Singer-songwriter and Long Beach native Susan J. Paul was battling cancer for the second time when she decided to give a special performance at the GoGirlsMusicFest inside the Liquid Lounge in October 2005.
Besides wanting to support the Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research, Paul was moving product: her fourth album, Big Love.
Family and friends show the late Christian performer big love tonight at her rosary and what's billed as a "celebration of life" Tuesday.
"Big Love finds a more mature and confident Paul as spiritual and inspiring as ever," I wrote at the time the album was released. "Stripped down to a more acoustic sound than on her previous CDs, her voice is pushed out front as she sings about accepting what comes your way, learning from it, and moving on."
That was intended not only to expose the uninitiated to her amazing, soulful voice, but to help a friend. Paul, back when she was known as Sue Czerwinski, was a classmate of my wife's at St. Joseph High School in Lakewood, and they remained good friends up until Susan passed away on July 19. She was only 48.
Human Factor, her 1991 debut album, was reissued in 2007. Upon its initial release, veteran LA disc jockey Jim Ladd and KTWV (The Wave) music director Ralph Stewart hailed her as an impressive new talent, while critics across the country compared her with Rickie Lee Jones. Human Factor rose to No. 7 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, right behind Sting's Soul Cages.
Paul went on to open for Etta James and Cassandra Wilson, tour with Graham Nash, David Wilcox and jazz guitarist Grant Geissman, and regularly headline Santa Monica's At My Place.
She so enlivened the 2001 Religious Education Congress that the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese put on in Anaheim, she was asked to write the theme song for the next on
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As Paul left for that great gig in the sky, she was surrounded by family and friends. She is survived by her mother, Jean; brothers, Paul and John; sisters, Janet Bonar, Diane Ellis-Caruana and Carol Quinowski; nephews, Bryan Ellis, Nathan Ellis and Duncan Bonar; nieces, Fiona Bonar, Grace Quinowski and Madelyn Quinowski; and grandniece, Annabelle Ellis.
Rosary will be held at 7 tonight at St. Joseph Church, 6220 E. Willow St., Long Beach. The celebration of life begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday at El Dorado Park Golf Course Garden Pavilion. You can sign the guestbook at caringbridge.com/visit/susanjpaul.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Inc. or to the charity of your choice.