Susan Kennedy, a life-long resident of Evanston, passed away on Sept. 30 after a short illness. Susan was a mother, a grandmother of six and a wife. She was beloved by all who knew her and possessed a real gift in touching the lives of all she met. 

She gave herself to the concerns of others: as a social worker, as an advocate for social justice, and as a volunteer in public school tutoring programs.  Her skills were not limited to people; she was a gifted dog trainer who studied animal behavior in programs throughout the world.

In the last years of her life, Susan found a new calling as a volunteer to bring a restorative justice approach to Evanston’s schools, allowing all to have an equal chance to participate and heal. She expanded her vision to include the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy. She was also active in the Books & Breakfast program sharing her passion for reading with boys and girls at Kingsley Elementary.

One of Susan’s lifelong interests was animal training. She and her dogs competed in dog agility and nose work events around the Midwest. To advance her skills, she studied with some of the best animal trainers both here and abroad leading to her focus on positive reinforcement as the basis for all training, canine as well as human. To advance her skills, she trained chickens, bird and goldfish. 

Susan possessed enormous creativity.  She developed skills in book-binding, photography and knitting.  One of her favorite holidays was Halloween, and for years she would create costumes for her dogs that reflected her wonderful sense of whimsy. These photos decorated hundreds of refrigerators around the world. Whatever she did captured her focused imagination.

Susan lived a life of quiet dignity and always displayed a vast generosity of spirit to one and all.  She will be greatly missed. The family has planned a private memorial service.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to Family Focus of Evanston, 310 S. Peoria St., Suite 301, Chicago IL 60607 or online at and the JourneyCare Foundation, 2050 Claire Ct., Glenview, IL 60025 or online at