Susan McKeough Bacon passed away peacefully from cholangiocarcinoma on November 15, 2021 at the age of 68. She was comforted and supported by many family and friends throughout her diagnosis and especially during her last week on home hospice. Susan was a beloved mother, Gaga, sister, daughter, aunt, and friend.
Susan was born March 3, 1953 in Albany, New York to Bill and Diana McKeough. Growing up, Susan was known for her rebellious, magnetic, and charismatic personality. Even in her last days she loved to tell everyone stories of hanging out on the railroad tracks in Delmar as a teenager, getting kicked out of mass at Holy Names for her bad singing, sneaking sacramental wine from the clergy quarters at St. Thomas, to meeting Janis Joplin in a bathroom stall. She was always known for being the life of the party and you were guaranteed to get into some fun trouble if you were lucky enough to be with her.
Susan decided to get a little more serious when she graduated high school and attended Russell Sage College, majoring in education. (She did however work on the side as a clown at children’s birthday parties so not too serious). From there she made a career change and became a microbiologist at Albany Medical Center where she made many lifelong friends. Even to this day she loved to tell stories of her time spent in the lab; and throughout her diagnosis would enjoy impressing her many doctors with her knowledge of microbiology.
Susan left Albany Medical Center to move to Texas where she married Rich Bacon. From there, they moved to Minneapolis where she gave birth to her oldest daughter Danielle. Rich’s job at GE kept them moving and shortly after they packed up again and headed to the Berkshires where their youngest daughter Rachael was born. Living back in the Northeast brought Susan closer to her family. Summers were spent on Cape Cod with her sister Ann and all the kids as well as on Lake George. They moved back to Minnesota and then to Kansas City before coming back to the Slingerlands area in 2005.
With the constant moving around the country, Susan was the rock of the family and created a nurturing, loving home for her children. She was extremely proud of her job as a mother and did a wonderful job raising Danielle and Rachael. Susan sacrificed so much to give her children the best lives possible.
After moving back to her hometown, she was thrilled to have all her childhood friends and family next door. Happy times were spent laughing on the front porch, “exercising” in the basement, “reading” at book club, and just enjoying life with those she loved. She began volunteering at Ronald McDonald House, Hospice, and the Dental Care Mobile that provided dental care for young children. Her volunteer work for the Senior Services Department at the Town of Bethlehem turned into a full time position where she coordinated services for elderly community members. She loved the close relationships she formed with volunteers and seniors in the area. Her main goal in her work and life was to always be helping other people in any way that she could.
For those who knew her, her greatest accomplishment of all was becoming the world’s best Gaga to her two grandchildren Aster (2 ½ yrs) and Arthur (7 mo). Being the proud Gaga that she was, she was always showing off photos of the two of them to anyone and everyone. She enjoyed spending every moment possible with them and considered them to be her own children. Her life revolved around making sure they were happy. Even in her last days, she was most concerned with leaving them behind and ensuring we would continue to spoil them rotten. Her legacy will live on through her grandchildren and we will always share fond memories of their time together.
On August 10, 2020, our lives changed when Susan received her diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma. She underwent multiple treatments with a brave smile, determination, and resilience. She never once complained. Even towards the last few months of her life with frequent hospitalizations and complications, she never once wanted to stop. She did whatever she could so that she could be here for her children and grandchildren. Her upbeat and positive attitude throughout her illness was one that many would not be able to uphold. When Susan volunteered for hospice, part of her training in 2011 was to write about how she wanted to die. Even 10 years ago before she knew of her diagnosis or her future grandchildren she wrote “I will go kicking and screaming until I no longer can. I will be with hospice and will feel very safe, but it will still not be my time. I don’t want to quit, I’ll be nervous about my daughters and the grandkids. I hope they understand I will always be with them.” Susan always put everyone else first before herself and was unsurpassed in her role as caretaker of our family.
Even in her death, Susan still hasn’t “quit”. In her true altruistic nature, she donated her body to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for research to help design new drugs and treatment for the incurable and highly aggressive cholangiocarcinoma. She decided to donate her body so that no one else would have to endure what she did and to hopefully help find a cure for this terrible disease.
Susan is survived her husband Richard Bacon; daughters Danielle Hadfield (Gary) and Rachael Bacon; grandchildren Aster and Arthur; dog Chip; mother Diana McKeough; siblings Ann Brewster and Pat McKeough,; sister-in-law Kathi McKeough; nieces Colleen Brewster, Lauren McKeough, and Leslie Bacon; nephews Kevin McKeough, David Brewster (Laura), and Danny Brewster; brother-in-law John Bacon (Fran); many cousins; and innumerable friends. She is predeceased by her father Bill McKeough; brother-in-law Peter Brewster; and Jeff May, a fellow cholangiocarcinoma friend who was there with her every step of the way.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Friday, November 19 from 4 to 7 pm at Applebee Funeral Home, 403 Kenwood Ave., Delmar. A funeral mass will be celebrated 10 am Saturday, November 20 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 35 Adams Pl., Delmar. Masks are required for the wake and funeral.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you please donate to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation in memory of Susan Bacon to help raise money for research and awareness for this rare cancer and steal a small spoon from your favorite local restaurant to help Susan’s spirit live on (https://cholangiocarcinoma.org/donate/).