Susan (Campbell) Brownsberger

April 16, 1935 ~ February 8, 2021 (age 85)


Susan Campbell BROWNSBERGER died at home of pancreatic cancer on Monday February 8 at the age of 85.   

She is survived by her husband Carl Brownsberger of Belmont to whom she was happily married for over 65 years. 

She is also survived by her son Will and his wife Carolyn of Belmont, her daughter Sarah and her husband Hafthor Yngvason of Bellingham, Washington, her sister Mary Campbell Wirkkala and her husband John Wirkkala of Goshen, New Hampshire, and her sister Elizabeth Ainsley Campbell and her partner Michael Immerso of Lunenberg, Massachusetts. 

She is also survived by five grandchildren and their spouses: Rae Brownsberger Miller and her husband Michael Miller of Boulder, Colorado, Carly Brownsberger McNeil and her husband Dan McNeil of South Portland, Maine, Louise Brownsberger and her partner Ben Soiefer of New York, New York, Solrun Hafthorsdottir of Reykjavik, Iceland, and Bryndis Hafthorsdottir and her husband Sverrir Kristjansson of San Francisco, California.   

She was blessed with four great grandchildren  – Jon Thor, Susan Klara, Sonja Lilly, and David -- as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.      

Susan was born in 1935 in Melrose, Massachusetts, to William Campbell of Watertown, Massachusetts, and Lillian Crosscup Campbell of Wollaston, Massachusetts. Until she was 10, the young family lived in the home of her grandparents in Watertown. The family then settled in Harvard, Massachusetts. She was a junior at Radcliffe College when mutual friends arranged her first date with her future husband, Carl, who was studying at Harvard Medical School. 

While her husband was working long hours as a young doctor, she began studying Russian.  In 1974, when her children were in high school, she received her Masters from Boston College.  She went on to a distinguished career as a literary translator. Her many critically-acclaimed translations include Andrei Bitov's Pushkin House, Vladimir Voinovich's The Fur Hat, and Fazil Iskander's Sandro of Chegem. 

Throughout her life she was devoted to her extended family – caring for them in times of need, bringing them together in times of celebration, giving of her time and wisdom to support the important projects of their lives.  She played the piano well and gathered the family around her on holidays to sing carols and folk songs.   

Her own last life project, which she completed only weeks before cancer began to tighten its final grip, was a family history.  For several years she pored through genealogical records and available documents and produced a collection of narratives which deepened the family’s sense of connection to America's history and ideals. 

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

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