By Kathleen Truelove
Susan Saunders is a woman of varied talents. She has been a magician's assistant, an amateur ballerina, and a social worker using American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with her clients.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, she moved to Rodgers Forge near Towson while in third grade. Thanks to the growth of that area at the time, she attended five different public schools while living in the same house. She graduated with a degree in psychology from Hiram College in Ohio, which she chose because the theater department staffed a showboat during the summer.
Returning to Baltimore, she met her husband, Larry, on a blind date. Larry was an electrical engineer and worked first at Bethlehem Steel. Later, after getting an MS in computer science, he worked at the Digital Corporation, then at the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, Susan got an MS in social work from U. of Pennsylvania, commuting from Baltimore to do so.
After the birth of her second son, Susan became a stay-at-home mom and decided to learn American Sign Language, which she then combined with her social work. She had studied ballet since childhood and decided to take it up again at age 50, but eventually badly dislocated her ankle, leading to a broken leg and the end of her dancing days. She is still friends with her "old lady ballerina" group.
Larry died suddenly in 2014, after 47 years of marriage. The couple lived almost that whole time in the north Baltimore neighborhood of Govans, where they raised two sons. Both sons are now married and still live in Maryland, one in White Hall and the other in Rodgers Forge. Susan has three grandchildren.