Yours truly quoted in Law.com’s “When It Comes to Office Returns, Associates and Staff Are a Workforce Divided”

Thank you to Dan Packel from ALM Media, LLC for including my thoughts in this well-crafted, illuminating, at times provocative piece on the divide between associates and staff where return-to-office is concerned. Highly recommend reading, and NOT necessarily because I’m in here!

Read the full article here: https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2021/09/07/when-it-comes-to-office-returns-associates-and-staff-are-a-workforce-divided/

“Even in more client-facing roles, different personality types can thrive in a hybrid world. Clark Hill director of marketing Roy Sexton describes himself as an introvert, and he’s thrilled that his firm is giving him the ability to continue spending several days a week outside of the office. That’s where he’s at his best in developing new ideas. ‘Understanding that it is a business, there is a benefit to being together physically. I miss my colleagues and I miss seeing them in person,’ he adds. ‘I do think there’s something to be said for getting up, getting ready and putting on something more than basketball shorts and a goofy T-shirt. I miss having some distance between work and home.’”

“It’s a major award!”
My archivist dad has unearthed these wonderful vintage photos

Thank you, Crain’s Detroit, for including yours truly among your “Notable LGBTQ in Business”

Incredibly honored to be named among Crain’s Detroit Business’ “NOTABLE LGBTQ IN BUSINESS.” Thank you to Matt Friedman, Susan Ahern, Kelly MacKinnon, DeLashea Strawder, and Kim Kelly for their friendship and support during the nomination and selection process. And to my husband John and my parents Don and Susie – you are everything to me. ❤️

My profile: https://www.crainsdetroit.com/awards/roy-sexton-notable-lgbtq-2021

Full list of honorees: https://www.crainsdetroit.com/awards/notable-lgbtq-business

About the recognition: “The leaders on this list are change-agents, door-openers and role models, their peers and colleagues told us. They create safety and community where they live and work. They hire and mentor other #LBGTQ people and help them succeed. Many of them said that coming out and being themselves at work has been a journey, reminding us that the gains made for LGBTQ equity have been expansive in a relatively short period of time — within the span of many of these professionals’ careers.

“Roy Sexton joined Clark Hill three years ago as marketing manager, but the firm quickly promoted him to director. Now he oversees a team of professionals across the country and supports affinity programs at Clark Hill, including BOLD for women, PRIDE for LGBTQI employees and THRIVE for people of color.

“In 2018, Michigan Lawyers Weekly named him an Unsung Legal Hero for consistently going beyond the call of duty.

“As treasurer of the international board of the Legal Marketing Association, Sexton helped launch an outside DEI consultancy. He is also a guest on podcasts where he illustrates how inclusion brings growth and success to any organization.

“In the nonprofit realm, Sexton co-founded The Penny Seats, an outdoor theater company in Ann Arbor. He also chaired the governance committee for Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.”

METHODOLOGY: “The leaders featured in this report were selected from nominations by a team of Crain’s Detroit Business editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in the field and effectiveness of their efforts, as outlined in a detailed application form. The honorees did not pay to be included on the list. Notable LGBTQ in Business was managed and written by Leslie Green. For questions about this report, contact Special Projects Editor Amy Bragg.”

Gould & Ratner’s Chief Marketing Officer John Byrne on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk

VIEW HERE: https://fb.watch/7OB8qXsaGi/

We had a pretty fantastic – and free-wheeling – conversation with our friend John Byrne today. This may be one of my favorite shows we’ve done yet. To be honest, I’m not even quite sure how to recap it, other than this was an authentic conversation between people who respect and love each other. There might be some references to the bathroom habits of naughty cats, a general love of anything Disney, and appreciation for the unique attributes of the only child – AND an understanding that truth when delivered from the heart is always a good thing.

Shout outs in the show to … Susie Sexton, Don Sexton, Thor Hodges, Lisa Towey Simon, Anne Gallagher, Megan McKeon, Nancy Leyes Myrland, Nancy Slome, Brenda Pontiff, Andrew Laver, Michelle Friends, Kelly MacKinnon, Brenda Plowman, Amy Payton Verhulst, Laura Toledo, Lindsay Griffiths, Kevin Iredell, Dianne Rychlewski, William Fitzgerald, Linda Sedloff Orton, Stephen D Barrett, Jose’ Cunningham, Trish Desilets Lilley, #oklahoma, #themusicman, and more!

Facebook: https://fb.watch/7OB8qXsaGi/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robkates_new-day-same-fabulous-guests-this-week-activity-6838603731827855360-5Euj

YouTube: https://youtu.be/rg5tObv3DdA

Support Laura Toledo’s cancer fight: https://www.gofundme.com/f/phjaa6-help-lauras-fight/donate

Taco 🌮 Tees! https://www.bonfire.com/lauras-taco-team/

SHOW DESCRIPTION:

It’s the show about legal marketing and the people that make it happen.

This week, Roy Sexton’s guest is fellow LMA International Board Member AND Midwesterner John Byrne, Chief Marketing Officer for Gould & Ratner LLP. John and Roy will not only reflect on nearly a decade of friendship and volunteer leadership together, but what trends they see in marketing, communications, and thought leadership in these neverending pandemic days. John, who also has worked as a practicing attorney and as a newspaper editor, will offer his observations on the intersectionality of legal and media and the opportunities represented for marketers therein. John and Roy are both only children who also have strong ties to the medical profession AND they both tend to enjoy the occasional shenanigan (or eight), so this conversation is sure to be heartfelt, free-ranging, and raucous!

Join our team of hosts: Jessica Aries, Tahisha Fugate, Andrew Laver and Roy Sexton , each week, as we talk to the leaders in the legal marketing community.

