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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Heavenly visions

From time to time, my Google alert brings me word of Janeites I’ll never get to meet--fellow travelers who have passed on, leaving behind loving relatives with fond memories of their Austen fandom.


And thus it is that I learned recently about one Susan Smarr, a retired teacher who died in Arizona last month, at the age of seventy-seven. “Susan was an avid reader and was rarely seen without a book in hand,” her online obituary says.


Which books she chose can be inferred from a touching reminiscence posted by her son-in-law, Adam Koeller. After recalling their twenty-six-year relationship and paying tribute to Smarr’s personal and professional qualities, he offers a wish for her afterlife.


“Rest in peace Susan,” Koeller writes. “I hope you are reading books, drinking tea, and discussing feminism with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Jane Austen for all eternity.”


And thus may it be with us all.


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