In the fall of 2006, Susan was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a rare and highly aggressive disease. On December 13, 2006, we at the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management lost a dear friend and a constant source of leadership when IBC took her life.
Susan started at CZM in 1994 as Ocean Policy Coordinator, marshalling an inter-agency effort to develop the state's first strategic plan for aquaculture, the managed cultivation of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. In 2000, with the support and gratitude of all of CZM, she selflessly stepped in to serve as Acting Director during a change of administration. She was later named Assistant Director, and ultimately Director in April 2005. As part of the CZM management team, Susan successfully headed up two top priorities for the Commonwealth, serving as staff lead for the Ocean Management Initiative and chairing the Coastal Hazards Commission.
Susan was known for her level-headed leadership, pragmatic decision making, and endless patience for coordination and cooperation—and she provided her staff with unfailing personal and professional support. She loved her work, feeling keenly connected with the coast and faithfully believing that CZM could make a real difference. She leaves behind her two children, Carley and Nicholas, and husband John.
Susan’s influence extended well beyond the borders of Massachusetts—she was national and even international expert in ocean management. Please take a moment to see how she is being remembered:
- Susan Snow-Cotter Receives Prestigious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lifetime Achievement Award
- Mural on Spectacle Island Dedicated to Susan
- The Final Report of the Coastal Hazards Commission (PDF, 721 KB) is dedicated to Susan, who served as Commission Chair
- CZ-Mail, 2006 Year in Review
- The Gulf of Maine Mapping Initiative’s Tribute to Susan (PDF, 56 KB)
- “The Loss of a Dear Friend and Colleague - Susan Snow-Cotter,” in The Coastal Society Bulletin
- The Gulf of Maine Times tribute to Susan
Susan was 45 and healthy when she was struck with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. In her memory, please take a moment to familiarize yourself and your loved ones with IBC and its symptoms, which are more similar to a skin infection than other forms of breast cancer.