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

It’s the show about legal marketing and the people that make it happen … THIS week’s guest: legendary John Byrne!

Excited to chat with wonderful John Byrne this week on Kates Media: Video Production’s Legal Marketing Coffee Talk with Rob Kates. Sponsored by Jessica Aries’ By Aries. Thank you to Katelynn Audrey Wynn McGuire for the promotional support.

Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/155057871244919/posts/4359729944111003/?d=n

LinkedIn Live: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robkates_its-the-show-about-legal-marketing-and-the-activity-6838143821059104769-5Thc

YouTube: https://youtu.be/rg5tObv3DdA

It’s the show about legal marketing and the people that make it happen.

This week, Roy Sexton’s guest is fellow LMA International Board Member AND Midwesterner John Byrne, Chief Marketing Officer for Gould & Ratner LLP. John and Roy will not only reflect on nearly a decade of friendship and volunteer leadership together, but what trends they see in marketing, communications, and thought leadership in these neverending pandemic days. John, who also has worked as a practicing attorney and as a newspaper editor, will offer his observations on the intersectionality of legal and media and the opportunities represented for marketers therein. John and Roy are both only children who also have strong ties to the medical profession AND they both tend to enjoy the occasional shenanigan (or eight), so this conversation is sure to be heartfelt, free-ranging, and raucous!

Tune in this Friday, September 3rd, at 3:00 PM ET right here on Facebook.

Join our team of hosts: Jessica Aries, Tahisha Fugate, Andrew Laver and Roy Sexton , each week, as we talk to the leaders in the legal marketing community.

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

Remembering Susie

Photos by John Mola

❤️ remembering my incredible mother Susie Sexton – I’m so grateful we got to send her off with show tunes, laughter, animal rights, love, family, and her own beautiful words. Thank you, Sharon Brockhaus and Randy L. Grimes and the DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home team for your compassion and kindness.

Click here for video of the service, which includes my remarks: https://fb.watch/7kq-yNEJFy/

Excerpts from Susie’s writings formed the basis of Sharon Brockhaus’ and my comments – those excerpts are included below the following program write-up of her life.

Photos by John Mola

Program write-up …

Susie Elizabeth Duncan Sexton, 75, of Columbia City, IN, passed away unexpectedly Friday, August 6, 2021, at her home. Born on May 14, 1946, in Fort Wayne, she was the daughter of Roy and Edna (Lewis) Duncan, who, in her words, were “neither phony nor stereotypical … my parents disagreed often, attended church regularly for networking and spiritual rejuvenation with a minimal dose of dogma, quietly performed good deeds, valued and strengthened family ties yet at a reasonable distance, and maintained serious friendships throughout their lifetimes.”

She grew up in Columbia City and graduated 3rd in her class from Columbia City Joint High School with the Class of 1964. She played one of the lead roles “Rosie DeLeon” in the first musical ever performed at the high school: Bye Bye Birdie. Susie went on to attend Ball State University in Education and was very active with campus life, where “some diversity and free-thinking happened at last.” She was a member of Pi Beta Phi, President of Panhellenic, Secretary of the Student Body and participated in Theatre projects. She graduated 12th in her class in 1968 as an honor student and was awarded the John R. Emens Outstanding Senior Award. On December 28, 1968, she married Donald Sexton in Columbia City.

In her own words Susie stated: “Fortunately or unfortunately, I seem to have been, always and in all ways, inhabiting the observation position rather than leading the way, so I am making up for lost time by recording my thoughts such as they are and once were.”

Professional roles included actor at Wagon Wheel, First Pres and Arena Theatres; original faculty member at McMillen Health Center; English teacher at Marshall Memorial Middle School in Columbia City and NorthWood High School in Napanee; English instructor at International Business College; PTA President at Indian Village Elementary; curator at the Whitley County Historical Museum; columnist and feature writer for Talk of the Town and the Columbia City Post and Mail; author of two books – Secrets of an Old Typewriter and More Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Misunderstood Gargoyles and Overrated Angels; and contributor to several published anthologies including Dearborn Public Library “Big Read” series. She was a staunch advocate for animal rights issues.www.susieduncansexton.com.

In a nomination for the Whitley County Hall of Fame, Don Sexton wrote: “Susie’s vigor and animation bring life and vitality to our ever-changing community. Since 1987, with an extensive article in the Whitley County Historical Bulletin, regarding the history of Blue Bell in Columbia City, Susie has been writing articles extolling the Columbia City/Whitley Country spirit. Today, Susie is still ‘selling’ the Blue Bell building by gathering and writing historical information for a Chicago architecture historian to place the building on the National Register of Historic Places.” This was a crucial step in bringing back to life the Blue Bell building and led to the Blue Bell Lofts opening successfully in 2017.

“Susie’s writings have also challenged current leaders to seriously weigh their decisions with their impact on future generations.”

“All this has been done with humor, grace, and the excellent structure only an English teacher can muster.”

All of these are examples of insights from the brilliant mind, soul, and life’s work of Susie Sexton. She will be remembered most for her dynamic, inclusive, and honest spirit by those who loved and knew her so well and who held her dearly in their hearts.

Susie is survived by her husband, Don Sexton; son, Roy (John Mola) Sexton; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her sisters, Shirley Jagger and Sarah McBride; and brothers-in-law, Eldon “Guy” Jagger and Charles “Mac” McBride.

Memorial donations may be given in memory to Whitley County Humane Society.

Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send Susie’s family online condolences or sign the online guest book.

