, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 25, 2013

Activist follows calling to Muskogee

Philadelphia native seeks to revitalize old buildings

— For most of Lisa Susanne’s life, Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA never crossed her mind.

The Philadelphia native was too busy growing up, going to college in Boston, raising a family in Phoenix.

However, a few things happened that helped propel Susanne, now 50, to realize she plays a part of Muskogee’s present, future and past.

Lisa Susanne Bicknell spent the first 18 years of her life in the Philadelphia area. She recalled an unhappy childhood.

“I’m a survivor of child abuse,” Susanne said.

She recalled that, by the time she hit age 18, “I wanted to get out of Dodge. I wanted to leave Pennsylvania. But I didn’t know what I wanted to be.”

She enrolled at Boston University and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

“B.U. had a good engineering program,” she said.

After college, she became a senior marketing engineer for an analog delivery service.

“I met my husband, had my first baby, quit my job and moved to Arizona,” she said.

She spent her Phoenix years raising a daughter and an adopted son from Korea.

Her marriage eventually fell apart.

When she was 43, she found a way to start anew. She dropped her last name and decided to go by her first and middle name. She said she legally became Lisa Susanne on her 44th birthday.

About that time, Susanne and her twin sister decided to explore their Native American heritage. During their research, they discovered they had relatives in Muskogee. After that, Susanne felt led to move here.

She pulls no punches on why she came: “God told me to move here.”

“I left Phoenix on April 15, 2008, and arrived on April 17, 2008, and I didn’t know anybody,” she said.

Meet Lisa Susanne

AGE: 50.

HOMETOWN: Philadelphia.

CAREER: Student; community activist.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in electrical engineering, Boston University.

FAMILY: Two children, Alana and Skylar; two dogs, a twin sister, brother and mother.

CHURCH: First Baptist Church.

HOBBIES: Being with the dogs, knitting, jogging, movies.

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