Susan Souders Obrecht, former owner of Baltimore magazine and other local publications, passed away at the age of 61 on Sunday at her home in Greenwich, Connecticut with her family by her side.
A Minneapolis, Minnesota native, Obrecht graduated in the media and publishing field from Ohio Wesleyan University before moving to Baltimore and heading ESS Ventures, which operated several community newspapers in Baltimore County. She also owned Mid-Atlantic Country magazine and then acquired Baltimore magazine in 1992.
"She was a visionary who took this very small community newspaper company and turned it into a significant media force," said Jonathan Witty, the editor of Baltimore during Obrecht's tenure. "She could open any door—whether it was meeting with a local merchant or the chief of Time Inc. It was remarkable."
Obrecht owned Baltimore for two years during a particularly interesting time in which she reimagined the concept of a city magazine and told The Sun that she turned around the company's fortunes. In 1994, Obrecht sold the magazine to its current owner Steve Geppi, but left a memorable legacy behind.
"I remember she would enter the office in a sequin dress or full-length mink coat," said Baltimore account executive Jodi Hammerschlag, whom Obrecht hired. "She brought such an energy to the place and it was always exciting when she was here. Almost like a movie."
Following the sale of the magazine, Obrecht moved new to New York City where she worked for years as a media consultant. An obituary in the Darien Times said that she loved spending time with friends and family, was passionate about politics and fashion, and "was a vibrant and caring soul."
A Memorial Service honoring Susan’s life will be held in Connecticut on Saturday and, in lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory can be made to The Greenwich Hospital Foundation for the benefit of the Bendheim Cancer Center.
"Susan was very fun, by the way," Witty said. "She would breeze through the office and leave this large wake behind her. I don't think anyone who encountered her would forget her."