Susie on her career …

As I consider myself nothing nor nobody more than Peter Sellers in Being There or at my liveliest as Inspector Clousseau, it is difficult to make “Susie” sound interesting? I am proudest of being the Mother of Roy, whom I consider the person I would most wish to be. I grew up in a very small town, and after having ventured briefly out and away, returned to my roots, be that what it may, and I shall discuss that aspect of my life some other day? I love to rhyme, and I always have time…for stray animals and causes which involve “innocents” being victimized by our self-centered society.

I graduated third in my high school class and happily moved onto college days where some diversity and free-thinking happened at last.  I graduated 12th in that university class and won the first ever JOHN R. EMENS award for THE most outstanding senior.  Then, I taught for a few years, until Roy was born.  I have served as a publicist, a health lecturer and a Sunday School coordinator, and now I am an unpaid columnist sharing nostalgic trips to the past as I have achieved such an old age that no one remains who can question the authenticity of definitive, distinct memories of places, people and events which were very much never what they were ever cracked up to be. 

Fortunately or unfortunately, I seem to have been, always and in all ways, inhabiting the observation position rather than leading the way, so I am making up for lost time by recording my thoughts such as they are and once were. Recently having engaged in the wifely capacity of cheering on a male for a mayoral contest, I may finally develop my very first ulcer. I had to hush all my independent thinking and gaze lovingly into space while the world of human nature spun eerily and manically all about myself!

As you can tell, fitting my persona (-ae) into pigeonholes is impossible for me ever to accomplish. Thus, I present to you my biography (RESUME ME ;D ) which has always centered on family…and, by association, watching everybody else wave good-bye to me as those members fly off … proms, vacations, reproducing themselves right and left, marriages, and the occasional puzzling affiliation. 

My favorite play would, of course, be Carson McCullers’ Member of the Wedding (from her novel of the same title) as I have searched for the “We of Me” since toddler days and always come up wanting. In my next life, I shall finally have figured out how to make this world a better place full of tolerance and inclusiveness and understanding for all forms of life—the only prayer I ever pray.

Love you for considering my thoughts important…Susie, In a Sense…a Broad!

Photos courtesy Nancy Myrland

• Susie on writing …

Writing heals my soul. It has offered me a safe harbor from which to reflect on a life fully lived, on the influences and history of living in Columbia City, Indiana for the bulk of my life, on my appreciation for my kind and gracious parents Roy and Edna Duncan, on my love of movies and theatre and animals, and on my interests in the environment and political life and the intersection of the two.

I’ve been fortunate over the past twenty years to have others take an interest in my thoughts, to be able to publish across a wide spectrum of outlets, and to have the support of my son Roy Sexton. I’ve dubbed him “Maxwell Perkins, the editor and sometimes muse of my beloved Thomas Wolfe.

Susie on her childhood – excerpt from her column “LITTLE HOUSE ON … the back lot!” …

Tab Hunter, Lyle Bettger, Alec Guinness, Doris Day, Audie Murphy, Curt Jurgens, Sessue Hayakawa, James Whitmore and Gloria Grahame all lived in my back yard in the early fifties.  So did Johnny Lillich, Craig Langohr, Jill Whiteleather, Steve More, Lester Gaff, Jane Ann Morsches, Mary Ann and Martha Squires.  Still wishing that Bobby Morsches mighta dropped by once in awhile, too!

My surrogate grandpa whom I nicknamed “Uncle Jim”, so as not to imply his elderly status, and my daddy built a 10 ft. by 10 ft. imperfectly square playhouse crafted from discarded Blue Bell button boxes and equipped with an inter-office phone system.  Uncle Jim Elliott, spelled with “two Ls and two Ts”, not only served as a Presbyterian deacon but also as master of all trades thus rating as THE accomplished architect if the truth be told.  My dad probably held the ladder steady and handed up the tools much like a surgeon’s nurse.  My mom often advised that we never ask Daddy for the “stars” since his talent for climbing ladders seemed non-existent!

Childhood’s assignment? Play house! As well as airplane cockpit, grocery store, tea party, army barracks, New York Madison Avenue advertising office, recording studio, Wimbledon “Croquet” Cup headquarters, and mostly movie set.

Exhausting! Young imaginations ran rampant. History got made. Popularity belonged to the Duncan sisters for approximately a half dozen summers.

Our side-yard served as a tennis court located somewhere akin to Malibu where PAT AND MIKE withstood re-enactment minus Hepburn and Tracy but instead starring a couple of sweaty seven year olds chasing badminton shuttlecocks!  World War II AND Korean War victories emerged from a command center supervised by some kid posing as a tough general, impersonating John Wayne at his highest and mightiest!  POW camps a la STALAG 17 maybe occurred when we were at our grimmest.  BATTLE CRY! …

Two phones, one in “mama’s kitchen” and the other entirely ours, provided the highlight of “hit-of-the-neighborhood” revelry emanating from the playhouse—for a brief time. Bunches of squealing, mobile, neighborhood kids rushed frenetically about the real house and our outback house just to call one another repeatedly. In and out. Pressing each mother-of-pearl button, we gleefully initiated two-way incessant ring-ring-ringing; conversations began non-stop. How miraculously odd that an unnoticed “freakish” lightning bolt eventually established one-way, out-going messaging from a more relaxed, coffee-sipping mom instructing that all drama must end for the day and kids should return to their own homes before sunset. Time for supper! Her credo, from that fateful day forward: “Don’t you dare call me; I’ll call you!”

