Obituary: Suzanne K. Wedel

Dr. Suzanne K. Wedel, 60, of Marblehead, Mass., passed away on the morning of Wednesday, March 30, 2016 after a courageous three-year fight with ovarian cancer.b185d83f-2af4-43a8-8947-9e223104c772

Born in North Newton, she was the eldest daughter of Arnold and Dolores Wedel. Suzanne was raised in her beloved Kansas, attended Newton High School and graduated from Bethel College. She graduated from medical school at The University of Kansas School of Medicine and continued as a resident in the Internal Medicine Program. She then moved to Baltimore, to perform a critical-care fellowship at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS), known to the world as “Shock Trauma, Baltimore”?one of the world’s premier trauma units. Shortly after completing her fellowship, she moved to Boston with her husband, Alasdair Conn, a trauma surgeon she met in Baltimore. Wedel worked at Boston City Hospital and Boston University Hospital before assuming the role of CEO and medical director of Boston MedFlight, a position she indicated she would fulfill for only one year, but stayed on for the following 26 years. Under her tutelage and guidance, MedFlight became one of the premier life-flight programs in the country and grew from one helicopter to four, with an expansion into critical-care ground transport and long-distance transfers by dedicated medically configured airplanes that transport more than 3,500 patients a year. Wedel was a decisive leader, patient advocate, and yet remained the kind of doctor you would want to care for members of your family.
Despite all of her professional accomplishments, Suzanne will be most remembered for her ability to touch and transform the lives of others. She participated in the community through her Old North Church in Marblehead, Mass., and was involved with the activities of her children, all of whom graduated from Tower School and Marblehead High School. She was an accomplished pianist, loved classical music and opera. An avid sports fan, Suzanne was regularly seen donning the colors of her favored KU Jayhawks. She enjoyed bicycle trips in Europe with her husband and friends, as well as local get-togethers with her book club. Her compassion, thoughtfulness and ability to be there for others in both good times and bad will always be treasured by those who knew her.
Following Suzanne’s diagnosis in late 2012, she used her tenacity and leadership to become an outspoken advocate for awareness and early detection of ovarian cancer. She passionately spearheaded a series of fundraising events, most notably the Suzanne Wedel XOXOut Ovarian Cancer fund, which takes its name from the “xoxo” she added while signing personal letters and email.

She is survived by her parents Arnold and Dolores Wedel of North Newton; her sister Janine Wedel of Washington, D.C.,; brother Edward Wedel of Jefferson City, Mo.; husband Alasdair Conn of Marblehead; and children Kathryn, Christopher and Alexander together with Kathryn’s fianc? Arun Nair of Baltimore.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 30, at the Old North Church, 35 Washington St., in Marblehead. To reflect Suzanne’s wish that the service be a celebration of her life, we encourage attendees to wear spring colors to the event. In lieu of flowers, Suzanne requested expressions of sympathy be made to the Suzanne Wedel XOXOut Ovarian Cancer Fund at Massachusetts General Hospital or to Boston MedFlight at? by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead.

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