Susan Shelby (Patterson) Harding

  • Born: July 13, 1942
  • Died: October 27, 2020
  • Location: Lincoln, Massachusetts

Concord Funeral Home

Director - Glenn D. Burlamachi, CFSP
74 Belknap St.
Concord, MA 01742
Tel. (978) 369-3388

Tribute & Message From The Family

Susan Shelby (Patterson) Harding age 78 and resident of Lincoln, died peacefully at home from metastatic brain cancer. She was born July 13, 1942 in Louisville, KY, the daughter of George C. and Kitty Park Patterson. She graduated from the Louisville Collegiate School in 1960 and from Radcliffe College in 1964 as a Phi Beta Kappa Art History major.

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Douglas Burnham Harding and her two children, Susan Allen and her husband Woody of Knoxville, TN and Douglas Harding, Jr. and his wife Kathleen of Great Falls, VA. She was proud of her three grandsons – Alexander, William and Parker. Prior to raising her family Susan worked as a system programmer at the New England Telephone Company.

Many words are needed to describe the full "sum and substance" of Susan. Loving, committed, curious, elegant, inclusive, and a doer to name a few. Her interests were many including music, art, dance, theater, reading and travel.

Active in Town affairs, she served as President of the local league of Women Voters for many years and various town committees and boards including the Recreation Committee, Town Archives, and the Cemetery Commission.

Susan remained active in alumnae affairs after graduation through the Radcliffe College Alumni Association. She chaired Alumnae Councils, and various committees. She was active in class activities and Co-Chaired her 50th reunion. She was also a member of the "Happy Committee" which helps maintain discipline and decorum for the Celebration of Harvard Commencement each year. She also served as President of the Harvard Club in Concord for many years.

She was an avid gardener and horticulturist. She was an active member of many groups including the Native Plant Trust, The Lincoln Garden Club, and served as President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Rhododendron Society.

She enjoyed history and genealogy as an active member of "The Order of the First Families of Virginia" and "The National Society of Colonial Dames in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". She also served as Director of "Stratford Hall" in Virginia and President of the Margaret Coffin Prayer Book Society in Boston.

Susan's interests in history and education intersected nicely with her love of travel. Susan and her husband enjoyed many trips to Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, often connecting with former Harvard students they had hosted for over thirty years through the Harvard International Student Office.

Susan will be remembered and missed by her family and many friends and organizations.

Her burial will be private as she wished.

Memorial contributions in her name may be made to:

National Society of Colonial Dames in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
55 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Native Plant Trust
180 Hemenway Road
Framingham, MA 01701

Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Doug,

I was very sorry to hear about Susan’s passing and offer you my condolences. We met several times briefly, and it was so nice to hear more about her in the obituary, which was a wonderful tribute to her, and by implication, says quite a bit about you both as a couple!

All best,

Paul Gross

Posted by Paul Gross - Newton, MA - coworker   November 24, 2020

To the Harding family,

Although I only knew Susan for a short period of time when she was on the Board of Directors of Stratford Hall, it was immediately clear to me that she was a force and would be make significant contributions to the Board. I know this is a difficult time for you, but you can be so proud of the legacy she left for her children and grandchildren. Stratford Hall will welcome future visits from members of her family. Just let us know you are coming.

Ginger Collier
Director, Maryland Eastern Shore - Stratford Hall and Member, National Society of Colonial Dames MD-Eastern Shore.

Posted by Virginia Collier - Wickenburg, AZ - Friend   November 09, 2020

Dear Doug,
Gail and I are very sad to read the notice in the Boston Globe on 11/5/2020. We did not know Susan well, but fondly remember the Kentucky Derby party at your home In Lincoln, to which you kindly invited us. I thought the notice in the Globe was extremely thoughtful and I suspect I see your sure hand in the composition. Thank you for providing sufficient detail to fill in our appreciation of Susan and your life together.
I also want to thank you personally for our friendship at Lahey. You were always kind and considerate and thoughtful. I hope that you will be helped in your sorrow by the wonderful memories you have of a remarkable lady.

Posted by Joseph Bowlds, MD - Peabody, MA - Coworker   November 06, 2020

I was both stunned and saddened to read of Susan's death. Her vibrant mind and personality, together with her total engagement in her varied interests, will be missed. My sympathy to Doug and family.

Posted by Joan Burns - Stow, MA - Friend   November 06, 2020

I am so sorry to hear about the families loss of one of their loved one.May the families hearts ♥ be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times the family shared together with the dear loved one lost in death.As the family cherished a wonderful life that was well lived and loved by families and friends.My deepest sympathy and condolences goes out to the families and friends during this difficult time of grief and pain.

Posted by A friend   November 03, 2020

To Susan’s family:
The Holbertons send our deepest sympathy to all the Hardings and a special hug to Sue. We are thankful for the news from St. Anne’s, that traveled to us in NH, so that we could send you our condolences.
With our thoughts to you all in this difficult time,
Anne, Phil and Tod

Posted by Anne - Friend   November 02, 2020


Doug, We are so sad to hear the news of Susan! Our hearts and prayers go out to you, Suzie and Dougie during this time of deep grief. Susan was such an inspiration to our family. Frances and Jordan will certainly have their thoughts and prayers coming your way also. Remembering all the times of laughter, joy and fellowship we enjoyed with you and your family as next door neighbors on Longmeadow Road, makes us smile and send lots of love your way. May you have the peace in your heart that Susan must be enjoying now with God. Elizabeth and Sandy Creighton

Posted by Elizabeth and Sandy Creighton - Lincoln, MA - Neighbor   November 01, 2020

Sorry for your loss. My sympathies and condolences.

Posted by John Rosenberger - Springfield, VA   November 01, 2020

Susan knew so much about plants, and loved to share her knowledge. I will remember her for the Harding's Rhododendron collection and her good company (with Doug) at any good plant conservation lecture or garden tour. She has made me a better plant caregiver.

Posted by Janet Ganson - Lincoln, MA - Friend   October 31, 2020

We will miss Susan so much. She was such a wonderful person to be around, for her kind smile and great conversations. We all thank her for the many invaluable services she rendered to the town of Lincoln, and to the beauty she created for the world.

Posted by DANIELA CARIDE - Groton, MA - Friend   October 31, 2020

We are saddened by the news of Sue's death and offer our deepest condolences to her husband Doug and children. We will remember Sue as an amazing gardener and will always be grateful for the experience and knowledge of the practice of gardening that she shared with us.
Gabrielle Brenninkmeyer and Graham Atkin
Amsterdam Netherlands

Posted by Gabrielle Brenninkmeyer - Amsterdam - Friend   October 31, 2020

This is such a loss-for her family and friends, but also the entire Lincoln community. Susan was the consumate volunteer who wore so many hats in our town, over the years. She left Lincoln a better place.

Posted by Sara Mattes - Lincoln, MA - Friend   October 30, 2020

Sorry for your loss. Condolences toyou and your family!

Posted by Jackie and John Snelingy - Concord, MA - Friend   October 29, 2020

Family Album