Susan Jayne Clayton

Susan Jayne Clayton

NORTH CANAAN — Susan Jayne (Fracaro) Clayton was a valiant warrior against breast cancer for close to forty years. However, rather than letting her cancer define her, she treated that challenge with respect. With all of her formidable 5’1” strength, she determined that it was to remain merely one aspect of her awe-inspiring life. While surrounded by her family at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Connecticut, she was finally blessed with a well-deserved rest on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Born on July 12, 1953, in Sharon, to John Fracaro and Margaret (Allyn) Fracaro, she knew how to make an entrance from the beginning, noting how her mother saw the taillights of Susie’s father’s car as she was born in a hospital hallway. Though she had a penchant for embellishment, such a story fit Susie’s personality. She was raised in North Canaan, coming of age at her father’s much-loved and well-patronized establishment, Johnny’s Restaurant, where she followed her older sisters’ tradition of waitressing.

After graduating from Housatonic Valley Regional High School in 1971, Susie attended Bay Path Junior College - now Bay Path University - in Longmeadow, Massachusetts where she earned an Associates Degree in Business Management in 1973. Post-graduation, she worked for many years at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington as an assistant office manager, and later, at other local businesses providing office administration services. Eventually, her career pivoted to sales & marketing, working at WQQQ (103.3 FM) in Lakeville, WHDD (91.9 FM) in Sharon, and Berkshire Style Magazine. The epitome of an extrovert, this career change was fitting as it allowed her to interact and create connections within the tri-state region.

Susie was admirably devoted to her community and had a deep love for North Canaan. Her tenure in public service began with her decades-long involvement with the North Canaan Democratic Town Committee. As the years progressed, she served multiple roles elsewhere, including North Canaan Probate Clerk, North Canaan School Board Vice Chair, and was a member of the Northwest Chamber Economic Development Board of Directors. Most notably, she was a Selectman on the North Canaan Board of Selectman for nearly fifteen years. Many of the accomplishments she was proud of included assisting with the implementation of the Downtown Streetscape Project and its construction of a new municipal parking lot, the implementation of the first phase of the Canaan Union Depot Project, and establishing a working relationship with the Housatonic Railroad Company with a dream to restore passenger rail service to the town. Never one to back down from opposition, she stood up for what she believed was right for North Canaan and its citizens. She will undoubtedly be remembered for the multiple contributions she made to her beloved hometown.

Her love for politics extended beyond the Northwest Corner, where she supported various progressive causes at regional and national levels. She had the distinct honor of being Senator Chris Murphy’s guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2015, as she was a vocal supporter of a platform he championed: the Affordable Care Act.

Susie had long provided support to others dealing with breast cancer, being well-versed after battling multiple recurrences since 1986. Susie was so proud to provide to many women in the Northwest Corner an empathetic ear and sound guidance, knowing firsthand how scary battling such a disease can be. She also was vocal in encouraging women to get their yearly mammograms.

She remained hopeful throughout her many treatments that her legacy would reverberate at a universal level. In 2022, she joined a national clinical trial to research patients diagnosed with Hormone Receptor Positive Her2 Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer. Though she knew she would pass on before the completion of this trial, Susie believed these data she provided would help produce better future outcomes for others. She was honored to be a participant.

Susie was an ardent music lover, a passionate Motown fan in particular. Always one to blast her favorite songs at full volume while driving, her Subaru housed various CDs from Al Jarreau to Norah Jones, from Stevie Wonder to Amy Winehouse. She was hooked on MSNBC, occasionally switching over to an escapist Hallmark Channel movie, an episode of “Jeopardy” to exercise her brain, or an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’’ for a chuckle to satisfy her often naughty sense of humor. She loved crossword puzzles and completing a few daily games of solitaire. Her collection of hats that she became known for could only be described as “Uniquely Susie”. Her love for UConn Huskies basketball and the New York Yankees ran deep; her appreciation for Giancarlo Staton’s physique ran even deeper. She also loved simply taking car rides and hikes with her husband to spot eagles and interpret intricate cloud patterns. Though she was brought up in a restaurant, she did not discover the true joy of cooking until she entered her 60s. That being said, she could whip up a plate of bacon & eggs like no other!

She is survived by J. Stewart Clayton of North Canaan, her unconditionally loving husband of 47 years & partner of 52 years, and her daughter Allison Clayton of New York, New York, the apple of her eye for 39 years. She was blessed to have four wonderful and supportive sisters, Margaret Fracaro of North Canaan & New York, New York, Jill (Fracaro) Hoben of Lakeville, Kim Fracaro-Hamilton of Rising Sun, Maryland, and Amy Fracaro-Choate of Burlington, Vermont. Throughout the country, Susie was supported by many connections with cousins, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and dear friends.

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be announced at a later date. Please follow www.mykeeper.com/SusanFracaroClayton for updates or reach out to sjc.celebration.of.life@gmail.com for more information.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Jane Lloyd Fund: Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, 800 N Main Street, Sheffield, MA 01257 - Please note “Jane Lloyd Fund” in your check’s memo line. You may also donate online at www.thejanelloydfund.org. This organization undoubtedly made the last few years of Susie’s life easier by helping cover her monthly financial obligations, allowing Susie and her family the time to enjoy the bright life she had remaining.

Long live the memory of Pocket Mom!

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