Suzanne Murphy Foster



Oro Valley, Ariz.

Suzanne Murphy Foster passed away peacefully in Oro Valley, Ariz., on Jan. 7, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. Suze had been on an eight-month roller coaster ride with lung cancer and maintained her positive energy and feisty spirit throughout. When her husband, Tod, visited her at the hospital in the final days of her illness, her last clear words were a joke: “You here to break me out?”

Born in Bar Harbor in 1954, Suze grew up on High Street with her parents, Edwin and Mary (“Nis”) Murphy, and siblings Don, Kathy, Shay, Steve, Jan and Brian. Favorite family memories included beach days at Compass Harbor and traveling to visit her grandparents. She was in one of the first classes to attend MDI High School and earned her GED.

While taking college courses in San Diego, Calif., she met her husband, Tod Foster, and convinced him to return east with her. They were married in Bar Harbor in June 1984, and their daughter Meaghan was born in 1987. In 1990, Suze and Tod founded the third microbrewery in Maine. They ran Bar Harbor Brewing Co. for the next 18 years, maintaining it as a mom-and-pop business even as demand grew for their award-winning Cadillac Mountain Stout. Suze was omnipresent driving the delivery van around coastal Maine, liaising with restaurants and stores, and championing small businesses with the state Legislature.

Suze never finished college and was a fierce supporter of her daughter’s education and that of other islanders. As a member of the board of trustees, she successfully advocated for increased funding to build the MDIHS arts wing. She and Tod took Meaghan on more than a dozen college visits, read every essay and provided financial support. They were there to cheer for Meaghan when she graduated with a BA from Carleton College in 2009 and an M.Ed. from Harvard University in 2016.

After they sold the brewery in 2008, Suze and Tod lived their dream of retiring early. They sought adventure in cross-country road trips and split time between the East and West coasts. For several summers, Suze served as a Northeast Harbor EMT and loved being there for people in crisis. When she got sick in 2021 and the family had to call in Arizona EMTs, she joked with the team and offered to buy them a round of beers.

Suze knew how to make retirement look good. She and Tod bought a snowbird house in Oro Valley, Ariz., where they cultivated a vibrant community of friends and discovered a passion for pickleball. A true convert to the game, she also advocated for improvements to the Bar Harbor courts. In May 2021, she celebrated her daughter Meaghan’s marriage to Ethan Van Arnam in a small family ceremony at Stinson Beach, Calif. Recently, she was thrilled to learn her first grandchild will enter the world in July 2022.

She will be missed by too many loved ones to list, but the family plans to schedule celebrations of life in Oro Valley, Ariz., Stinson Beach, Calif., and Bar Harbor over the coming months.

Know when to pay your respects.