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A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Letting Go Slowly

When you fall in love with community-mates, over time and through all kinds of circumstances, you develop a relationship very much like family. When they leave or die, it’s an amazing loss and also a treasure trove of meaningful connection and nourishing memory. We can’t say enough about them, but we try….

Susan (Suchi) Lathrop lived and created sacred space at Earthaven for fourteen years, and was stricken with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a disabling encroachment on natural body movement, not long after her best friend, Kimchi Rylander, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It’s hard for us to accept and yet when it faces you square on, it challenges us to rise to the situation and lift things to their highest level. And rise we did, with Kimchi (who died in February) and again with Suchi.

Both women wanted to live their final days in the community they loved and so a large contingent of Earthaven members came together to do whatever was necessary to see these beloved women through their end-of-life transitions.

right: Suchi & Kimchi greet firefighters last year.


The following obituary is about Suchi’s life within and beyond Earthaven.


Susan (aka Suchi) Lathrop passed away in peace at home in Earthaven Ecovillage on May 17, surrounded by beloved friends. She had been suffering with a quickly declining condition of ALS. A wake and funeral were also held at Earthaven.

Suchi was a beloved leader in her community, not just at Earthaven, but in and around Asheville. She was outspoken and generous, and was the innovator of many community functions that have since become Earthaven traditions, including the weekly Coffee & Trade event on Tuesday mornings. Her guidance and determination made a huge difference! She was the Earthaven Firekeeper (like a President, only more so), and had a voice in many key committees over the years.

right: Suchi at the Trading Post.

As a core member of the Hut Hamlet neighborhood, Suchi co-owned the Tribal Condo with her beloved friend, Kimchi Rylander, for over a decade. She was an ardent gardener and filled her greenhouse with food all year round.

Suchi grew up in upstate New York, focusing her academic studies in psychology and library science. She has been a dedicated supporter of the Palestinian cause in Israel, and a leading member of the local Friends group in bringing attention to the issues. She was also Clerk of the Black Mountain Friends Meeting for several years.

Suchi’s hope is that people who want to honor her life donate a day or two of volunteer support to local non-profits in her name and the name of her community, Earthaven.

Kimchi, obituary, Suchi, Tribal Condo

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