1917 – 2014

SOUTH PARIS — Susan Clement Farrar, 96, of Bethel, died peacefully on Saturday, June 7, at Market Square Health Care Center.

She was born on Nov. 11, 1917, in Billerica, Mass., to Lithuanian immigrant parents Joseph and Emily Potsavitch Clement. At an early age, Susan and her family moved to Mexico. She attended grammar school and graduated in 1935 from Mexico High School. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the debate team.

Her first love, though, was dancing and at age 14, she began teaching at her home in Mexico. In June 1941, a group of 35 young businesspeople from the Rumford-Mexico area left Harpswell on a cabin cruiser, The Don. Everyone was lost that night in a still-unexplained tragedy known as the Don Disaster. Susan was supposed to be with them — the impact of that horrible loss forced her to move away from the area to New York City.

From 1941 to 1946, Susan shared an apartment in Manhattan with four roommates — all were hostesses on the train during World War II. Susan loved New York and spent many hours taking dance lessons from some of the world’s finest artists. In 1947, she was reunited with a young soldier from Boston, whom she had met as a teenager. Charles and Susan were married in New York City six weeks later.

The young couple moved west to Phoenix, Ariz., later that year, where Susan continued her love of dance and theater and opened the original Children’s Dance Theater. In 1959, they returned to Maine with their four young children.

Upon her return to Maine, Susan founded the Children’s Dance Theater of Bethel and within a few years, opened another studio in South Paris. The studio name was later changed to Spring Street Dance Studio.

She was active in The Bethel Players, a little theater group, and directed a number of performances. The living Nativity was a huge undertaking which brought together hundreds of people from surrounding communities and all denominations.

As a young child, Susan had always dreamed of writing books, “Samantha on Stage” and “Emily and her Cavalier” were both published and received numerous writing awards. She also wrote many articles for magazines, including “Crashing the Great Bolshoi” and “Where’s my Nana,” a tribute to her sister, Emily, and an eye-opening account of Alzheimer’s disease.

Susan loved to travel and was part of the first group of U.S. citizens to travel to China after its borders were opened in 1980. She and her favorite travel companion, her sister, Emily, also traveled to Russia, Lithuania, Egypt, Israel, Italy and Spain.

Susan always wanted to get her college degree and at age 81, was the oldest graduate of the University of Southern Maine, securing her Bachelor of Arts in theater arts.

She is survived by four children, Michelle Keyes, Douglas Farrar, Lisa Fox and Paul Farrar; eight grandchildren, Christopher Keyes, Emily Keyes and husband, Steve Zulkosky, Joel and Thomas Farrar, Naomi Fox Manjourides and her husband, Jason, Amos Fox, Anna Wolfolk and Ava Farrar; and six great-grandchildren, Caleb and Kyla Keyes, Eliza Keyes Zulkosky, Meile Fox and Madeline and Katherine Manjourides. She also leaves her sister-in-law, Norma Krajczar; and many nieces and nephews.

Susan was predeceased by her husband, Charles Farrar; her sister, Emily Saunders; a niece, Susan Saunders O’Donnell; and three nephews, Addison Saunders, Richard Saunders and Robert Krajczar.

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