Susanne Margaret Munsell (Danzo) (74) formerly of Lansing, MI
Susanne entered into eternal life on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020 after complications from heart surgery in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Born in Lansing, Michigan, on April 2, 1946 to John and Margaret Danzo, she was a 1964 graduate of JW Sexton High School. “Susy” as she was affectionately known, soon found her calling with people and the hospitality industry in the greater Lansing area — first as a bartender at the legendary Casa Nova and then at the Driftwood.
As her skills with bar and restaurant management progressed, she was ready to take on ownership, with the launch of a new bar and restaurant – aptly titled “Susy’s Someplace Else” in Portland Michigan. From 1974-1977, Susy’s rocked the downtown landscape in Portland with widespread success and a fast expansion.
Her next leap was into the fine dining world with the innovative and much touted Wharf Restaurant in Traverse City, Michigan. Soft lighting and a luxurious decor, the Wharf overlooked the majestic Grand Traverse Bay. People from around the state travelled to the Wharf for the opulent Friday night seafood events, live entertainment and one-of-a-kind Sunday brunches.
As the years marched on with long hours and limited days off, Susy returned with her family to the Lansing area and embarked on a new career direction with healthcare administration: First in the patient accounts department at Saint Lawrence Hospital, then management level with Health Central, and finally with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. During her tenure at Blue Cross, she negotiated healthcare contracts for the automotive industry in Detroit – often meeting with Ford Motor Co. executives and United Auto Workers representatives.
With her success at Blue Cross, Susy landed the prestigious position as Senior Vice President with Columbia HCA – traveling throughout Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and eventually settling in San Diego, California, and then Mission Viejo.
After her first open heart surgery sidelined her career in 2004, she retired to the Palm Springs area. Then, in 2012, she relocated to Southwest Florida to be closer to her family and spend her final years in the sunshine and warm weather – while actively traveling throughout the U.S. and one of her favorite places, the Florida Keys.
Susanne had so many incredible gifts, both professional and personal. She took several trips overseas throughout Europe and a solo adventure to Italy in 1998. She was a master chef, entertainer and storyteller. Her talents included learning early on how to play the accordion and organ – on what many would consider a professional level. For years she could still find the time to knit and crochet the most beautiful blankets and items for her cherished family. Every person that was fortunate enough to know her gained something from her. She always had a smile on her face and a place in her heart just for you; and anyone would be hard pressed to find anything to say about Susy that wasn’t followed up with pure affection and admiration.
She is survived by her loving husband of 33 years, Christopher Munsell; daughters Melissa Stadler Towns (Mike), Beth Sarver McElhaney (Scott); Cara Munsell Brooks (Joe), Jonathan Munsell (Anastasia); and seven amazing grandchildren. Sam, Connor, Nora, Joey, Charlotte, Emily and Liam; one brother John Danzo (Patti), brother-in-law Pete Munsell (Susan); mother-in-law Jacqueline Munsell; and nieces, nephews and many special cousins.
She was preceded in death by her beautiful daughter Erin Rosenau in June 2020, mother Margaret Danzo, father John Danzo and father-in-law William Munsell.
Arrangements are in the trusted care of Baldwin Brothers Fort Myers. Funeral services are Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 at 11:00 am, Anchor Christian Church, Bonita Springs Florida. A private interment will follow in Fort Myers Florida.