Susan Patricia Kean (13 Aug 1962 - 17 Nov 2021)

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Funeral Service

St Mary's Church St Marychurch Street Rotherhithe SE16 4JE
30th Nov 2021
Funeral Director
F.A. Albin & Sons

Cremation Details

Hither Green Crematorium Verdant Lane Catford SE6 1TP
30th Nov 2021

In loving memory of Susan Patricia Kean who sadly passed away on 17th November 2021.

Sue was the first of Pat and Fred’s three children. She was distinctly thoughtful, independent and creative from an early age. At the age of two, she worked out that mum and dad gave her linctus for her cough and so she decided to get the bottle and drink it by herself. Poor mum and dad rushed to have her stomach pumped. At about the same age, she invented left and right. On holiday in Spain, she decided to go exploring. The resort was almost brought to a halt in a (successful) search. Sue never lost the tendency to wander off, her own children having to search for her repeatedly while on shopping trips.
First in Kent, the family moved to Grimsby where Sue went to school until going to Manchester University in 1980. There was never a more unlikely accountant, but her many talents meant she excelled at her management and accountancy degree.
Sue moved to Leeds to continue her training after graduating, lodging in a shared house on Burley Road. Among the house mates was her partner-to-be, Jim. After a few months of becoming friends, the relationship blossomed into love.
Sue and Jim agreed that he should change career, a decision that took them to London. Sue became a chartered accountant, and moved to the firm that became PWC.
The couple married in 1986. Two years later, they had moved to the Epping Forest area and Elizabeth and Ellen arrived. In 1990, Rebecca came along; 1992, Joseph; 1994, Isaac.
The family had excellent childcare so both continued careers. Sue gravitated towards the world of insurance companies, and how they managed their capital.
The Loughton house proved too small and the family decamped to Stisted, near Coggeshall and Colchester, to live in a renovated farmhouse called Brooks Farm.
John arrived in 1997, whereupon Sue told Jim that was definitely enough.
Sue was seconded to the financial regulator and was instrumental in establishing the huge changes occurring at that time. Sue subsequently gained a role in the risk function at Norwich Union (Aviva).
Holidays were generally spent in Lyme Regis and Bewdley, although there were fabulous trips to other places; among them were Cornwall, the Lake District, New Zealand, Canada, Cyprus and Corsica.
2005 to 2013 had happy times, the family moving into a beautiful house in Coggeshall. However Sue and the children were faced with Jim’s addiction illness, and there were extremely difficult periods. Her strength, resolve and reserves of love were incredible. Ultimately, she dragged Jim back from the edge.
In 2011, in the midst of the problems, Sue was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, which led to an operation, hopefully to prevent any spread.
And yet her career continued to forge ahead. This was when she became Chief Risk Officer firstly at Friends Provident, then at the larger Old Mutual PLC.
2013 marked a turning point. Sue organised Jim’s rehab in South Africa, Ellen married Richard Mills and gave birth to the first grandchild, Roxanna (Sabrina came along in 2015, Damian in 2018). Sue decided that the commute to the City had become too much and the family moved to a penthouse next to Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs.
In many respects, the time thereafter was the happiest of Sue’s life. Her many abilities came together at Old Mutual. Work was immensely challenging, intellectually rewarding. It allowed her to travel the world, especially to South Africa. Jim was able to be her partner fully, the family healed, and her children found their way in the world. And she felt truly at home, living near to the City, especially so after moving to the house on the river where Bermondsey and Rotherhithe meet.
Sue and Jim walked everywhere, usually at speed. In 2017, Sue decided to become vegan again, as she had been at university and in her early 20s When she started to lose weight, all were sure it was because of exercise and diet.
During the 2018 holiday to Seattle and Vancouver Island, Sue felt that she had pulled a muscle in her ribs, probably from running at a ridiculous speed down a mountain. On her return, she went with Jim to have the yearly post-cancer treatment check-up, but which had not occurred for almost two years because of the pressure of work. The scans and blood tests showed metastases, and breast cancer tumours in her ribs, hips and spine.
Somehow, it did not seem real to her. Sue continued to work in new roles with old colleagues from Old Mutual, having completed the ground-breaking break-up of the Old Mutual Group just before the news.
She still walked everywhere at the same speed, while coping with the after-effects of chemotherapy trials.
And Sue became a director for a number of firms, working because she truly enjoyed the challenge, and the company of good people.
The 2020 start of the pandemic meant that Sue and Jim ended up working not at home but being together in the same City office. Unfortunately, in July, Sue was found to have brain tumours after a seizure. Treatment slowed the growth, and Sue remained extremely active. There were joyous trips to Rome and Berlin. At the end of 2020, Sue helped Elizabeth and partner Andrew at the birth of Jason, the fourth grandchild.
Only in May of 2021 did the treatments finally slow her down, the chemotherapy affecting the nerves in her hands and feet. The treatment could not go on beyond August, and there were no more options available.
In September, the family celebrated Rebecca and Stuart’s wedding. In October, Jim and Sue embarked on a visit to Bruges followed by the twelfth trip to Berlin.
A few days later, many of Sue’s past colleagues, friends and family gathered together for a celebration of the remarkable impact she had on so many people. Sue was intensely happy.
It was now clear that her decline was accelerating. The family drew even closer in the ensuing days, with Sue showing everybody profound love.
Sometime early in the morning of the 17th of November, wrapped in Jim’s arms, Sue slipped away.

