Susan Isabel Boyd JD ’86
Susan Isabel Boyd JD ’86 died June 28, 2021, in Portland following a five-year battle with neuroendocrine cancer. She was 74.
Susan was born August 17, 1946, in La Grande, Oregon, to Charles Alexander Boyd Jr. and Isabel Withycombe. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin; Fredericksburg, Maryland; Dunn Loring, Virginia; and Westtown, Pennsylvania. Most summers, Susan and her family traveled to Union, Oregon, to visit her maternal grandmother and her three siblings, whose parents were Oregon Trail pioneers.
Susan graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1967 and then earned an MAT from the State University of New York at Cortland. In 1977, she moved to Oregon and enrolled in the police academy in Monmouth. Susan worked as a police officer for the city of Union, living in the family homestead she had visited as a child. She briefly left Oregon to work as a police officer for North Carolina State University before moving to Portland. There, Susan worked as a night-shift police officer for Portland Public Schools while attending law school.
Susan met future husband Ira Cohen at a picnic on Mount Tabor. They were married in the Multnomah County Courthouse. After Susan finished her JD, she and Ira moved to McMinnville, where he taught physics at Linfield College and she worked part time as an attorney while raising two young children. They became members of Kol Shalom (at that time known as the Humanistic Jews of Greater Portland). Susan continued her family’s tradition of spending summers in Union. In 1997, the family moved to Alameda, California, where Ira launched a new career as a software engineer. Susan, who was spending more time at her family’s farm in Union, moved there with her daughter in 2003. She started Boyd Business Law LLC in La Grande while continuing to manage family farmland, mentored by her uncle. She also finally used that MAT and taught a writing class at Blue Mountain Community College.
Over time, Susan focused on farming, pouring her heart and soul into the business that became Dora’s Garden. Ira retired from the software industry in 2013 and moved to Union to be with her. She will be remembered as a cat rescuer, a singer, an activist who used her many skills to fight injustice, an organic gardener and educator, and a local business owner and farmer.
Susan was preceded in death by her parents, brother Charles “Charlie” Robert Boyd, and nephew Adam Boyd Kerstetter. Susan is survived by her husband, Ira Mark Cohen; son Eli Boyd Cohen; daughter Dora Boyd Cohen; sister Elizabeth “Libby” Boyd Gretzler; and brother-in-law Bob Gretzler. Dora’s Garden is now managed by her daughter.