Susan M. Seidman, Prolific Writer

Sept. 27, 1928-May 26, 2015

Susan M. Seidman, a freelance journalist and frequent contributor to The East Hampton Star, died on May 26 at Stony Brook University Hospital. She had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for many years, having been first diagnosed with emphysema in 1974 after smoking for 26 years. She was 86.

As a writer, her favorite topic was companion animals, “followed by gardening, travel, and social commentary,” she wrote last year in a brief biography that she intended as the outline for her obituary. Her writing appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, and she had published two books, “The Pet Surplus: What Every Dog and Cat Owner Can Do to Help Reduce It” in 2001 and “Cat Companions: A Memoir of Loving and Caring” in 2011.

After graduating cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1950 with a degree in history, Ms. Seidman moved to Paris. She lived there for seven years, traveling around Europe while working for the Marshall Plan and successive economic aid agencies of the United States government. She moved back to the states in 1957 and settled for the next 20 years in New York City, where she worked as a promotion director for Realites in America, a direct-mail copywriter for the American Heritage Publishing Company, and a senior editor and staff writer for the Foreign Policy Association.

In 1961 she became a regular summer weekender in East Hampton. She purchased her  house on Cedar Street after renting for 11 years. She quit her city job to become a year-round resident in May of 1977. In East Hampton, she started an advertising and publicity service for local businesses, but after the mid-1980s worked primarily as a freelance writer.

Ms. Seidman wrote for The Star about gardening, pets, quitting smoking, traveling to Cuba, and losing an eye not long after her 51st birthday. “Losing one eye isn’t a handicap in itself,” she wrote. “The hard part, I found, is living with the prospect of losing both.” However, encouraged by her doctors to remember “that I still have my sight to be thankful for,” she said she “became convinced, viscerally, that the glass of water is indeed half full instead of half empty.”

She ran her own information and referral service from home called Help for the Visually Handicapped for 10 years. She also volunteered for other community organizations. She enjoyed bridge, gardening, nature hikes, world affairs, and travel. Every year, she wrote, she “took one or two far-flung trips, particularly enjoying wildlife tours in Africa and elsewhere.”

She said that “while choosing to remain single,” she never lacked for company at home, “always benefiting from the company of between two and four cats.

Ms. Seidman was born on Sept. 27, 1928, in Manhattan, to Arthur Seidman and the former Hannah Kahn. She grew up in Woodmere, graduating from the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., before attending college.

She has no immediate survivors, but leaves cousins and many close friends.

She had asked that contributions in her memory be sent to the North Fork Animal Welfare League, P.O. Box 297, Southold 11971.