In Memory of Susan Mast

How do you recall the essence of someone you have loved and lost?

One way to remember a person is to learn the names they were called. Over the course of her life, Susan Mast collected a wide range of titles such as executive director, nurse, wife, mother, grandmother, MSU spartan fan, and dog enthusiast.

Another perspective comes from examining how a loved one looks in photos. With her kind eyes and warm smile, Susan Mast appears every bit like the compassionate caregiver she was, a person who devoted herself to supporting others during their final days in hospice care. 

Perhaps my favorite way to get to know someone is through their words. The best inspirational quotes can help capture what a person is about deep in the core of their being.  

In Susan’s case, there is a saying from her native Hawaii that goes “ahuwale ka po’okela i kau hana ia ha’i.” In translation, this quote reads “it is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt.” 

On November 1, 2014, Susan passed away from ALS. To this day, we feel her greatness and strive to emulate Susan’s servant spirit.  

It is difficult to summarize Susan’s legacy in a few short words, but we can convey what she stood for. In her professional and personal life, Mast was present and caring toward the people in her life. She never stopped finding ways to make others feel valued. 

When Susan was diagnosed with ALS, her husband, Ross, sought to treat her with the same respect and dignity Susan showed her patients. Yet Ross found himself often feeling burned out and in need of a need. 

That’s where the Susan Mast ALS Foundation began. What started as a small respite service has expanded into a nonprofit organization that serves over 100 families. 

At the Susan Mast ALS Foundation, we only provide a glimpse into who Susan Mast was, but seek to emulate her example. We hope to honor Mast’s memory in the way we deliver our programs and interact with patients each and every day. 

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