Jeff Humphrey

Mom Honors Daughter with New Trail

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, August 25, 2023 at 2:06 p.m.

Nancy MacKerrow has spent more than two decades making sure the memory of her daughter Susie, lives on by planting hundreds of donated trees in Spokane.

Now, MacKerrow is helping fund a new public trail near the Finch Arboretum.

“She was crossing a street in downtown St. Louis, in a crosswalk, with a walk light, and a turning bus hit her and killed her,” MacKerrow said of her daughter’s death in 2002.

Almost immediately, MacKerrow began using the proceeds from a wrongful death settlement from the bus company to honor her daughter with a leafy legacy.

“This is the tree that started The Susie Forest. We planted it 20 years ago, this year. And, this is the only tree that has any of Susie’s ashes in it,” MacKerrow said of a Red Maple growing in Manito Park’s Japanese Garden.

Because Susie was a bicycle and pedestrian advocate, now her mother is donating $100,000 to the construction of the Susie Stephens Trail.

“Which we envision to run from the Fish Lake Trail westward, all the way through the Finch Arboretum, through the West Hills Neighborhood. And our goal is, to provide enhanced connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists to come to the arboretum, to come to our parks, our trails. But also, to do it in a way that isn’t right on the side of the road. To get you connected to Garden Springs Creek. Get you connected with the Street Tree Exhibit and, just get a little nature in your life,” explained Nick Hamad, Spokane Parks & Rec.

“Well, I wanted to do something in Suzie’s name that would be permanent. I think it’s a wonderful way to honor my daughter, who was killed as a pedestrian. And soon, there will be bicyclists and pedestrians, who will come along here, and go visit the arboretum or, get on the Fish Lake Trail. And, I’m looking forward to seeing it finished soon,” concluded MacKerrow.

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