Suzanne Takken, an only child, was born April 25, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from the Rocky River High School there in 1943 and enrolled in her father’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. In the summers between school years she worked in war plants packing parts in cosmoline. To help support herself during college she took a job in the school cafeteria. After only two days she decided that was not her kind of work so she applied for another job. She was assigned to assist Professor George V. Cohee in his work with rock samples – chance happening that led her into a life-long career in geology.
Her father died in 1947, one week before her graduation from the University of Michigan. She had been offered a job with Magnolia Oil Company (Mobil Oil) in either Midland, Texas or Oklahoma City, and after consulting with her mother, Clara Elrich Takken, a very strong woman in her own right, they decided to quit Cleveland and make a new start in Oklahoma City.
She retired from Mobil Oil in 1970, but continued working as a consulting geologist until her death.
Suzanne was active in professional geological organizations throughout her career. She joined AAPG in 1947 and had completed her fiftieth year as a member. She joined the Oklahoma City Geological Society in the same year and was awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership in1982 after serving in many offices, including president and editor of the Shale Shaker. Suzanne was a charter member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) and served as president of the Oklahoma Section of AIPG in 1971 and national secretary-treasurer in 1978. She was especially active in the Association for Women Geologists. She published several papers on the petroleum geology of Oklahoma.
Suzanne was a multi-faceted individual. She and her mother were active in amateur theater in Oklahoma City for many years. She dabbled at oil painting and made jewelry. She was a leader in a Great Books discussion group. She played golf and started writing a novel.
Her conversations at lunch would vary from oil prospects to national energy policy, to philosophical jaunts into education, lifestyles, and religion. She loved to travel, especially in her later years, and her favorite places were in the Orient and the Pacific Ocean. She asked that her ashes be spread in her favorite ocean, the Pacific.
Suzanne was on her way home to Oklahoma City from California when she was stricken by a massive visceral hemorrhage in Santa Rosa, California, and died November 9, 1997. She had just spent two weeks at her vacation home in Sea Ranch, California, following her attendance at the Association for Women Geoscientists in Salt Lake City. Suzanne served as president of AWG in 1989-1990 and was completing a two-year term as director of the AWG Foundation. She was honored at the meeting by the naming of the Suzanne Takken Encourage Award in recognition of her work as a role model and mentor for younger women geoscientists.
The Suzanne Takken Memorial Grant is awarded annually to a deserving graduate student through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Grants-in-Aid program, and is endowed through a generous bequest from Suzanne Takken to the AAPG Foundation.