Whenever there was a social justice project to be done, Susan could always be counted on to make it happen. She was a great example for everyone who believes that one person can indeed make the world a better place.”
Another former Board member, Larry Raskin, said that “Susan really was a force of nature, and I am grateful to have known and worked with her.” He then noted that “… tonight a group of Watertown residents selected the best middle and high school student essays for presentation at the MLK, Jr. Day Unity Breakfast. Susan was one of the essay readers for many years. We missed her, and her insightful comments about the students’ work.
Nicole Gardner, a new World in Watertown Board member, spoke for Board members old and new when she said, simply: “It is hard to overstate the impact Susan had. She gave so much to so many people. She will be missed.”
Susan Klaw’s full obituary, telling the story of her remarkable life, may be found here.