Susan Carmela “Suzie” Sheary sadly passed away at the age of 74 this week. Throughout her life, Suzie was an activist, leader, and role model. Raised in Raymond, Washington, she grew up in a strongly Democratic household and counted herself a Democrat all her life. She first became a volunteer in the 1960 Presidential Election, 8 years before she could even cast her first vote. Living in South King County, she served in every conceivable leadership position in the 33rd and 11th LD Democrats, including stints as chair of those organizations. From 2002-2004, she was secretary of the King County Democrats, and in 2004 she set her sights on becoming chair. She assembled an accomplished and talented team of people who assumed the leadership of the King County Democrats in 2004 and would help Suzie lead the organization through the end of her third term in 2010.
In her years as a leader in the Democratic Party, Suzie always tried to make the work of being a Democrat and an organizer fun for those involved. When she was still in the 33rd LD, she became a delegate to the National Convention and brought back souvenirs that she distributed to members. She planned successful fundraisers, put together engaging community events, wrote and led her famous training courses, and organized her fair share of protests against the Bush Administration. One of her accomplishments was ensuring that the instructions for having caucuses were clear and made sense – before her, the instructions were often confusing to local precinct captains. During her time as chair, the King County Democrats rose to the occasion. Suzie was never afraid to challenge received wisdom and the normal way of doing business, and in so doing left in her wake stronger and better organizations than she found.
Suzie worked for Boeing for over 36 years, spending nearly half her time there in computing management. She left Boeing in 2001, but she never truly seemed to retire, however, as she continued her volunteer work in the Party, worked briefly in property management, and even set up Suzie’s Shelf consulting firm.
As a lifelong volunteer and activist, as chair of the 33rd and 11th LDs, as chair of the King County Democrats from 2004-2010, as friend to all who knew her – Suzie will be sorely missed by all those who have come across and been impacted by the Democratic Party in our region.