Full video here: https://www.demoneygrimes.com/obituary/Susie-Sexton

• Susie on her family – excerpt from her column “This Happily Haunted House” …

Now, back at the computer to write of an elopement on September 18 of 1930 and a young couple of individuals starting life together in the Carolinas, I reach out to capture two frisky, feisty, plucky ghosts named Roy and Edna. On the fingers of one hand I calculate the number of times I clashed with either one or the other or, worse, that instant united front which they masterfully conjured up when faced with the sassiness of an errant child. And contrary to the views of some rotten publicists, I do not answer to misguided identifications as either “spoiled” or “brat”. I am — always have been — one respectful kid who enjoyed a very special relationship with my parents. The three of us — for 10 years joined at the hips (my married sisters in their own houses) — had an absolute ball! I was blessed to realize that fact in real time. All mine!

My “folks” — an apt, quaint, typically Southern reference –really still should be alive to preen for their 82nd anniversary picture…but “posing” did not fit their style. My mom detested corsages, tore up pix of herself, and possessed the talent to have outwritten Margaret Mitchell, Lillian Hellman, or Dorothy Parker. She preferred to remain unnoticed yet occasionally penned perfect poetry for which she once received a personal, hand-written “thank you” note from Jacqueline Kennedy. My dad died at the exact age that every Duncan dies…from a cerebral hemorrhage which is an appropriately rugged Scotsman’s usual adieu to this world. Endure what life hands you; think independently; live with gusto; never back down; laugh often and exit quickly one fine day, with little fanfare, singing, “…And Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye…”! (“Loch Lomond”) Kind, beautiful individuals.

Neither phony nor stereotypical, my parents disagreed often, attended church regularly for networking and spiritual rejuvenation with a minimal dose of dogma, quietly performed good deeds, valued and strengthened family ties yet at a reasonable distance, maintained serious friendships throughout their lifetimes, and only neared divorce court when my dad bought a new car without permission or “adopted” pets without consultation or engaged in small downtown store ownership/co-management with “Snooks”/Edna which lasted about ten minutes. The “Corral” may be remembered by many of you. My dad paid dearly for offering Wranglers at an affordable price — small town retailers do not enjoy competition no matter what they say. Our store paled in comparison to the Wal-Mart empire we all know and love presently. To this day, I borrow a treasured tip from my old man; when human beings behave like jack-asses, I simply diplomatically refer to such types as “damned peculiar” and move on with my life, brushing off my jeans while celebrating my genes!

Video courtesy Nancy Myrland

• Susie on life – excerpt from her column “Fiddle Dee Dee, I’m Thankful for Russell Crowe”

My name might as well be “Maximus Decimus Meridius”, and I am here to explain myself and my family and how we classify as GLADiators. Sure, we count our blessings every November and then give mighty thanks for…stamina!

Personally, I defend spider monkeys as I chastise NASA, who brought manKIND Tang, for daring to consider radiation experiments on those sentient darlings with the prehensile tails. Courageously, I embrace the “Vegan” community. I chat with foreigners long into the night and learn about other cultures and beliefs. I praise free-form poetry efforts by budding writers, young rock-stars’ home-made music videos, or slide-shows of somebody’s grand-kids. Facebook serves as my “ham radio”, a glittering hold-over from the ’50s when families gathered into basements and sat around some old codger friend as he spoke, ignoring annoying static, with disembodied voices lord knows where in the universe. I am now that solitary, persevering codger hovering over the newer plasticized Dell version of “wanna communicate with the world?” And I do. Don’t you?

“No crying allowed” in the online arena, but sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, I sob. Continuation of carpal-tunnel-producing-typing prevails as I persist in posting photo albums featuring dejected, forlorn, homeless pups, kittens, dogs, and lactating cats with newborns scheduled for “heart-sticking” in every “shelter” (often a misnomer) in North Carolina and in Youngstown, Ohio while gassing’s the modus operandi in all of Georgia. Punishment for this sensitive soul…but someone has to do it and millions are! Facebook’s so highly populated that it qualifies as the third largest country in the world, and I am part of a legion of soldiers sustained by never-ending cups of strong coffee. Gonna keel over and die at this keyboard–all for the preservation of the animal kingdom!

In the offline arena, we consider ourselves rugged individualists, for instance golfing when we feel like it–no league play–or swimming at Burnworth after trudging three blocks through our neighborhood on sweltering summer afternoons. We volunteer unendingly, never travel, and do without nutty luxuries. I write a couple of nostalgia columns. Don answers questions about community developments and lends a sympathetic ear to his customers, whether those queries arise at work or out dining at which time I channel Lewis Black as I converse about the day’s activities–and politics! I am a book-keeper and an amateur veterinarian. We trip over our family of furry children forever underfoot. Our Himalayan cat named Dalai Lama once sent me to the emergency room. We respond to door-bells ringing and land phones and cell phones, too. At least one of us earned a Phi Beta Kappa Key, but that family member moved on to greener pastures.

Our home, except for its endearingly modest status, cannot be distinguished from that cinematic house in New England where jittery Kate Hepburn and perplexed Cary Grant chase a leopard all over the grounds of the estate only to be interrupted by a tiny pampered dog burying a valuable dinosaur bone which can never be retrieved. BRINGING UP BABY meets CHRISTMAS VACATION every day. Happy, contented exhaustion and confusion never cease. Something breaks…we figure out how to fix it or pay the huge honking bill. Over and over again. We mow our own lawn, rake leaves, and shovel snow–over and over again. We survive medical tribulations and the accompanying angst–over and over again. For fun, constant music emanates from our Bose system and spontaneous competitive card games pepper our days.

My dad, toward the end of his life, sighed, “Does busy-ness never end?” when I asked him to pick up some heartworm pills at Doc Waterfall’s clinic formerly beside the Presbyterian Church. After a lifetime of assuring that we kids had pets and that those vital, revered members of our family had wonderful medical care, Daddy thought those days were over–i.e., walking down the alley behind Smith’s funeral home to that little red building which smelled of ammonia and fuzzy critters. “Our Ft. Wayne docs charge more than C.C.’s vets,” I pleaded as my sporadically Bob Cratchitty, “ever a new bride on a budget” mind calculated the total bill. I suppose “life-styles” we have crafted, and furthermore seldom can crawl out of, will indeed end one day, but “In the meantime, all we’re given is this in-between time” and should relish each moment with gratitude.

