Susan Meadows Hone, a former Berkeley vice-mayor and BART director, died at her home in Berkeley on April 2. She was 80.
A wonderful storyteller, a brilliant and savvy woman, Hone was was deeply engaged with the Berkeley community and loved music, reading and the Cal women’s basketball team. She felt strongly that people mattered and that it was important that women and people of color have equal voices in the world. She
Susan was born in 1939 in San Francisco to Hazel Bolling Meadows and Joseph Edward Meadows. She was raised in Madera, California.
Susan attended UC Berkeley and was very active on campus. Among other things, she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and the Prytanean Honor Society, a member of the staff at the Lair of the Bear, and served as managing editor of the Daily Californian. She received her BA in English in 1961.
While at UC Berkeley, Susan met and married Michael Curran Hone. The couple lived for a time in San Francisco, where their twins, Mack and Lisa, were born. The family later returned to live in Berkeley–first on Euclid Avenue, and a few years later in the Claremont neighborhood, where Susan lived for 50 years.
Susan first became engaged in local politics as a member of the League of Women Voters. In 1971, the Berkeley City Council voted to appoint her to fill a council vacancy. As a member of the moderate Berkeley Democratic Club, Susan easily won her first election in 1973, collecting the most votes of any of the 22 candidates in the race for four seats. She also was the top vote-getter in her race for reelection in 1977. While on the council, Susan worked closely with longtime mayor and friend Warren Widener, as well as City Council members Henry Ramsey, Wilmont Sweeney, Ed Kallgren, Gilda Feller, Shirley Dean, Andrea Washburn and others. Susan’s fellow council members elected her to serve as vice mayor for most of her time on the council. As a member of the City Council, Susan championed women’s rights and worked hard to improve Berkeley’s libraries, parks, and public transportation.
Susan declined to run for re-election in 1981. Several years later, she was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit board where she served one four-year term. Susan also served for many years as a California probate referee.
Susan was a champion of other elected women and an early president of the California Elected Women for Education and Research. In the 1980s, as a volunteer with the National Women’s Education Fund, she helped train women on how to run for elected office. As a result of these efforts, she became lifelong friends with elected women throughout California and the rest of the United States. Although not an attorney, Susan was a founder of the California Women Lawyers Association. She also served as a board member of the McCullum Youth Court and the College Preparatory School. She was a member of Berkeley’s Town and Gown Club, the Claremont Book Club, the Berkeley Book Club, and the Berkeley Tennis Club.
Apart from politics, and her children and four grandsons, Susan’s greatest personal passion in life was music and she served on the boards of the Berkeley Symphony, Berkeley Opera, Berkeley Piano Club, Merola Opera Young Artist Training Program and as chairman of the Board of San Francisco Classical Voice. She was also a member of New York’s Metropolitan Opera Club.
Susan was also an avid reader, an excellent tennis, ping-pong and bridge player, and a longtime and committed fan of the UC Berkeley women’s basketball team.
Susan is survived by her twin children, Lisa and Mack, their spouses, four grandsons, and her ex-husband.
A memorial service will be held at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California, on Saturday, June 29th at 11:00 am.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, those who wish to honor Susan’s life consider making a donation to one of the following organizations that were important to her:
Merola Opera Program for young singers
UC Berkeley’s Prytanean (Please specify fellowship for junior women faculty members):