Blogging Along the Brandywine


The
extraordinary people who quietly transform lives are often those who live in
our own neighborhoods.

Susan
Hauser was one of those people.

I
moved to Chadds Ford 30 years ago to be closer to a new teaching
assignment.  During that first
year, while reading the paper, I noticed a small article about the Chadds Ford
Historical Society, asking people to get involved.

Their
contact person was Susan Hauser.

And
so I called her.

Within
two years I was chair of the entertainment committee at Chadds Ford Days, and
performing 18th century folk ballads at the society’s Colonial
Dinners and Tavern Nights at the Barnes Brinton House. I was also guiding and
baking bread in the beehive oven at the John Chad House.

This
led to invitations to the Boards of Directors at the Brandywine Battlefield
Park Associates and later the Sanderson Museum.

Susan
Hauser died of cancer on Sept. 8 and for those of us who knew her, Chadds Ford
will never be the same.

Longtime
friend, neighbor and preservationist Kathy Wandersee, said recently, “Susan and
I first met back in 1974. We had just purchased a house on Brintons Bridge Road
after a six-year transfer to Switzerland. The Hausers were moving out to a
transfer to Switzerland.  So, we
didn’t really know each other until they came back about 4 years later to live
next door again.”

On
learning about Susan’s skills in public relations, Kathy asked her if she would
be interested in doing public relations for the Historical Society. That was
the beginning of Susan’s 20 year volunteer position of public relations person
for the Chadds Ford Historical Society.

According
to Wandersee, “It is no exaggeration that so much of
what the Chadds Ford Historical Society is today, is because of Susan Hauser.”

Susan
later became senior planner at the Delaware County Planning Department and
contributed to the conservation of many of our natural and historic resources.

It
was while there that she researched and wrote the Historic Resources Survey for
Birmingham (now Chadds Ford) Township, researching and documenting over 100
historic buildings and sites in Chadds Ford Township.

In
1984 when the documentary “Chester County, A Quiet Surprise” was being filmed,
I participated in an 18th century scene in the Barnes-Brinton
Tavern. What took 4 hours to film lasted maybe 20 seconds on the screen. But
there in the middle of it all was a handsome young teenager in Colonial clothes
with his violin- Susan’s son, Jeffery.

Two
years later on the first day of spring, Jeffrey Hauser lost his life in a
skiing accident while competing in a Junior Olympics Ski Tournament in
Killington, Vermont.     

 The first day of spring, a day that
should be filled with the hope of renewed life, would never be the same for
Susan and Bill.

But
for the last twenty years, a graduating Unionville senior has received the
Jeffrey Hauser Memorial Fund scholarship.

Speaking
at Susan’s memorial service on Sept. 25 at Westminster Presbyterian, Tracy
Hauser Scarrow, said her mother would call her last few weeks of life her
“Journey to Jeffery”.

And
at the opening of that service, the Reverend Don Lincoln called Susan, “a quiet
and courageous saint”. 

Later,
her husband Bill would ask people to remember her every time they saw one of
the familiar Brandywine Valley directional signs.

Maybe
you didn’t know Susan, and yet her life has touched yours.

Now
go out and be extraordinary.

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About Sally Denk Hoey

Sally Denk Hoey, is a Gemini - one part music and one part history. She holds a masters degree cum laude from the School of Music at West Chester University. She taught 14 years in both public and private school. Her CD "Bard of the Brandywine" was critically received during her almost 30 years as a folk singer. She currently cantors masses at St Agnes Church in West Chester where she also performs with the select Motet Choir. A recognized historian, Sally serves as a judge-captain for the south-east Pennsylvania regionals of the National History Day Competition. She has served as president of the Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates as well as the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford where she now curates the violin collection. Sally re-enacted with the 43rd Regiment of Foot and the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment for 19 years where she interpreted the role of a campfollower at encampments in Valley Forge, Williamsburg, Va., Monmouth, N.J. and Lexington and Concord, Mass. Sally is married to her college classmate, Thomas Hoey, otherwise known as "Mr. Sousa.”

Comments

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3 Responses to “Blogging Along the Brandywine”

  1. Knollster says:

    Susan greeted me warmly to my new community 16 years ago on Christmas morning with bread made at the John Chad House. Susan and my sister, Jill, worked together and although she did not know me, she felt the need to welcome a new member of her community that Christmas day. She will be remembered fondly.

    – Joan Stalford

  2. M says:

    Jane, extraordinary. Thank you! Knowing Susan has made all the difference.

  3. PHNolan says:

    Sally,

    I am saddened to hear of Susan’s death, and am so appreciative of this tribute you wrote. George and I have been away for almost 5 years now, but our hearts are very much in Chadds Ford. Susan was a big part of the life and vibrancy in the village. Please give our regards and sincere sympathies to Bill and the family. In friendship, Phyllis Nolan (now located on Lake Greenwood, SC)

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