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Susan N. (Ellis) Crutchfield

March 16, 2024

Susan Crutchfield Obituary

Dr. Susan Ellis Crutchfield, a trailblazing physician and beloved sister, wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away in Saint Paul on March 16, 2024, at the age of 83. 

Susan was born on July 29, 1940 in Charleston, West Virginia, and moved with her family to Minnesota in 1947. Susan's life was marked by extraordinary scholarship and achievements; an unwavering love for her family and friends; and a selfless commitment to improving health outcomes for all, and especially within the Black community. Susan was a dedicated physician and made groundbreaking contributions to both healthcare services and medical insurance.

She earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 1963 – making history as the first Black woman and the youngest person (at 22 years old) to graduate from the University of Minnesota Medical School. 

Dr. Crutchfield started her career as a family physician in South Minneapolis, and then worked at the Minneapolis office of Prudential Insurance Company, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, for two decades. She began as Associate Medical Director, while also practicing occupational medicine, and finished her career there as Vice President of Medical Services. Subsequently, she was Metropolitan Health Plan Director at Hennepin County Medical Center for a decade. 

Throughout her life, Dr. Crutchfield endeavored to improve the health of others, especially within the Black community. She volunteered as a family doctor and as a board member at Southside Clinic in Minneapolis for 10 years.

Susan loved traveling with her husband Robert Mitsch. In retirement, Susan was thrilled to spend time with her precious grandchildren and always eager to be a part of their lives.

Susan was preceded in death by her parents, Carter Vernard Ellis and Mary Jackson Ellis; her brother Carter III; and her son Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, III. She is survived by her devoted husband, Robert Mitsch; her cherished sons Carleton (Linda) Crutchfield, Christopher (Thu-Mai) Crutchfield, and Robert B. Mitsch; her daughter-in-law Laurie Crutchfield; her sister, Joy Ellis Bartlett; her 15 cherished grandchildren; and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, other family members, and friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Doctors Without Borders would be welcomed tributes in honor of Susan’s legacy. Burial at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis. Arrangements by O’Halloran & Murphy, Saint Paul.

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