Monday, August 10, 2009

Suzi Wollenberg 1952-2009

It’s been a hard summer in the folk music world watching the likes of Jackie Washington, Sandy Paton and Mike Seeger pass away. Jackie and Sandy were elderly and in poor health, and Mike had decided to stop treatment for the aggressive cancer he'd been battling, so all three deaths, sad though they were, were not unexpected.

The sudden death, though, of Suzi Wollenberg, folk radio host at WVUD in Newark, Delaware, and organizer of the Green Willow Folk Club, on Saturday, from a pulmonary embolism, shocked and deeply saddened all of us who knew her.

Suzi, just 56 years old, was a wonderful person. An open and friendly woman motivated by the great joy she found in folk music and in the people who made and loved the music.

Mostly, I knew Suzi as an online colleague on the FolkDJ-L discussion group since back in 1990s. I was one of the four FolkDJ-L list moms for several years and when I stepped down a couple of years ago, Suzi stepped up and took my place.

The times I got to hang out with her – mostly at Folk Alliance conferences – were always a lot of fun. The last Folk Alliance conference I went to was Montreal in 2005 and I have a vivid memory of hanging out with Suzi and having a great time at a late-night Uncle Earl showcase.

My thoughts are with Suzi’s husband, John Lupton, also a friend and long-time colleague in folk radio and at Sing Out! Magazine, at this terribly sad time.

--Mike Regenstreif

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