On November 14, 2018, Susan Harmsen Craighead passed peacefully in the comfort of her home in Culpeper, Virginia with her mother and her husband at her side. Her vivacious spirit and deeply engaging personality revealed her enthusiasm for life and her courageous soul. She was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend with a deep love of family, art, and conversation, making acquaintances with a natural grace and profound sense of humor befriending even the most unlikely people. Throughout her life, Susan was a dedicated animal lover rescuing numerous dogs and cats over the years. She raised Doberman Pinchers and later trained Poodles for obedience and the show ring. She was very much loved and will be deeply missed.
Susan was born on January 3, 1954, at Greene County Hospital to Louis Harmsen and Barbara Sanchez Harmsen. Her childhood in East Durham and Catskill was full of adventures with her sisters and cousins. Susan graduated with honors from Germantown Central High School Class of 1972, where she was selected as Student Ambassador to Spain in the summer of her junior year. She went on to attend SUNY at Potsdam. She also actively participated in the equestrian program at Sarah Lawrence College.
Susan pursued a career in art, painting and studying at the Cape Cod School of Art, where she met her husband Stephen. She was a highly talented artist and was particularly noted for her children’s portraits which now grace the walls of homes nationwide. They were devoted parents to son James, born on March 16, 1993. Together with her husband and son, Susan settled in Nokesville, Virginia.
The essence of her spirit will live on in the memories of her husband, Stephen Craighead, and her son, James Craighead of Culpeper, VA; her parents Barbara and Bruce Pratten of Lancaster, PA; sister Linda Harmsen of Lititz, PA; sister Barbara Downey and her husband Clifford Downey of Lititz, PA; sister Pamela De Leon of Ashburn, VA; her niece and nephew Anya and Spencer Leon of VA. Susan was predeceased by nephew, Seger Downey, father Louis Harmsen, grandparents Manuel and Sylvia Sanchez and grandmother Louise Harmsen, great aunt Hertha Wodarzick, aunt Ann Loyed, and Uncle Manuel Sanchez.
A memorial service will be held at the Reformed Church of Germantown, 20 Church Rd., Germantown on Saturday, November 24, 2018, at 1:00 pm, followed by internment at the Reformed Church Cemetery. Following internment, all are welcome to attend a gathering at Central House in Germantown. Funeral arrangements by Millspaugh Camerato Funeral Home, Catskill. Messages of condolence may be made to Millspaughcamerato.com.