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Susan Vivian De Lapa

Susan Vivian De Lapa, 65, former head librarian at the Santa Barbara News-Press and column photographer at The Santa Barbara Independent, died on October 18 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital of a heart attack.

At the time of her death she was married to Barney Brantingham, columnist at The Independent. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, she moved to Santa Barbara with her family in 1961. An outstanding athlete, she excelled in track and other sports at Bishop Diego High School and Santa Barbara City College. When she failed to qualify for the 1972 Summer Olympics, she attended on her own, traveling on a shoestring budget.

She taught herself to become a competitive skater and joined the L.A. Thunderbirds roller derby team, known to TV fans as “Sweet Sue.” Following that she took advantage of her City College journalism training to work in the News-Press library, eventually becoming head librarian.

While traveling with Brantingham she photographed many foreign countries during their travel-writing trips abroad. Her photographs often accompanied Barney’s News-Press travel stories and columns in The Independent.

She became an avid cook, inspired by TV food shows and a vast library of cookbooks she collected. Her neighbors and family looked forward to tasting the complicated dishes she delighted in sharing. She spent much of her time working on their home in San Roque and often could be found on her front porch reading and listening to KUSC classical music station. Each weekend she would set out with friends to visit thrift shops, delighting in returning home with a trunkful of treasures, fun at the cost of about $10. She also delighted in three cats that adopted the house.

She is survived by her husband and two brothers, Paul, of Ojai, and Peter, of Santa Barbara. She was preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Vivian, and her brother David. She asked that donations be made to Planned Parenthood.

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