Lichtman: Detail-driven event planner
Charisma, positivity and a caring spirit marked Suzanne Lichtman’s years.
“She was a person who embraced everything about life,” said Joni Hubred-Golden, a longtime friend and colleague. “Whether it was traveling with her family or having good times or the challenges she had with her health ... she took everything for what it was and dealt with whatever she had to do.”
Mrs. Lichtman died Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, from complications of graft vs. host disease and leukemia. She was 50.
Born June 15, 1964, Suzanne Lynn Drury grew up in Royal Oak.
While attending Oakland University, she met Gary Lichtman. They wed in 1987.
The couple launched a firm, Lichtman & Associates PR & Event Planning.
A former project manager with AAA Michigan, Mrs. Lichtman also spent years as the director of marketing and special projects at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, her husband said.
“She was a great person to work for,” Hubred-Golden said. “She had a huge job to do and she did it well. She was very detail-oriented — always managed to keep all the balls spinning.”
Besides that role, Mrs. Lichtman was named the first executive director of what was then the Farmington/Farmington Hills Community Foundation and headed the Farmington Area Founders Festival, relatives said.
Outside work, she loved interior decorating, gardening and cooking.
“At every family gathering or even if it was something she wasn’t a part of, people requested her pineapple stuffing,” said her daughter, Natalie Lichtman. “She was a really good cook.”
Other pursuits included devoting time to her pets and coordinating unique celebrations for loved ones.
“She just had a beautiful heart,” Gary Lichtman said.
Despite her health challenges in recent years, Mrs. Lichtman focused on others. “She was always looking out for everyone else, even in the end,” said Terri Stearn, a longtime friend and former co-worker. “She was just a constant friend. She was always a thoughtful source of inspiration.”
That strength and tenacity inspired Abby Stybel, another colleague at the JCC, to run races and marathons in her honor — often with Mrs. Lichtman’s picture.
“Whenever I have a hard time running, or with anything, I remember how hard she fought to live,” Stybel said. “She just pushed through it all. She lived every day with humor and laughter, even in the hardest times. … She was just an amazing person.”
Other survivors include parents James and Darlene Drury; mother-in-law Sondra Lichtman; brother-in-law Randy Lichtman; nephews Leo and Edward Lichtman; and cousins.
The family is receiving guests from 1 p.m. Saturday until a 2 p.m. memorial Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church, 438 St. Antoine, Detroit.