Author Oscar Wilde believed that only dull folks recorded their thoughts or chronicled their activities in memoir fashion. Hey, Oscar, while one is living through all of this frantic cyclonic activity, the daily grind qualifies as anything but dull, buddy! A legitimate “De Profundis”!

For example, while playing House Frau, I once attempted to thaw, via a constant trickle from the bathtub faucet, and then roast my very first and last, dear, free, tiny turkey several seasons ago when Kroger issued bonus points in exchange for vital statistics about each customer which generated those pesky little cards on our keychains. A water main on our street busted for starters, and I felt so guilty. Never again! I harbor no desire to emulate Betty Crocker nor the fabulous young cook next door, at the time, who demonstrated the proper size blue speckled pan for my carcass which I truly felt I should name. Jeanne positioned herself as if hosting a cooking show, in her dining room across the driveway from my kitchen window, and held all the required “fixings” aloft as I leaned on my sink laughing at her rather than copying each move. My burgeoning credo at that instant: Why not just allow turkeys to live out their lives?

The final result a culinary and animal welfare disaster, I sulked and grieved while repeating Scarlett O’Hara’s remorseful melodramatic statement following her shooting down a Yankee intruder, “Well, I guess now I’ve done murder.” We manage, though, to have plenty of ingenious casseroles as we celebrate our vegetarian holiday so that “as God is our witness, we’ll never go hungry again”! Until about midnight? And wouldn’t Scarlett qualify as a gladiator? Who else in all of literature, filmdom, or TV-Land substituted a curtain rod for shoulder pads, courtesy of Bob Mackie?

See you at the movies. I’ll be spending time in the dark with my idol Russell Crowe while enjoying pop-corn and milk duds, “cine-muck” (Critic Gene Siskel’s word for discarded gum wads and spilled sticky soft drinks) beneath my weary feet!

Thank you, Susie – your bright spirit impacted the world

My mother Susie Duncan Sexton made me who I am. There will never be another like her: brilliant, beautiful, deep-feeling, passionate, inclusive, impish, kind. My heart is so full of you.

Susie Elizabeth Duncan Sexton, 75, of Columbia City, IN, passed away unexpectedly Friday, August 6, 2021, at her home. Born on May 14, 1946, in Fort Wayne, she was the daughter of Roy and Edna (Lewis) Duncan.

She grew up in Columbia City and graduated from Columbia City Joint High School with the Class of 1964. Susie went on to attend Ball State University in Education and was very active with campus life. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi, President of Panhellenic, Secretary of the Student Body and participated in Theatre projects. She graduated 12th in her class in 1968 as an honor student and was awarded the John R. Emens Outstanding Senior Award. On December 28, 1968, she married Donald Sexton in Columbia City.

Professional roles included actor at Wagon Wheel, First Pres and Arena Theatres; original faculty member at McMillen Health Center; English instructor at International Business College; PTA President at Indian Village Elementary; curator at the Whitley County Historical Museum; columnist and feature writer for Talk of the Town and the Columbia City Post and Mail; author of two books – Secrets of an Old Typewriter and More Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Misunderstood Gargoyles and Overrated Angels; and contributor to several published anthologies including Dearborn Public Library “Big Read” series. She was a staunch advocate for animal rights issues. http://www.susieduncansexton.com

Susie is survived by her husband, Don Sexton; son, Roy (John Mola) Sexton; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her sisters, Shirley Jagger and Sarah McBride; and brothers-in-law, Eldon “Guy” Jagger and Charles “Mac” McBride.

Friends may call on Tuesday August 10, 2021, from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Susie’s family requests that guests attending services wear a mask during their visit.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Wednesday August 11, 2021, at the funeral home. The funeral service may also be watched live on Facebook through DeMoney Grimes Live. Burial will follow in Greenhill Cemetery, Columbia City.

Memorial donations may be given in memory to Whitley County Humane Society.

Visit http://www.demoneygrimes.com to send Susie’s family online condolences or sign the online guest book.

Susie Duncan Sexton’s remarks at Blue Bell Lofts grand opening: https://youtu.be/RmX26S5o3vs

Rob Kates gave my mother such a feeling of self and visibility and love this terrible past year. I’m so grateful for that. View his tribute here: https://fb.watch/7eVL4-IKIk/

Rob writes, “For all our LMCT fans, one of the best parts of having Roy Sexton host was our regular calls to his Mom, Susie Sexton. Sadly, Susie passed away unexpectedly in her home on this past Thursday. We will miss her wit, passion and the love she had for Roy and all of us. Mostly we’ll miss seeing the love Roy had for her, all of which you can share with us in this short visit we had from her during our recent Pride Month show.”

AND his “director’s cut” here: https://youtu.be/gNulgyTNiHM

One of the highlights of my mother Susie Sexton’s life was seeing her beloved Blue Bell factory, which my grandfather Roy Duncan managed for decades, reimagined for loft living. She was instrumental in the research that led to its historic designation, and she provided the keynote at the grand re-opening.

