Susan Frederick Simmons | AspenTimes.com

Susan Frederick Simmons

Susan Frederick Simmons died peacefully at home in Aspen on Jan. 6 after a 25-year battle with Scleroderma. She was 64.

Su was born on June 1, 1953, at Alachua General Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

Hallelujah, she has traded in her 'earth suit' for the heavenly raiments in the continuum of life.

Su enjoyed shopping, flowers, gardening, reading, bird watching, dogs, and the natural beauty of the Rockies and Florida beaches. She was a talented ceramic artist who continued doing what she loved by creating beautiful pieces of art until the crippling effects of scleroderma made that impossible. Although scleroderma damaged Su's body, she never let it affect her positive nature and affirmative outlook on life. She successfully remained the cheerful, giving, indomitable, brave spirit that earned her the well-deserved nickname "Sweet Su."

After getting a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics, Su's determination to create a career from her craft detoured for nearly two decades. A short summer trip to Aspen turned into years of hiking, skiing and running marathons. As a member of Aspen's "forever fit brigade", the bright-eyed blonde waited tables at local restaurants to support those passions. In 1995 her body pushed back. Su contracted scleroderma, a degenerative and often terminal disease that causes a hardening joints and skin. Within six months she was unable to walk. Su eventually regained the use of her legs and some movement in her hands.

What Su described as an "ugly disease" forced her to use her artistic talents for survival. She immediately picked up where she had left off with her ceramics. Su will always be remembered for her platters featuring the willowy forms of aspen trees at various times during the day and night.

By her side at the time of her death were her dear friends Tim Mooney, Hogan McWilliams, and Lisa Bolerjack. She was ever grateful for their devotion and loving care as well as that of Hospice of the Valley, or any hospice of your choice, Meals on Wheels, and all her Colorado friends who are way too numerous to list. She would want any remembrances in her name to be directed to the Scleroderma Foundation, 300 Rosewood Dr. No. 105, Danvers MA 01923.

Su was preceded in death by her mother, Sara Williamson Simmons; her twin sister, Nancy Harber Simmons; and her beloved dog, Dixie. She is survived by her father, Young J. Simmons of Ocala; her siblings, Julie Simmons Weiss of Ocala, Young J. Simmons III of Ocala, Shirley Simmons of Nashville, TN; and her nephews, Philip Weiss of Chicago, IL, Daniel Weiss and Young J. Simmons IV both of Ocala. She also leaves behind many treasured friends who were true blessings in her life.

We can still hear her laughter and see her smile. She was a uniquely kind and loving woman. Knowing her was a Treasure, one that will never be forgotten.