Local Folks: Susanna Barton

Local Folks: Susanna Barton
Barton family 2021 - Marley, Ben, Susanna, David

Susanna P. Barton holds the title Communications Coordinator at The Bolles School. And though she claims that her life outside of work is “so boring right now,” it is actually quite full as wife, mother, and friend.

She and her husband of 25 years, David, met while attending college in Virginia. He grew up in Ortega on the opposite side of the river from where they now live in San Marco. He is a dedicated board member of The Northeast Florida Land Trust and works at Bank of America. He spends many weekends hunting the area woods for turkey in spring, deer in fall and winter, and fish in the area waters at various seasons.

They raised two children, son Ben and daughter Marley, in the Granada Park area. “I cannot think of any other place in this city or in this state that’s a better place to raise a family. It’s a wonderful community of people who are kind and whose children are polite and fun,” Barton said.

Susanna Barton birthday dinner with the Riggs crew  Back row: Ellie Riggs, Turner Riggs, Will Riggs, Marley Barton, Ben Barton, David Barton Front row: Susanna Barton, Maggie Riggs
Susanna Barton birthday dinner with the Riggs crew Back row: Ellie Riggs, Turner Riggs, Will Riggs, Marley Barton, Ben Barton, David Barton Front row: Susanna Barton, Maggie Riggs

Each winter into spring, the Bartons enjoy hoarding and burning neighbors’ discarded Christmas trees in the fire pit they had installed in their backyard; party lights make for a festive atmosphere as the branches burn. One of the family’s favorite activities is boating on the St. Johns River aboard The Lady B.

Because of pandemic precautions, Barton admits that she and her husband have slowed down on activities. Though longtime parishioners of All Saints Episcopal Church, they haven’t been there in over a year. But that didn’t stop her from posting her annual Lenten challenges on Facebook, “which feeds my writing side,” she said.

Now that Barton and her husband are empty nesters with their teens attending out-of-state universities, most evenings, while he cooks dinner, she can be found watching reality TV with their dogs—an overweight beagle, Emmy, and French pointer hunting dog, Dot, whom Barton refers to as “two little old ladies.” Regarding shows, “I watch all the horrible ones, the worst of the worst, like Housewives of Whatever City and Dr. Pimple Popper. The really bad ones are my favorites,” she said.

Susanna Barton’s dogs Emmy and Dot
Susanna Barton’s dogs Emmy and Dot

Once a month, Barton, a cellist, joins her neighbors and friends, Kathryn Peyton and Margaret Dees, for “trio practice.” Kathryn plays violin and Margaret viola. The three enjoy drinking wine while playing their instruments. It’s a tradition that has lasted for more than 15 years. They perform publicly only at Christmastime, and then only for family members and close friends.

Barton’s best friend is Lindsey Riggs. “I like Lindsey more than I like my dogs,” Barton said. They met more than 17 years ago on the side of the duck pond as moms of two little boys. “For almost as long as we’ve been friends, we’ve been running through the neighborhood,” she said. Their pre-dawn running routine takes them through Granada Park and San Marco Square, toward Downtown, and as far south as University Boulevard. They used to train for marathons but have since declared it “too much work.”

Though she and Riggs have been running three mornings per week for nearly two decades, “I would not classify myself as a runner,” Barton said. “I am not one of the ‘others’ who focus on time or pace,” she admitted. It’s about conversation and exercise accountability. She likes to run with Riggs as a time to catch up, share parenting ideas, or to grumble. With six children between them, over the years, they’ve pushed various babies in strollers as they run.

Outside of their running routine, the ladies spend a lot of time together, and their husbands are good friends as well. Though the pandemic has made their gatherings a little more challenging,  the Riggs family’s backyard “party pagoda” on the river has been a safe haven in which the two families can spread out.

“I am so boring right now!” Susanna Barton had said. Her family and friends, however, would likely disagree.

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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