Enjoy her here in her element and at her finest: https://youtu.be/RmX26S5o3vs

From Patty: “Our tribute to Susie Sexton on the Patty’s Page TV Show, with co-hosts Terry Doran and Patty Hunter …”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ePAtbFQh5A&t=85s&ab_channel=abitibibob
“part one of two parts interview with Don and Susie Sexton and co-host Terry Doran”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2uENaQ32rw&t=245s&ab_channel=abitibibob
“part two of two parts interview with Don and Susie Sexton, and co-host Terry Doran”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA_zB6ZQL3s&t=35s&ab_channel=abitibibob
“with Susie Sexton”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odbivWmG6J8&t=919s&ab_channel=abitibibob
“finally, an interview with Susie Sexton and her son, Roy Sexton… with Terry Doran as co-host…. Don Sexton was also there in the background”

Yours truly as The Pied Piper of Hamelin for Pass the Time Players + quick takes on the films Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Promising Young Woman

For kids of all ages – the #PiedPiper – with yours truly reading the title role. Thank you, Debbie DeCeco Lannen and Pass The Time Players, for having me. NOTE: no (virtual) rats were harmed in the making of this #Zoom event. You’re welcome. 😊 🐀 🎶

FACEBOOK: https://fb.watch/4nIAR3zxgD/

YOUTUBE: https://youtu.be/d4vjGcRynFU

The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Narrator: Debbie Lannen / Orlando, FL
Merchant: Sally Daykin / DeLand, FL
Erich – Kyle Coykendall / Wixom, MI
Advisor: Tomothy Majzlik / Westland, MI
Mayor: Joe Lannen / Orlando, FL
Pied Piper: Roy Sexton / Saline, MI

Only I would take this beautiful day, and spend most of it indoors, working my way through the very long Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But it was worth it. Even if every 30 minutes John wandered through and said “Is this still on?”

I can barely remember the theatrical version, which is likely for the best. What I found in this updated version is that Snyder had room to explore ideas and relationships. And that made all the difference. I am not a fan of his work. By any stretch. But, perhaps because of what he has lived through the past few years, this film had something many of his previous efforts did not: heart.

My mom Susie Sexton’s take on Carey Mulligan’s Promising Young Woman:

GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY…already loved this actress … discovered her on PBS in a Dickens entry years ago. Outstanding!

This movie upends with its surreal treatment of a very real truth bedeviling this globe since the appearance of manKIND walking on its own evolved two feet – astounding, disturbing and so true and sad that it hurts, haunts and breaks any heart that is the least bit human.

The barbie doll sets and clothes simply enhance the deep damage done to humanity as we have all looked the other way and endured unnecessary heartache. Give it a look, enjoy!

No nudity, and only one supposed murder. An oddly wholesome at times comedic treatment of a tragic problem. Bravo!

Threw this viewer for a loop (which most all of us have existed within for all of eternity). Truth on film if there ever ever was. Whew?

Legal Marketing Association – Midwest “Your Honor Awards” … hosted by yours truly #lmamkt

<giggle>

WATCH VIDEO: https://fb.watch/2-3FH_lfg5/

ICYMI – LMA Midwest Your Honor Awards were hosted today by yours truly. And only about eight technical snafus this time. 🤣 Thank you, LMA Midwest Region, Maureen Fechter Farr, Liz Highley Boehm, Megan McKeon, Laura Toledo, Rob Kates for the opportunity and for putting up with me.

Original event description: “Let’s celebrate! Please join us on Wednesday, January 13 at 11:30am CST/12:30pm EST to recognize the winners of our 2020 LMA Midwest Your Honor Awards. The virtual program will be live streamed courtesy of Kates Media: Video Production. Hosted by Roy Sexton, LMA International Treasurer and Director of Marketing at Clark Hill PLC, the program will feature video clips and visuals from award winners. What better way to start off 2021 than by showcasing the great work of legal marketers in the Midwest!

“THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: A special thanks to Rothschild Marketing for sponsoring the 2020 Your Honor Awards. Rothschild Marketing solves firms’ promo problems – and puts the fun back in swag! The company produces super cool client gifts and unforgettable events for professional services companies. We also thank Rob Kates of Kates Media, producer of high quality, high value, high ROI video content and live steaming programming for the legal industry, for his role in making the live program possible.”

WATCH VIDEO: https://fb.watch/2-3FH_lfg5/ – ❤️

A series. Titled: “A study in moments of white hot panic when one’s husband turns on the TV and suddenly internet slows to a crawl.” Catchy, huh?

Thank you so much for #keepingfamiliesclose

We did it! $4,000 raised for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor. “Thank You So Much” from Do I Hear A Waltz? by Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim. (One of my mother Susie Sexton’s favorites. And, yes, I thought I’d be sly and have the lyrics to the side while I recorded this, but it’s pretty darn obvious from my constantly shifting eyes that I don’t know the words. LOL!)

Thank You So Much” from Do I Hear A Waltz?

Thank you for helping celebrate my birthday month (December 28 to be exact!) by helping others! Your contributions make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500 – here is the link to the fundraising page: https://lnkd.in/eQ_NVZD

Look No Further” from No Strings

I’m a proud board member of RMHCAA and have seen firsthand how every little bit makes a huge difference. Thank you SO MUCH for your incredible support! Love you. ❤️

It’s a Quiet Thing” from Flora the Red Menace

Happy New Year!

Thank you to these wonderful donors! (Apologies to anyone missed – these are screen captures from the record Facebook provides.)

Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Wonderful miscellany …

Going through the week’s mail, and I spy this gem! Another hidden Wabash College connection or two: the Blue Bell plant manager mentioned here was my grandfather Roy Duncan, and JoEllen Adams, Jim Adams’ daughter, was a close friend of my mother Susie Sexton. JoEllen was a big influence on me choosing Wabash as was Bob. The Lilly Fellowship I received helped too. 😊

Congrats, Ellen and Bob Kellogg, on this well-deserved recognition – and thank you for your support of Wabash! Happy New Year and Wabash Always Fights!

