Suzanne Hevner died this past week and the world is poorer for it. For those of you who didn’t have the joy of knowing her, she was a member of one of the funniest comedy groups I was fortunate enough to see perform, the Heartless Floozies. For the record, none of the members, Mary Denmead, Lucy Avery Brook, Gail Dennison, Emmy Laynorne Podunovich, Cate Smit, and Sheila Head. They all are hilarious, brassy, and wonderful.
I do have to admit, it’s been a long time since I saw her last. Unfortunately, as we get older, it’s easy to lose touch with friends.
While I had the opportunity to play with Suzanne any number of times, the thing I’ll remember the most was not her talent, though she had that in spades. She had a quality that is often overlooked, especially nowadays.
Suzanne was kind.
It’s a simple thing. I’m not talking about nice. Nice has become a descriptor that means that a thing is inoffensive. Kindness is born of compassion. When I think of the times I spent with Suzanne, which now seem far too few, I remember her kindness. I’m bedeviled that I cannot recall one specific example. That speaks more to my own faulty memory than any failing on Suzanne’s part. But she was kind and it made spending time with her a joy.
Comedy can be a harsh business, both in the struggle and the execution. But Suzanne could play a delightfully mean character on stage but drop it immediately once the scene was over. Part of that is professionalism, but a larger portion of it was who she was.
If I wrote thousands of pages it would not do justice to her. This seems a pitiably minuscule tribute. I simply don’t have the right words to say, if there are right words.
In the end, just try to be like Suzanne, offer kindness when you can. It’s not always easy, but she made it look effortless.
Farewell, you heart-full floozie.