Susan Bevill Livingston, the oldest child of the late U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill, a Democrat from Jasper, died suddenly on February 28, 2014 after a brain aneurysm. She was 63. Susan Bevill graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1977 and was an assistant attorney general for Alabama and later an assistant U.S. attorney in the Middle District of Alabama. In 1985, she joined Balch & Bingham, where she was a partner in the energy section, a member of the management council, and chair of the diversity committee.
The congressman's daughter loved Girl Scouts, and loved selling Girl Scout cookies. Susan Bevill Livingston, an attorney for 29 years with Balch & Bingham, got involved with Girl Scouts as a troop leader when her daughter, Elizabeth, now 19, was a child. During Girl Scout cookie season, you could find her troop selling cookies in downtown Birmingham. "She used to go to the Advent Episcopal Day school on her lunch break and take her whole troop over to the AmSouth-Harbert Plaza and sell cookies," said Sheila Smith, former chief financial officer for Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama. When her daughter was too old for Girl Scouts, Livingston stayed on as volunteer treasurer, hand-signing every check the agency wrote, and as a board member, Smith said. "She was willing to do anything," Smith said. "She believed in the mission of Girl Scouts. She was very dedicated. She had a passion for women's and girl's organizations."
"Like her father, she always believed in trying to help other people, and I think she was dedicated to that," said her husband, Jim Livingston.
"She's somebody that young professionals looked up to and revered," said attorney Debra Lewis. "She was dignified, lovely, tall, regal in appearance. She was so full of grace and humility. She had a lovely laugh, a beautiful smile. She was a wonderful leader. She led an exemplary full life. She was in the Paddle Club. Every year when the Cahaba Lilies bloomed, she loved to get groups together to go out and look at the Cahaba Lilies."
Livingston tried to get her to go, but Lewis asked, "Are there snakes?"
"She said, 'Yeah, they're everywhere and they'll just jump right in the boat with you.'"
Lewis recalls being on Lake Martin last summer with Livingston, a few years older than her, when Susan suggested they water ski. Neither one had water skied for years, Lewis said. "She had a great zest for life," Lewis said. They were both sore afterward. "The next Monday, she said, 'I can't walk, but we did it.'"Livingston was frequently called on to read scripture in services at her church, Cathedral Church of the Advent.
"She had so much confidence," Lewis said. "I think it had a lot to do with her spiritual side."
The Girl Scouts gave Livingston a Women of Distinction award in 2004 and the Mildred Bell Johnson Award in 2012. She was also a fixture at the YWCA, as a board member and volunteer.
"She brought in ideas, thinking about the women we help, 'What would I need or want if I were in this situation?'" said YWCA CEO Yolanda Sullivan. "She tried to make sure those needs were met, whether it was needing shoes or whatever that client needed. I feel as if a great light is lost to the community. We are going to miss her so much."
The day of her death, the YWCA received a check from Livingston with her contribution to support the organization's April fundraising luncheon, Sullivan said. Lewis agreed with Sullivan that Livingston's death will be felt across the city. "It's a blow to the entire community," Lewis said. "She had so much humility. She was a team player; she never took credit for anything. It was always the team. She had no ego that interfered. She was just a loving, gifted person.