Love this, David Troutman, Scott Feller, and team!

Thank you, Holly Maurer-Klein, SHRM-SCP, for this inclusion in HR/Advantage Advisory LLC, Powered by Clark Hill PLC’s year-end newsletter. Happy New Year, all! #Gratitude is more essential than ever these days.

Thank You For Being A Friend

“Throughout the year, Clark Hill Law PLC (HR/AA is a division of Clark Hill) holds Town Hall Meetings where the firm communicates and celebrates promotions, business wins, and goal achievement. For the year-end meeting in 2020, the firm decided to do something different. As Roy E. Sexton, Director of Marketing, described it recently, ‘our executive team at Clark Hill identified gratitude as the core theme for our year-end Town Hall. We organized a survey to collect examples in our colleagues’ own words and had them submit video shout-outs.’ Employees–the IT team and administrative staff who kept the firm’s wheels turning, fellow attorneys who had been quick to jump in to help when someone was sick or absent–heard heartfelt, personalized, and public descriptions of the impact of the ‘behind the scenes’ work that they had done. As an observer, it was uplifting. As Roy described it, ‘the results were phenomenal. People felt seen and heard and, most importantly, appreciated.’”

Read the rest here: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/HR-Advantage-Advisory-Update.html?soid=1102052405635&aid=ZAf78rQa5gI

Cameo personalized holiday message from actor Mark Sheppard

There is good in this world. We were blown away, Megan McKeon and Eric Lewandowski, by this incredible Christmas gift. John and I are big Supernatural fans, and Mark Sheppard’s “Crowley” is a particular fave. But even more, what he says here in his message is so heartfelt and kind and inclusive and loving. We were both incredibly moved by his words, and I suspect others will be as well. Megan and Eric – and Mark! – we love you very much. Our hearts are full.

Vintage holiday fun with my mom, her sisters Shirley and Sarah, and parents Edna and Roy

“If you dream it, you can achieve it” – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Prom, Midnight Sky, Wonder Woman 1984 … and Cimarron?

Joe: You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.

Norma: I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.

From Sunset Boulevard

“If you dream it, you can achieve it.” – Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) in Wonder Woman 1984

“Nothing good is born from lies.” – Diana (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman 1984

Sadly, this seems to be the season of watching big ticket blockbusters crammed onto a home screen. Furthermore, this seems to be the season where all of your Facebook friends march like lemmings to tell you what you’re supposed to think of said offerings before you even have had a chance to view them for yourself. Being the good-natured contrarian that my parents raised, I find myself in direct opposition to much of the feedback I’ve observed. To me, The Prom was kind-hearted escapism-with-attitude, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was a stagy self-indulgent slog, Midnight Sky was a resonant Truman Capote-meets-Ray Bradbury short (long) story, and Wonder Woman 1984 was a candy-coated (admittedly overstuffed) confection.

I loved The Prom. I, for one, like unapologetic musicals, and this Ryan Murphy production reads like Hairspray, The Greatest Showman, High School Musical, and Bye Bye Birdie had a socially progressive movie baby. Much needless ado has been made about (formerly?) beloved Carpool Karaoke maven James Corden playing a gay character, claiming his take is offensively stereotypical. Many critics’ descriptions have been as troubling as what they accuse Corden of perpetuating, if you ask me.

To me, it is one of Corden’s better and more thoughtful performances, layering broad comedy in a compelling gauze of pathos, to effectively depict a man struggling to find his path in the margins (in career, physicality, and, yes, sexuality). Corden is part of a free-wheeling quartet of Broadway narcissists (all compensating for respective ghosts of failures past) who descend on a small Indiana town to “rescue” it from its own prejudices after the local PTA shames and embarrasses a young lesbian (luminous newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman) in a way that would make even John Travolta’s character in Carrie cringe.

Meryl Streep (channeling a caustic yet charming mix of Patti LuPone and Susan Lucci), Nicole Kidman (at her most winsomely fragile), and Andrew Rannells (all bounding and puppyish joy) are Corden’s partners in well-intentioned, occasionally misplaced crime, and they have fabulous chemistry. Kerry Washington is suitably evangelically vampy as the rigid PTA president, and Keegan-Michael Key is a pleasant surprise (both as a singer and actor) as the high school’s show tune loving principal. Tracey Ullmann pops up as Corden’s regretful Midwestern ma, and their reconciliation scene is a lovely little masterclass in heightened understatement.

Oh, right, I did say the movie is kicky fun, but nothing I’ve written here much indicates why. Working from Matthew Sklar’s buoyant Broadway production, Murphy and team overdo everything in all the right ways, juxtaposing all-too-real intolerance and heartache (basically everyone in the film is guilty of uninformed prejudice of one kind or another) with the metaphysical joys of unhinged singing, dancing, glitter, and sequins. All ends (predictably) happily, almost Shakespearean (if Shakespeare listened to Ariana Grande), and I dare you not to sit through the end credits with a stupid, hopeful grin on your face.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is also adapted from the stage, as legendary director George C. Wolfe brings August Wilson’s play to the screen. I suspect my disappointment is more to do with the source material than Wolfe’s sure-handed if claustrophobic direction. To be honest, I wanted more of Viola Davis’ dynamite Ma Rainey and less of … everyone else. Davis has one scene worthy of the Hollywood time capsule, eviscerating the misogynistic and racist capitalist machine that steals artists’ voices (quite literally as Rainey is committing her vocals to vinyl) and tosses people to the curb when they’ve outlived their usefulness.

