In Memoriam – Sue Watts


Sue Watts

April 27, 1959 – October 16, 2016

Sue was a pillar of the Michigan steampunk community and the other half of our favorite steampunk couple with Don Watts. Whether she was making beautiful costumes or sitting on the edge of a stage she always made herself at home and was the inspiration to many other women in steampunk. She will be sorely missed.


Age 57. Beloved wife of Don for 35 years. Loving mother of Kyle Charles Watts (Jenny Choate). Dear sister of Linda (Craig) Gross, Laura (Jeff) Bunker, Lisa (Joe) Walker, Paul Donovan, and sister-in-law Judy (Ron) Menig. Survived by many nieces, nephews and extended family.

Memorial Visitation

Saturday, October 29, 2016
2:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Thayer-Rock Funeral Home
33603 Grand River Avenue
Farmington, Michigan 48335
In lieu of Flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 4368, E. Lansing, MI 48826-4368 or
Michigan Humane Society, 30300 Telegraph Rd., Ste. 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025-4507.

You are invited to leave your memories of Sue below.

All photos by Sergio Mazzotta


Thank you everyone, family and friends for all the thoughts well wishes, and prayers but also thank you for the stories of your experiences with Sue. We have had forty years of good times Sue and I, from our car cruise days to boating and fishing to gaming then float building and lately ren fair and steampunk. We spent nearly every day together and even when we were apart we were not THAT far apart. Sue was many things to a lot of people.. mother, wife, seamstress, baby sitter, etc, etc,….. but most of all she was my true friend. I will miss my friend. I love you Sue and always will.

— Don Watts


One of my favorite people in the whole world has passed today. On the second day that I opened my bookstore, Kyle and Jenny strolled into my life and it was practically love at first sight. Kyle was my annoying, but lovable little brother and Jenny pretended not to get annoyed as we fought all the time, like kicking and rolling around on the floor fighting. They brought many people into the store and helped make it what it was and of course they bought Don and Sue.

I won’t tell you how long I thought Sue didn’t like me. She would smile, but it was that tight-lipped one she did while she was still deciding about you. When she finally gave me that Sue smile and hugged me, I felt like I had won the lottery. When she loved you, she loved you no matter what. I cannot tell you how many times she and Don would help we with things at the multiple stores – whether it was painting, building, boxing, loaning me their tentacle beast to liven the place up, or just keeping me company on a slow night.

She could be fierce and crusty, but there was also a sweet shy side. She was loyal to a fault and I have never felt so blessed then to have been a kind of honorary member of this brilliant, quirky, beautiful family. I thank God that they came into my life and that I got to spend so much time with them and her. She was there when I had my kids and helped raise them in the store, She will always be in my heart. DonKyle, and Jenny – you will always be family to me and I will always love her and you.

— Salthiel Palland


You were a breathe of fresh air when I met you. You were the embodiment of a woman that I aspire to be in my later years. Your struggle was private, and I respect that so much. You were so talented, fun loving, strong, and one of the first friends I acquired in the Steampunk scene. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, but at least I hugged you one last time at Michael’s memorial. RIP Sue, my heart is heavy, my eyes are not dry, and my thoughts are with you and your family. You were a beautiful, creative, intelligent, woman that had a unique style that only you could create. RIP SUE

— Vespertine Nova Lark


One of the first steampunk events I ever attended outside of Cincinnati was Steamtopia in Detroit. I was fortunate to meet Sue and Don Watts that night. At the time, Sue was still recovering from a treatment, but was kind and funny, and I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve ever spent with them, however brief. When Sue was not present at the Motor City Steam Con, I knew that she had taken a turn for the worse, because she would have been there with bells on if she could. This week, she lost her battle, and the world is a little smaller and colder as a result. She was a Grande Dame of Steampunk, and I know that she will be missed by too many to count. Cheers to you Sue Watts. I’ll have a drink in your honor.

— Stephanie ‘Fu’ Rogg


I’ve been very fortunate in that I have lost very few friends throughout my forty years of life.

Last night I, and the rest of the steampunk community, lost Sue Watts after a seven year battle with cancer. Many of us didn’t even know she was sick until she was moved to hospice.

I met Sue and her husband, Don, at a Detroit-area steampunk event when Mom was sick. I knew almost no one, and Don and Sue made sure the new girl felt welcome, had a shoulder to cry on, and had enough beer as I wasn’t aware it was a BYOB event.

They were two of my strongest supporters as I was going through Mom’s illness. I’m so sorry, Don Watts, and I’m going to miss you, Sue.

— Cassie Noble Beyer


So saddened to learn of the passing of Sue Watts today. She was silly, a gifted maker of gloriously strange stuff, quietly indomitable, brilliant, and and an incredibly sweet soul. She and her husband Don were part den-parents, part ring leaders, and part surreal mischief-makers in chief for those of us in the alternate history, Steampunk, and generally geeky worlds. Endless thanks to Don, her son Kyle, and found daughter Jenny for sharing her with us all. She’ll be missed bitterly but leaves the world a kinder, weirder, and more beautiful place for having been in it. G’bye Sue…

— Mike Zawacki


Published in: on October 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was one of the bartenders this evening at Farmington Brewing Company and on behalf of our entire staff I extend my condolences to your family. It was an honor to host your group and the outpouring of love was beautifully overwhelming. May peace be with you all.✌ Allison

  2. I didn’t know Sue personally, but I clearly remember seeing her and Don at several Steampunk events, and they always stood out as such an elegant couple. Besides being impressed by her fabulous outfits, I got the impression she was a strong person. My condolences to all her family, friends and loved ones. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  3. […] tentacle prop, which has been seen at numerous conventions for several years, made by the late Sue Watts for her husband Don, went missing for a while. Over the years, the playful tentacle did make it […]

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