Susanne “Doddin” Smart Hartman Applegate passed away to the Great Beyond on February 1, 2021. She leaves behind a trailblazing legacy to her children and grandchildren and an irreplaceable void in the hearts of her family and friends. Doddin was born to George Herbert Hartman and Martha Smart Hartman on December 27, 1931, in Highland Park, Illinois. A Northwestern University class of 1953 alumna (Purple and White, Fight! Fight! Fight!) and an Alpha Phi member and supporter, Doddin maintained lifelong connections with many of her sorority sisters. Always one to give back to her community, she served on numerous boards and committees throughout her lifetime. In the 1970’s, Doddin worked in development at WGVC-TV Channel 35 on the campus of Grand Valley State College and was integral in both fundraising and promoting early community awareness of Public Broadcasting (PBS) as an educational alternative to network television.
Never one to sit still and always up for an adventure, Doddin’s unrelenting zest for life and competitive spirit was rivaled only by her athletic prowess. From a young age, though being “tiny but mighty,” Doddin, her self-proclaimed nickname, had a passion for all sports and excelled at many. Throughout her life she enjoyed ice skating, field hockey, sailing, golf, tennis, cross-country skiing, fishing, skeet shooting, and hiking. In 1952 Doddin was the first female sailing school instructor at White Lake Yacht Club, a distinction of which she was always very proud. It was during the Western Michigan sailing regatta on White Lake the summer of 1952 that she met her future husband, Brooks Applegate, introduced to her through lifelong friend Midge Verplank of Spring Lake, Michigan. Doddin and Brooks were married less than two years later and began a life together that centered around family and friends, entertaining, sailing and cruising on Lake Michigan and its inland lakes and passages, hiking the Great Smoky Mountains, and large dogs. Doddin also enjoyed exploring the American Southwest and beyond, crossword puzzles, and rooting for her beloved Chicago Bears. Always hopeful for the “green flash” at sunset, Doddin’s greatest love was perhaps sharing with family a beautiful summer sunset from her front porch overlooking Lake Michigan, Mount Gay on the rocks in hand and a lovely smile upon her face.
Doddin is preceded in death by her adoring husband of fifty-nine years, Edward Brooks Applegate II, and eldest son Stephen Hunter Applegate (Julie Curtis Applegate). She is survived by son Edward Brooks Applegate III (Lissa Perkins) of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and daughter Martha Applegate Schonberger (Lawrence) of Leesburg, Virginia. “Bama” is also survived by grandchildren Edward Brooks Applegate IV, Kara Applegate, Malia Applegate, Ben Schonberger (Zach Szabo), Samuel Schonberger, Harrison Schonberger (Sarah), and numerous granddogs and grandcats. Inspired by Doddin, granddaughter Kara, herself an accomplished sailor, shares that Bama will be remembered “through the breeze of a summer day and the wind that fills my sails. I will see you again, sailing into the sun...”
As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to:
White Lake Yacht Club Sailing School
P.O. BOX 454
Whitehall, MI 49461
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