The film depicts one day in a Chicago recording studio as Rainey fights with, well, anyone who crosses her path in defense of her vision and to retain her integrity in a world that reduces her to a commodity. THAT is the movie I wanted to see, but Wolfe gives preferred time to Rainey’s studio musicians, a group of men whose primary purpose seems to be representing inter-generational animosity among those with a Y-chromosome. Perhaps I’ve just had my fill for one lifetime of toxic male posturing, but I grew weary of their (endless) scenes.

In total, the film feels like it never really escapes the confines of the stage, and I may be among the few viewers underwhelmed by Chadwick Boseman’s performance. His work seems hammy and like he is in search of another movie altogether. I could be wrong, but the overwhelming praise for Boseman here feels like groupthink rhapsodizing given that he is no longer with us. I’m going to hell. See you there. Boseman remains a singular talent, but I don’t think time will be kind to this particular role, Oscar-winning as it likely will be.

Wonder Woman 1984 follows the loping narrative style of all inexplicably beloved films made in, well, 1984, and thereby is a kind of referendum on the cardboard excess and shallow instant gratification of that hollow era, nostalgia for which continues to plague us in insidious ways to this very day.

I found it nicely character driven with a strong cast and with a warm and (mostly) light touch, but plagued by some script/logic problems in its final act. All in all, it met my comics-loving expectations, and I enjoyed what they were doing. Gal Gadot remains a commanding presence in a way we just don’t see in screen stars these days. She’s not an actor per se, but she is a star.

Director Patty Jenkins has great Rube Goldberg-esque fun with one improbable action sequence after another. All were clearly nods to similar films of the 80s featuring, say, Superman or Indiana Jones but enhanced through modern Fast and the Furious-style tech and suspension of disbelief. I’m not looking for pragmatism in a movie like this. Sometimes I just want to be entertained, and WW84 did that for me

Jenkins makes the smart choice of casting talent who will connect the dots in a wafer-thin script. In the film, Kristen Wiig consistently makes smart acting choices as her character progresses from heartbreakingly nerdy sidekick to sullen and insolent supervillain, never losing the heartache of exclusion underneath it all. I thought she was a refreshing and inspired choice to play Barbara Minerva/Cheetah.

Dreamy/witty Chris Pine doesn’t get much dialogue/plot to work with as newly resurrected love interest Steve Trevor, but he shines nonetheless, wringing laughs from fish-out-of-water nuance without ever belaboring the joke.

Pedro Pascal balances Trumpian satire and Babbitt-esque tragedy as a gilded charlatan who believes 80s greed is the key to self-acceptance. He’s grand until the dodgy final act strands him somewhere on manic Gene Wilder-isle, and the film limps to its inevitable world-saving resolution.

I also think if people had watched WW84 on the big screen, they would have walked away with a different vibe. Some may disagree, but there’s a hidden psychological bump to paying for a ticket and investing time away from home (one WANTS the movie to be good) that is erased by the small screen – which has little to do with what is actually being viewed. IMHO.

The global warming parable Midnight Sky (directed by and starring George Clooney), however, benefits from small screen viewing. That said, the film’s outer space, nail biting, race-against-time elements have all been covered (sometimes better) in The Martian, Interstellar, Ad Astra, and George Clooney’s own Gravity. Hell, throw in Event Horizon, Sunshine, and The Black Hole for good measure.

Rather, I enjoyed the film’s quiet moments with Clooney as the sole (maybe?) survivor on an ice-covered Earth, as he fights the elements, time, and his own failing health to deter a deep-space crew from returning to their certain death on an uninhabitable planet. I didn’t give two hoots about the space mission, which included Felicity Jones, Kyle Chandler, David Oyelowo, and Tiffany Boone, all doing their level best to make us care. However, I was transfixed by an almost unrecognizable Clooney who checked his golden boy charm at the door and exquisitely projected the exhaustion and anxiety and fear of someone nearing the literal end. So, in other words, how most of us feel in 2020.

If it were up to me, I would edit out all of the space-faring scenes and leave the film’s focus on George Clooney alone in a post-apocalyptic arctic, yielding a transcendent hour-long Twilight Zone episode.

Now, let’s see how I fare in the Twitterverse when I finally turn to watching Disney’s/Pixar’s Soul

Postscript … what follows is an email sent to my mother Susie Sexton this afternoon about 1960’s classic Cimarron. They don’t make movies like this any more, and that’s a shame.

From IMDB’s synopsis: “The epic saga of a frontier family, Cimarron starts with the Oklahoma Land Rush on 22 April 1889. The Cravet family builds their newspaper Oklahoma Wigwam into a business empire and Yancey Cravet is the adventurer-idealist who, to his wife’s anger, spurns the opportunity to become governor since this means helping to defraud the native Americans of their land and resources.”

I just finished Cimarron and liked it very very much. I do think that Edna Ferber captures perhaps somewhat formulaically but absolutely effectively, the passage and snowballing magnitude of time and life, with a lovely progressive sensibility (pun unintended).

Maria Schell is exquisite. I don’t think the film would’ve been half as good without her in it. I really like Anne Baxter too. Their one scene together is quite understated and powerful.

Glenn Ford is of course great too, but Maria Schell really got to me. She acts in a style ahead of its time. It’s a beautiful film, but at least in the first ten minutes I kept expecting them to burst into song. When it really digs into their struggle and unpredictable relationship, it’s very powerful. The supporting cast was of course great since all of those people had been in one million films already.

Thanks for recommending this! Love you!

My family loves movies. We always have. It is our cultural shorthand, and every holiday – until this one – has been spent in communion over what movies we saw, how they made us think and feel, and what these films might say about our culture and its advancement. That is in short why I write this blog. I can’t imagine watching a movie without having the opportunity to share how it speaks to my heart and mind.

Thank you for reading these thoughts of mine for nearly ten years (!), inspired as they are by a lifetime of loving movies.