Susan Thorsteinson

Susan Laury (McNicoll) Thorsteinson

February 16, 1953 – August 16, 2021

Susan Laury McNicoll was born on February 16, 1953, and was raised in Laurelhurst, Seattle. She often reminisced about her childhood sailing lessons, spending time with her two younger brothers Andy and Mike, performing in high school musicals and participating in activities at the University Congregational Church. Susan grew up boating in Puget Sound with her family and enjoyed exploring the San Juan Islands, fishing, picnics, and beachcombing.  After graduating from Roosevelt High School, a trip to Europe ignited a lifelong interest in travel. Her travels were often based on her love for art, history and geography, and the Renaissance Period. She was able to visit Italy on several occasions and especially loved Rome, Venice, and Florence.

Susan graduated from Washington State University (WSU) in 1975 and was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority.  She met her husband Lyman Thorsteinson during their senior year at WSU and moved to Juneau after their graduation. They married in 1977. Susan obtained a Master of Librarianship from the University of Washington in 1981 and returned to Juneau to start a family, welcoming two daughters in 1982 and 1984. In Juneau, Susan honed her sport fishing skills, and was memorably thrilled with a huge king crab she captured by hook and line in Hawk Inlet.

The family moved to Anchorage in 1984, where Susan focused on spending time raising her two girls with the help of her beloved golden retriever, Skye. Susan was a talented artist and seamstress, with interests including designing stuffed animals, restoring antique dolls, creating unique jewelry, and knitting Cowichan sweaters. She loved music, refining her piano playing as her children learned and she always encouraged them in their creative pursuits. Susan had eclectic tastes, ranging from classical music to new wave and alternative rock bands. She played piano, recorder, harp and loved to sing, highlighted by her achievement in the choir school of her church.

When her children were in school, Susan returned to work as a reference librarian in Anchorage and was later employed at the Kitsap Regional Library after the family moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1996. Susan was well-read and loved working with children and young adults. She kept up with the trends (enjoying Harry Potter and The Hunger Games) but was always ready with classic recommendations, her favorites including Alexander Dumas and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She loved children’s illustrations, her favorite artist being Kaj Nielsen.

On Bainbridge Island, Susan founded a recorder group that performed medieval recorder music at local venues. She expanded her interest in rewiring vintage lamps to become an avid antique collector, always on the hunt for unique treasures, especially vintage dolls. She decorated her home with many of her finds and enjoyed spending time there with her wild Siamese cat Yoda. Susan loved her family and being a part of her children’s lives, taking them to Europe after they graduated from college to share the experience of travel she loved so much. She stayed involved in their activities and was proud of their accomplishments.

In 2012, Susan and Lyman returned to Juneau where she enjoyed family life, salmon fishing, wildlife viewing, and the great outdoors. Susan was a member of the Pioneers of Alaska and belonged to Women’s Igloo 6.

Susan was preceded in death by her parents Alastair and Barbara McNicoll.  She is survived by her husband Lyman, daughters Cameron Laury (husband Jon Feinstein) and Anne Kaye (Max Schlereth), granddaughter Thora Laury Feinstein, and brothers Andrew and Michael McNicoll.

Susan passed away peacefully at her home in Auke Bay on August 16, 2021, with her loving husband by her side. Her gentle and creative soul will be dearly missed by her family and friends. A private family service is planned.

The dawn that was dark is light

The road that was blocked has no end

The unknown journey is known”

(James Robertson)