Cover photo for Susan Marie Anderson's Obituary
Susan Marie Anderson Profile Photo
1961 Susan 2024

Susan Marie Anderson

May 13, 1961 — January 20, 2024

Susan Marie Anderson died peacefully in her home on Bainbridge Island, Jan 20, 2024, after a long battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). She was 62 years old. Susan loved life and cherished her large extended family and many wonderful friends.

During her extraordinarily full and vibrant time on Earth Susan became an outstanding surfer, played first chair trumpet in her high school marching band, raced a souped-up Volkswagen Beetle in quarter mile drag races, worked one summer at Bainbridge Gardens (delightedly sharing her gardening expertise with customers), earned her scuba diving certification, survived a close encounter with a grizzly bear in Denali National Park, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and rose to the very highest ranks of food and tabletop photography. Shooting for clients such as Baskin Robbins, Eddie Bauer, and Starbucks, Susan created images for more than a dozen bestselling cookbooks and worked with a wide range of culinary stars including Julia Child. After leaving professional photography Susan worked as Design and Communications Lead at Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. Along the way she earned her personal training certification, became a popular personal trainer at Island Fitness, Bainbridge Island, and entered a bodybuilding contest, and won. The sign at the entrance to Island Fitness still includes a graphic of Susan doing a lunge.

A lifelong environmentalist, avid backpacker, and kayaker, Susan loved spending time in the wilderness with her husband of 36 years, Ken Bennett, and their son Eli, and the three enjoyed countless adventures together. Susan loved being a mom and helped raise Eli to be an accomplished and compassionate soul with a deep and abiding love for wild places and wild creatures. A foodie and gourmet chef, she also taught Eli how to cook and loved sharing her amazing meals with family and friends. Susan was overjoyed to welcome daughter-in-law MyKenzie into the family in 2019.

A lifelong and avid supporter of conservation-related causes, Susan volunteered at the Seattle Aquarium, earned her Marine Naturalist Certification at the Whale Museum on San Juan Island, worked one summer as a marine naturalist aboard Puget Sound Express whale watch boats out of Port Townsend, and channeled her remarkable design and photographic skill toward support of numerous Southern Resident Killer Whale conservation groups, including Wild Orca and Orca Salmon Alliance (OSA). Susan’s passion for orca whale protection intensified in 2005 after she learned of the SRKWs Endangered Species listing, and she devoted much of the rest of her life to focusing her prodigious talent on protecting the Salish Sea’s surviving Southern Resident Killer Whales.

As illness began to severely limit Susan’s activities and the pandemic arrived, she threw herself into learning watercolor painting (something she’d always wanted to do), achieving a remarkable level of proficiency. Her watercolor art has been proudly featured in a variety of Bainbridge Island Land Trust mailers, ads, and wildlife-themed greeting cards.

Susan is survived by her husband Ken Bennett, son Eli Bennett, brother Thomas Anderson, a large and loving extended family, and an astounding number of friends.

Anyone wishing to make a donation in Susan’s honor may visit Wild Orca. ( Such donations will be used for Orca Month school programs and activities.

Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Susan Marie Anderson, please visit our flower store.


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