Lionel and Mary Pryor donated £100 in memory of Susan

So sorry at the loss of Susan. Bless her. Love to all the family.

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Iain Williamson wrote

Sue was a wonderful role model and mentor to many in the Old Mutual group across the world, leaving an indelible mark on many colleagues in South Africa. Her professionalism and quirky sense of humour made her a pleasure to work with. RIP Sue.

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Lothar Mentel wrote

We regarded Sue as an angel for having somehow ripped our friend Jim from his sure path to self-destruction - but never imagined she would be watching over us all so soon.

I am very grateful to have been able to share the workplace with her over the time of the pandemic and during that time many early breakfasts and lunches with great exchanges and debates about very nearly everything.
So, I found that she wasn't just an angel but also a star.

Having only got to know Sue really well in recent years, I gained much guidance and inspiration and already miss her company, wit and inspiration dearly.

Sue, you will live on through the people you inspired and even more the children you left with us.

Watch over us Sue, until we meet again

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Lothar Mentel donated in memory of Susan
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Sue-Ann Ind wrote

Sue was such a wonderful sponsor and cheer leader who led through strengths, kindness, lots of fun and tough love. I’ll remember Sue so fondly, with much love and gratitude always xxx

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Heloise Rossouw donated in memory of Susan

Rest in peace Sue 💛 You were an inspirational and amazing woman and touched the lives of everyone you encountered. Thank you for leading by example and everything you taught me xx

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Paul Simmons donated in memory of Susan

So sorry to hear of Sue’s passing. She was a tremendous influence on my career, and I count myself as very lucky to have had the opportunity to work and learn from her during my time at Old Mutual. More generally, she a fantastic person and a pleasure to work with. My condolences to Jim and the family.

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Karen Taylor donated £30 in memory of Susan
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Karen Taylor wrote

Sue was such an amazing lady! Her bravery, selflessness, her kindness, her warmth and her beautiful smile will never be forgotten. I personally look on Sue as my son’s real life Fairy Godmother - she made his childhood dream come true - and for that I am eternally grateful. Sue, Jim and their beautiful family showered us with so much warmth and kindness whenever we met, but especially recently at Stuart and Becky’s wedding, despite Sue’s ill health. We are completely heartbroken for Jim and their whole family. Sue was an incredible lady who will never be forgotten and will live on in the hearts and memories of so many. Sleep well Sue xxx

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Vanessa Hartley wrote

I worked this year with Sue after she joined Inigo as Chair of our Risk Committee - its a short period of time but Sue's presence and help was felt in the early days of our Company. Sue was always very supportive of the risk function and to me personally - for that I am very grateful.

So happy and privileged I came along to the event with ex work colleagues a few weeks ago - to see the outpouring of warmth and gratitude from all was truly humbling.

Sending my condolences to the family.

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Carole Hay posted a picture
RIP our beautiful Sue

RIP our beautiful Sue "Thank You" for being such a great leader, role model and inspiration to myself and so many; and for always taking the time out of your busy day to celebrate and share wonderful memories with your ERM Team at Old Mutual x

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Feryal Nadeem donated in memory of Susan

On behalf of all at Utmost

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Feryal Nadeem wrote

Sue joined us at Utmost in 2019 and brought with her experience but more importantly, an inquisitive mind which helped us move forwards with our ambitions.

Sue never let her illness or her battle with it impact anything she did – you wouldn’t have known that Sue was making regular trips to the hospital – but that was just the way Sue was.

Utmost has gained so much from Sue’s presence and all our thoughts are with Sue and her beautiful family, whom it was so memorable to meet a few weeks back when we celebrated Sue’s life.

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Vim Phiri donated in memory of Susan
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Vim Phiri wrote

My heartfelt condolences to Sue's family and all those who were fortunate enough to have met and known her.

Rest in Peace Sue, you will be sorely missed. You were such an inspiration to me and to so many, your generosity, sincerity and kindness will forever be remembered. x

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Rob Payne donated in memory of Susan

Sue will be missed by everyone who knew her, a very sad time. RIP

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Becky Merritt donated in memory of Susan
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James Simpson donated in memory of Susan
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Bruce Russell donated in memory of Susan
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Bruce Russell wrote

A truly beautiful eulogy for a wonderful lady. Sue lived life to the full and was a love fullfilled in every respect.
I am so sorry not to be able to attend her funeral and celebrate her life.

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