Remembering Former Illinois Film Office Director Suzy Kellett; Memorial This Sunday

The Illinois creative production community is mourning the loss of one of its longtime leaders. Former Illinois Film Office director Suzy Kellett passed away unexpectedly. Suzy was head of the office and led the local film industry to remarkable success from the mid-80’s though mid-90’s. Suzy received numerous awards for her work, including, significantly, the 1991 Women in Film/Chicago Achievement Award. She went on to head the Washington Film Office, and remained in Seattle until her passing.

“I worked for Suzy for seven years while at the Illinois Film Office before I went on to head the Chicago Film Office,” former Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal shared with SCREEN. “I can tell you that Suzy was loved and admired by studio execs, producers, directors, grips, grunts and gaffers, and fellow film commissioners everywhere. She was a powerhouse with a big big heart. And all while being the single mother of quadruplets.”

“Illinois’ film industry has grown and matured over the years, and Suzy paved the way for all of us,” Rich declared to SCREEN. “She will be dearly missed by so many.”

A memorial for Suzy is being held 1pm Sunday, July 16  at the Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave, Winnetka, IL.

Here are excerpts from Suzy’s obituary to offer a window into Suzy’s remarkable history of service to the creative community and to her family…

She was a beloved mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and friend to all whom she touched with her generosity, kindness, and love.  

Suzy was the oldest of four siblings, born in Evanston, Illinois on October 21, 1944, to Patricia and John Boylston. She grew up outside of Chicago where she attended New Trier High School. She received a BA from the University of Denver and fell in love with mountains and skiing. Shortly thereafter she moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she met her future husband Richard (Dick) Kellett, whom she subsequently married. Thereafter, Suzy taught elementary school in southern Idaho. 

On August 28, 1975, Suzy gave birth to a set of quadruplets. Six weeks premature, Lucas, Gwen, Abby, and Tyler made headlines across the country. In 1976, Suzy and Dick separated, and Suzy and the quads moved into her parents’ home in Northfield, Illinois. Over the following years, Patty and John gave Suzy immeasurable help in raising her young children. 

In Chicago, Suzy launched her long career in both print and film media. She started as a photographic editor for People and Time magazines, was then hired as a location scout for the Illinois State Film Office, and thereafter was promoted to Director. She fostered deep relationships with numerous Hollywood film studios and worked closely on movies such as Risky Business, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Untouchables. Suzy became one of the most successful film office directors in North America, and received numerous awards for her work, including, significantly, the 1991 Women in Film/Chicago Achievement Award. 

In 1994, with her children in college, Suzy moved to Seattle, where she became the Director of the Washington State Film Office, from which she retired in 2008.  

Passionate about community service, over the years Suzy volunteered for the Seattle Evergreen Rotary Club, the International Rescue Committee, and Life Stitches Uganda. She started her own business, Suzy’s Concierge Service, which she ran until her death. 

Suzy loved to garden, read, walk around Green Lake with her friends, and travel. She was hilariously funny and loving to all. She is deeply missed by her family and friends. 

Suzy is survived by her four children and five grandchildren, Maya, Mason, Brooks, Quinn, and Tessa. She is also survived by her siblings Greg Boylston, Deborah Clothier and Mike Boylston, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mary’s Place (which provides safe shelter to homeless women and children), PO Box 1711, Seattle, WA 98111.

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