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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Susan Keese


I just read that VPR's southern Vermont correspondent, Susan Keese, passed away.

I've known Susan for many years, after first meeting her to talk about things going on at the Estey Organ Museum. Being a radio producer, her medium was sound, and stories that had interesting sounds or music being played were often of interest to her and her listeners.

She got very interested in the 2005 EsteyFest, a gathering of reed organ enthusiasts, many of whom brought instruments with them.

Over the years, whenever I had a potential story that included good sounds, I'd make sure she knew about it.

Susan would always have her equipment with her. Her headphones, mic, and digital recorder were a portable suite that allowed her to make all of southern Vermont her office. She seemed to cherish it.

Most recently, Susan got in touch regarding Representative Town Meeting. She dropped by our house a couple of months ago, nursing a cold, and interviewed me about the history of town meeting. She had questions about whether there was any movement to return to a regular town meeting. She asked great, tough questions.

I told her it was a topic of discussion from time to time, but there wasn't any movement, as far as I knew, to vote to return to regular town meeting.  We both agreed there might be a bigger story in coming years, but there wasn't much in that regard at the moment.

And so she left.

And then she came back. Susan was often juggling many things at a time, and after reaching her car, came back to the door to see if she had dropped something. We looked around. It wasn't here.

And then she really left.

I assumed I'd be seeing her often in the coming years, and hearing her on the radio for some time to come.

VPR Link.

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Susan Keese

I second what Chris & now others throughout Vermont are saying about how fine a journalist Susan was. She and I had a number of conversations over the years as she contacted me for background on arts-related stories. I most remember her work on a Vermont Life feature she did on Friends of Music at Guilford (ten or more years ago.) At the time I was still Administrator of FOMAG. She visited the Organ Barn once, interviewed several of those of us who helped start the organization, and came out again and interviewed founder Graham Down when he was visiting from DC. She also talked to our organ restorer/repairer/tuner Larry Nevin, and asked detailed questions about the types of pipes and stuff, & he demonstrated how the instrument worked and she continued to probe, all this for a general article about us that could have been done with a lot less time and work on her part. Then she came out again to the Labor Day Weekend Festival concerts the following weekend. That was what sticks with me as I remember her, and some of the early tributes I'm seeing reflect this also: Her sincere interest in and sympathy for the subjects about which she wrote, and an unusual thoroughness which was the result of genuine curiosity about her subjects.

 
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Genuine

Yes, to the genuine curiosity. She was always sincere and honest. If something wasn't right for a story, she'd move on.

Another memory: Susan, like many of you reading this, was an iBrattleboro lurker. If we'd run into her around town, she'd almost always mention something someone had written here, and how it made her think of a story to do.

We don't give away identities here, but we did help try to put her in touch with people when she saw something and wanted to know more. Some of you may have received email from us saying that Susan was interested, and if you wanted to get in touch with her, you were free to do so.

It was fun talking shop - local news - with her.

 

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