Shuggie left her physical body at approximately 11:40pm on Thursday, April 18th. Is it coincidence that she was pronounced deceased by her dear Hospice nurse at 1:15am on Friday, with the full moon just past the meridian in our little town? This full moon is known by some as the Ascension Moon. I'm just saying, girl had style. She left quickly. With her beloved Debra's hands on her, she slid away. She is free. Her hair was still multicolored. She was 74 brilliant years young.
She is survived by Debra, her partner of 26 years, as well as all of her Eureka Family and other Family all over the US: Wisconsin, Arizona, California, and Massachusetts, just to name a few. She may have some distant cousins she was not in touch with. Her “babies,” Maggie and Poppy, miss her and look for her. She will be joining her Mother, her father and her much loved aunts and Meemaw. She missed them all terribly and was looking forward to a reunion.
Shuggie was well known and well loved. She loved hugs and kisses. If someone came up behind her and hugged her, she hugged back first, then looked to see who it was.
One of those she first knew in college days, Jennifer Gilman, wrote of her recently; “Shuggie was a passionate lover and believer in energy going forward. She loved hard and lost as well and picked herself up and taught others how to do the same. Shuggie always responded to the causes of the powerless...she showed the way. Most of all Shuggie has been a charismatic leader...someone who can rally support behind ideas of passion. Someone who can say, “tear down the walls m***f***,” with all our arms entwined during a very scary march at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She energized a whole generation of lesbian activists to do what is right. AND THEY ARE NOW HAPPENING.”
Shuggie was a talented sculptor and two dementional artist. She never cared about selling art, just doing it. Much of it has a political or feminist theme. She missed getting her degree in Fine Arts by one credit, because it was more important for her to help close down the above university in support of young men trying to not be drafted into the Vietnam War. It may also have something to do with her coming out as a lesbian at the same time. She marched for civil rights and for peace. She was a nanny for 5 children, who she continued to love. She was a foreman of a carpenter shop, helping those unemployed get jobs and skills. She taught art in a juvenile detention center.
After moving to Eureka Springs, she helped pass 12 referendums, mostly towards protecting our natural environment. She was an avid writer on Geekfest, with many a spirited debate. Some didn't understand her writing because she had dyslexia and came at subjects sort of sideways and always with humor. She was funny. She liked to sing. Loud. She would tap dance in her bare feet, on the linoleum. She played with her food and bounced balls in the house. It is impossible to tell such a full and active life.
Shuggie worried about the hungry children, so anyone wanting to honor her can do so by contributing to the Children's Food Program at the Eureka Springs schools, in her name. A memorial celebration of her life is in the planning and will be announced in the future.
Towards the end, Shuggie was greatly disabled by her disease. She was unhappy not to be able to be up and doing. Her death was a release for her. Just know that if she knew you, she loved you. That was who she was.