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Susan Jane Conrad
February 5, 2024
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Susan Jane Conrad formerly of Leak Run Pa died early this Monday morning at the age of 82.
In ill health for some years, she passed away quietly in her sleep.
Susan was the granddaughter of Frank Conrad the eminent Westinghouse engineer whose experiments in radio technology led to the creation of KDKA and to the success of commercial radio in general.
Her parents Crawford Joseph Conrad and Frances Watson raised her and her three brothers Harry, James and David on a secluded property in the woods nearby what is now the Sri Venkateswara temple in Penn Hills. She had fond memories of sneaking into and playing in the construction site that became the parkway East.
Susie as we called her, was a unique empath who adored all and any animals. There wasn’t a moody cat or growling dog who didn’t melt calmly into her lap, allowing itself to be brushed or petted into contentment.
All of her nephews and nieces were “lambs” or “little lambs” unless we misbehaved and then we briefly became “bad kitties” until she forgot the transgression.
“Oh Goody!!” was her favorite expression. A trip to the ice cream store, a preferred hymn, an extra ration of her beloved foodstuff - ketchup- all were greeted the with the same fervor.
Susie loved the Pgh newscasters of the 70s - Paul Long, Adam Lynch and Joe DeNardo, speaking their names like they were music hall stars from her youth.
She loved the piano and could play a variety of works by ear.
But she was also mentally disabled, and lived most of her teenage and adult life in capable professional care.
But the day came when her devoted sister-in-law, Margaret, demanded she be allowed to live in Pittsburgh and thus Susan left the Martha Lloyd school in Troy Pa and returned home.
For the rest for her days she lived independently, holding down small jobs, practicing her music and caring for herself and for a long line of felines lucky enough to take up residence.
We, the Conrads, didn’t deserve her.
She was always excited to speak to us, see us, spend the holidays with us, immediately forgetting the many months when none of us had visited or spoken so much as a word to her.
God appoints us his holy children. The innocents we live among - and though sometimes they appear to us as unfortunate, or sometimes walk among the least of us, we ignore them at our peril.
There’s an Irish saying “the last of the name.” Susan was the last of the Conrads, of Frank’s line, to still live in Pittsburgh, the place her Irish and Scots-Irish forebearers chose as a home in the new world. In the Bay Area, in DC, in Seattle, New York, London and Albuquerque, Frank’s descendants lumber on. In Pittsburgh, no longer.
Susan was a blessing to our clan. Day after day, Christmas after Christmas, rare phone call after even rarer visit, she forgave us our busy lives.
She is survived by her brother David of Sacramento, her nephews Jamie, Douglas, Blair, Frank, and David and her niece Katy.
And a small army of grandnephews and nieces.
No Visitation, Service and Interment to be held privately by the family.