Suzanne Pearson Grantham Suzanne Pearson Grantham, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died on February 4 after a courageous struggle with glioblastoma for nearly five years. She was born on July 29, 1950 in Santa Monica, California and grew up in the Los Angeles area.
A talented musician from an early age, she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from the University of Southern California, where she was a student of Lillian Steuber and Daniel Pollock. She pursued further studies in music at the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau, France. A sensitive and elegant collaborative pianist, her last performance, with soprano Kathryn Findlen, was a recital of American songs in 2008. While at USC she met composer Donald Grantham. They married in Carmel, California in 1975 and shortly after moved to Austin when he joined the faculty of the University of Texas Department of Music. Suzy taught piano until 1995 when she and her husband formed their music publishing venture, Piquant Press. Her perfectionism was legendary, and she managed and expanded the business until illness forced her retirement in 2009.
Suzy loved deeply, fiercely and unconditionally. A wonderful and devoted mother, she spent countless hours with her three children, supporting them in their various ventures, including ballet, lacrosse, music lessons, fencing, and (one) pre-dawn swim practice. She loved to cook and entertain, and her warmth, kindness, clever humor and infectious laugh were felt by everyone who knew her. Suzy was exceptionally compassionate. She adopted numerous pets throughout her life, despite her husband’s objections, and could easily cry at the sound of a beautiful piece of music or a sentimental movie-much to the amusement of her family. She was immensely proud of her granddaughter, who brought light and laughter to Suzy’s last few years.
Suzy is survived by her husband Donald, daughter Ellen of Washington DC, son Mark and his wife Kim and granddaughter Chloe of Austin, and son Ben currently serving in the US Army. Her west coast survivors include stepfather Harry Schellhous, mother Margaret Schellhous, sister Sharon Pearson, half-sisters Donna Harmon and husband Gus, Diane Blakeley and husband Tom, stepsisters Katherine Skleba and husband James, Coleen Pearson, and Jenny Pearson. Her survivors in Oklahoma include mother-in-law Pat Grantham, and brothers- and sisters-in-law Jim and Debbie Grantham, and Mike and Nancy Grantham. Suzy is preceded in death by her father, David Pearson and her father-in-law, Don Grantham, Sr.
Our family is enormously grateful for the outpouring of love and support shown to Suzy and to us during her illness. High on this list are her faithful “Board” members who met at The Magic Carpet or our home every Wednesday afternoon for years; her raucous and rowdy Book Club that changed its venue to our home for Suzy’s last meeting, the day before her death; her Poker Club (‘nuf said); the choir, clergy and parishioners of St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church; colleagues at UT’s Butler School of Music and the National Endowment for the Arts; her fellow singers in the Texas Choral Consort; the congregations of the First Christian, the First Presbyterian and the First Baptist Churches in Duncan, Oklahoma; Anne Slechta; Amalia Gonzales; and the numerous doctors, nurses, and personnel at Texas Oncology, Seton and Brackenridge Hospitals, MD Anderson, and Hospice Austin. Suzy fought this wretched disease with grace, dignity and humor. At one of her last medical appointments her oncologist asked “How are things in your world, Mrs. Grantham?”-to which she replied with a twinkling smile “My world is rockin’!” One rarely hears laughter in an oncologist’s office, but it was common when Suzy was in the building.
Her husband and children adored her, and our world is broken and can never be the same without this wonderful, beautiful woman.