Susan Pushkin was a constant companion, a sparkle, and a sister, said her best friend and next-door-neighbor Marilyn Bagel.

“She was everything,” Bagel said on the front porch of the Frederick Rescue Mission on South Street during the first Susan Pushkin Day on Saturday. It would have been Pushkin’s 71st birthday.

Pushkin died last year, and made a generous contribution of over $450,000 to the Frederick Rescue Mission, despite never actually participating with the organization herself.

“I didn’t know Susan. I never met Susan. But I do know Susan. I know Susan’s generosity,” said Arnold Farlow, executive director of the Rescue Mission.

Pushkin became involved with the organization when Marilyn’s husband, Tom Bagel, started volunteering with them in 2018. He had told Pushkin about his experiences with the organization and how inspired he was by the people whose lives were changed by it.

Friends of both Pushkin and the Rescue Mission gathered on the organization’s front porch to celebrate her life. Marilyn Bagel explained that Pushkin had moved in next door to her eight years ago. With their backyards so close, she and Pushkin ended up having morning coffee or an evening glass of wine frequently.

“There’s a saying that people come into our lives for a season, a reason, or a lifetime,” Marilyn said. “Susan Pushkin was one of these people, who no matter how little you knew her, or how much you knew her, she affected so many lifetimes of people.”

Pushkin was a real estate agent who was brutally honest with people, even if it meant steering people away from houses she knew weren’t right for them.

“It was her realness, it was her genuineness, it was her authenticity that made her so invaluable as a friend, as a neighbor, as someone who really does care deeply about the community,” Marilyn said.

After she and Tom spoke, their daughter Florrie Bagel sang “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell, a song she sang to Pushkin many times in her final days.

“ ... This song speaks on who Susan truly is, she was a radical force of a woman whose fire was bright and loud,” Florrie Bagel said. “And even when her voice got quiet, her fire was bright and loud.”

The Rescue Mission is currently using the gift to support its many programs, including its free meals and recovery houses.

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley

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