In Memory of Suzy Brenninkmeyer

(SEPTEMBER 11, 1944 — JULY 1, 2023)

Gifts will be directed to MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions

With gratefulness for a life well lived, we announce the peaceful passing of Susan Sweetser Brenninkmeyer on July 1, 2023; surrounded by her loving family after a brief illness.

Suzy is survived by her three daughters, Julie Brenninkmeyer of Durango, CO (husband John Hartley), Elise Brenninkmeyer of Denver, CO and Laura Nielsen of Boston, MA (husband Tait Nielsen); three grandchildren, Betty Claire Hartley, Koen Cornelius Nielsen and Wilhelmina Elizabeth Nielsen; siblings Peter, Sally, Michael and Faith, and many in-laws, outlaws, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her son Cornelius, husband Hans, and siblings Mary Christine and Timothy.

A proud dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Suzy was a prominent member of Toronto ON, South Dartmouth MA, and Del Ray FL. She was born in Philadelphia to Dr. Peter and Ruth Sweetser, the eldest of seven children. She attended Country Day of the Sacred Heart in Newton, MA and received a Bachelor of Arts from Manhattanville in Purchase NY. While working in NY as an Art Researcher for Readers Digest, she reluctantly attended a beer soaked Rugby party and met a charming Dutchman named Hans. When Hans overheard her reciting Shakespeare, he cited the quotation from Julius Caesar and thus began a lifelong tête-à-tête. Suzy and Hans were married in 1975 and were looking forward to celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary before Hans’ death in 2019.

Suzy was passionate about engaging in her community with a strong belief in philanthropy and community service. She and Hans enjoyed supporting arts and cultural institutions, and Suzy served on many boards. She was particularly active with St Michael’s Hospital, playing a pivotal role with the Women’s Health Center and the Center for Urban Health Solutions. After the loss of her beloved husband she found renewed purpose with the Toronto Symphony and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

With her innate capacity for connection she forged strong friendships, and filled her calendar with engagements, lectures and activities at numerous social clubs. Bridge tournaments resulted in many first place finishes, various disputed schemes with her favorite partner Hans, and delightful strategy discussions with friends. Never shy to take on a new activity, she recently took on croquet and basket weaving.

Suzy was happiest on the move, planning the next incredible excursion in between gatherings, galas and performances. She traveled extensively and celebrated setting foot on all seven continents with a champagne toast in Antarctica. Even when relaxing on the beaches of Buzzards Bay, her hands were busy with needlepoint and her wit was quick with a well timed observation to delight those in her company.

Adored by her grandchildren as Mambo, Suzy spearheaded worldwide adventures for her family that instilled an appetite for shared adventure. She passed on a love of skiing that will continue to bring the family together to create memories, and was thrilled to see the third generation of sailors follow in her wake at the New Bedford Yacht Club.

Memorial Service for Susan Sweetser Brenninkmeyer will be held on Thursday, July 6, 2023 at 10am in St. Mary’s Church, 795 Dartmouth St., South Dartmouth, MA. For directions or to place an online tribute, please visit: The family also anticipates a fall memorial in Toronto, Ont.

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." - Mae West