Suzanne Degen Tabasky, a survivor in life, entered into rest peacefully at home on August 6, 2020. She was 68.
Suzanne grew up in Malden, the daughter of Neicei and Jerry Degen. In her youth, she developed her lifelong love for animals, gardening, and music, once marching around town in a Beatles Forever sandwich board and performing with her dear high school friends in their band, The Gemini Players.
She attended UMass Boston and studied at the University of Tel Aviv, graduating with a degree in botany. Her studies deepened her love of all aspects of horticulture. Suzanne helped to develop new seed crops at the UMass experimental field station in Waltham, and enjoyed sharing her vast knowledge of plants, teaching proper planting and pruning techniques. She opened her own plant shop, Plantique, in Maplewood Square in Malden, where she sold rare and tropical houseplants and flowers, including her favorite, hoya plants.
It was at Plantique that she met her husband-to-be, Jerry, when her mother and future sister-in-law schemed to set them up. Jerry, sent in to buy an orange tree, was smitten. A couple of dates and a shared Blizzard of ’78 lock-in later, they married in 1979. Together they raised a family in Melrose and Islamorada, Fla., in the Florida Keys. Her pets were integral to her happiness, and lucky were the dogs and Siamese cats who found themselves part of her family.
Suzanne was a passionate Zionist and activist and facilitated Holocaust education and awareness. She was a participant in the Shoah Foundation’s recordings of survivor testimony.
She also enjoyed traveling around the country and the world. Along the road, she loved to stop at the local fishing holes, where she spent peaceful hours fishing for bass and trout. Always the avid cook, Suzanne could whip up delicious meals for four or forty. She never met a chocolate frappe she didn’t like.
Her spirit was fearless, and she was a hot ticket, seeking adventure and a bit of mischief in all she did. In living true to herself, she enabled others to do the same. Suzanne’s lust for life carried her through a labyrinth of health complications in her later years. Her wit and unexpected comments and quips regaled her family, friends, and wonderful doctors and care teams with laughter on many occasions. She will be remembered for her strength and perseverance, which knew no bounds.
Suzanne is survived by her mother Neicei Degen, her daughters Rebecca Tabasky and Ella Tabasky, Ella’s husband Josh Jackson, stepson Steve Tedrick and his wife Amy and their children Ethan and Ari, her brother Josh and his wife Amy Degen, and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Sam and Bunny Tabasky and Billy and Cynthia Tabasky. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Jerry.
She requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made in her memory to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or the National Kidney Foundation.
Many beautiful collections were assembled by Suzanne from flea markets and yard sales, including buddhas, blue ceramics, brass bowls, antique glass insulators, and loads of colorful ashtrays. She will have her ashes buried next to Jerry, and spread in her favorite lake in New Hampshire, into the ocean off of Lower Matecumbe in the Florida Keys, and in Israel.
See you later, SuSu. Next year in Jerusalem.