The deeply loved and exceptionally accomplished Susan Siegel Sharlot died suddenly and unexpectedly on May 23, 2019 at her home in Austin, Texas.
Her death leaves a hole in her family and wide circle of friends.
Susan is survived by her daughter Sarah and her husband Fred Dietrich, son Matthew and his wife Karen Keohane, her precious grandchildren Sam, Max and Julia Dietrich who she was so very proud of and who brought her abundant joy and her nephew Robert Zusman and his wife Tia Stokes and niece Rosanne Zusman and her husband Bob Jacobs.
Sue was a brilliant woman who lived life to the fullest. She filled her days with family, friends, theater, music, work, and volunteering.
Born in New York, she attended Antioch College in Ohio where she met the love of her life, Michael Sharlot ’58. They married young and immature. So immature that the Rabbi who married them said he was sorry he had done so, for it would never last.
But that marriage lasted 56 years until Mike’s death in 2013. Susan and Michael moved to Austin in 1969 when Mike began teaching at the UT School of Law. Susan was a wonderful hostess and a great cook. Their home was often filled with friends enjoying her hospitality and wry sense of humor. With a quick and keen mind, Susan was not content with only being a faculty wife and mom. She wanted to finish college and begin a career for herself.
She attended the UT School of Nursing and received a B.S. in nursing. Her nursing career included three years in the Cardiac Care Unit at Brackenridge Hospital and another five years working at Austin State School.
Seeking more challenges, Susan returned to school and graduated in 1984 with a J.D. from the UT School of Law. She practiced law for 14 years, first at Vinson & Elkins and later with the small firm of Scanlon & Buckle (now Scanlon, Buckle & Young). In 1998 Susan retired from the law.
Never being one to sit back, she began her next career as a volunteer carrying business cards stating “Not Gainfully Employed.” Susan started as a volunteer with her local library in Westlake Hills. She was asked and joined the Board of Directors of Family Eldercare, a nonprofit in Austin, Texas providing low cost services to low income seniors and disabled persons. She served the organization for six years. While serving on that Board, she also joined the Board of Lyons Gardens, a national award winning low income senior housing project in East Austin. Sue’s legal expertise on the Lyons Gardens Board was extremely useful as she reviewed contracts and rules relating to Section 202 low-income housing projects supported by HUD.
After winning her own battle against breast cancer , Susan joined the Board of Directors of the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Austin to help others facing that disease. Her next turn at volunteering was with the non-profit Board, Austin Shakespeare. There, Susan got to work on one of her lifelong loves, the theater. After moving to an apartment at Westminster in Austin, Susan continued to “work” on her volunteer career by serving on both the Westminster Board and Westminster Manor Association. Susan always gave her time, her energy, her expertise, and even her funds, without any expectation of award, recognition, or recompense.
She has raised the profile and the coffers of all of the non-profits with which she has been associated. She was a long time bridge player and could count cards with the best of them. This served her well when her grandchildren taught her to play euchre. She loved to read especially poetry. She performed in a play at Zachary Scott Theater (before it was just Zach).
She was a cellist and performed with a small orchestra in D.C. and as a member of several string quartets. And, she wrote: short stories, poetry, essays, and letters to the editor. Susan had friends everywhere; gathered and cherished over years of hosting fabulous pool parties, years’ long friendships with people from college, the Law School, other long time Austinites, her Book Club, Bridge Club, Poker Club, and Spanish Class, and of course friends from all the boards and organizations she worked with.
Most importantly, Susan loved her family. And though they were scattered around the county, they gathered throughout the year for all the holidays and just for a visit cooking and feasting and playing games. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday August 11, 2019 at 10:00 am at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 2620 South Congress Ave, Austin, Texas. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the M. Michael Sharlot Scholarship fund at the University of Texas School of Law or Family Eldercare, Austin, Texas, or an organization that is meaningful to you. Remembrances may be left at www.wcfish.com.