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Susan Cantrell Gilchrist '65

8th Grade Class of 1961

Susan Cantrell Gilchrist (Born Susan Cantrell on December 26, 1947) let go of this life on April 19, 2014 with deep gratitude for the rich full life she enjoyed these 66 years, the opportunities to love so many wonderful people, to experience some beautiful places, and to have some interesting adventures along the way.  

Predeceased by her parents, G.B. (Pete) Cantrell and Maysie Morris Henrotin, and one brother, G.B. (Bark) Cantrell, Jr., she is survived by two brothers, Samuel M. Cantrell and Charles G. Cantrell, three deeply loved and appreciated children, Jordan Gilchrist, Whitney Owen, and Tyler Owen, and her kind and loving husband of 5 years Michael M Latham.

Susan attended Waldorf school in Kimberton, PA and graduated from the Agness Irwin School (Rosemont, PA) in 1965. She loved her 6 years on lake Cayuga, NY where she earned her BA from Wells College (’69) and her MAT from Cornell University (’71). In 1968 she spent a significant summer on the Hopi reservation. She was one of the founders of the Alternate Junior High School in Ithaca, NY.  

Susan lived in Ann Arbor, MI then spent most of her life in Madison, WI, a community she grew to love. She moved to Berea, OH in 2009 to joyously marry Mike Latham.  

A multifaceted career included prevention and adolescent health education, prepared childbirth education (14 years), prison education, and more. Susan was whole-heartedly involved in the childcare community for many years. For 19 ½ years she worked as an environmental education researcher for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where she developed a bird conservation education program and conducted two oral history projects connected to the land. Susan initiated a bird conservation education project in Nicaragua. She published some research papers and journal articles, but her true labors of love were the two oral history books she authored: “Sand Country Memories” and “Views of the Ridge”. In most of her jobs, it was conducting training workshops she enjoyed best. Susan also loved being part of regional and national networks with Project WILD, bird conservation education, and storytelling. Susan enjoyed stories and storytelling all her life.  She coordinated the Madison Storytellers’ Guild for over 20 years.

Susan enjoyed traveling to every continent (except Antarctica) and almost every State. She was proud to serve as a prison visitor through PVS (Prison Visitation and Support). She loved contra dancing, yoga classes, shopping at the farmers market, eating coffee ice cream, birthday parties that celebrated the creative energies of her friends, experiencing other cultures through travel, water color painting in recent years, wildlife watching and most of all, quiet walks in the woods.  

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