Cover photo for Susan Shelby (Patterson) Harding's Obituary
Susan Shelby (Patterson) Harding Profile Photo
1942 Susan 2020

Susan Shelby (Patterson) Harding

July 13, 1942 — October 27, 2020

Susan Shelby (Patterson) Harding age 78 and resident of Lincoln, died peacefully at home from metastatic brain cancer. She was born July 13, 1942 in Louisville, KY, the daughter of George C. and Kitty Park Patterson. She graduated from the Louisville Collegiate School in 1960 and from Radcliffe College in 1964 as a Phi Beta Kappa Art History major.

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Douglas Burnham Harding and her two children, Susan Allen and her husband Woody of Knoxville, TN and Douglas Harding, Jr. and his wife Kathleen of Great Falls, VA. She was proud of her three grandsons – Alexander, William and Parker. Prior to raising her family Susan worked as a system programmer at the New England Telephone Company.

Many words are needed to describe the full "sum and substance" of Susan. Loving, committed, curious, elegant, inclusive, and a doer to name a few. Her interests were many including music, art, dance, theater, reading and travel.

Active in Town affairs, she served as President of the local league of Women Voters for many years and various town committees and boards including the Recreation Committee, Town Archives, and the Cemetery Commission.

Susan remained active in alumnae affairs after graduation through the Radcliffe College Alumni Association. She chaired Alumnae Councils, and various committees. She was active in class activities and Co-Chaired her 50th reunion. She was also a member of the "Happy Committee" which helps maintain discipline and decorum for the Celebration of Harvard Commencement each year. She also served as President of the Harvard Club in Concord for many years.

She was an avid gardener and horticulturist. She was an active member of many groups including the Native Plant Trust, The Lincoln Garden Club, and served as President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Rhododendron Society.

She enjoyed history and genealogy as an active member of "The Order of the First Families of Virginia" and "The National Society of Colonial Dames in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". She also served as Director of "Stratford Hall" in Virginia and President of the Margaret Coffin Prayer Book Society in Boston.

Susan's interests in history and education intersected nicely with her love of travel. Susan and her husband enjoyed many trips to Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, often connecting with former Harvard students they had hosted for over thirty years through the Harvard International Student Office.

Susan will be remembered and missed by her family and many friends and organizations.

Her burial will be private as she wished.

Memorial contributions in her name may be made to:

National Society of Colonial Dames in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
55 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Native Plant Trust
180 Hemenway Road
Framingham, MA 01701


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