Susan Bayh, Former Indiana First Lady, Dies Of Brain Cancer At 61

Feb 6, 2021

Susan Bayh, former Indiana first lady and attorney, died Friday night at 61 years old from glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
Credit (@SenEvanBayh/Twitter)

Susan Bayh, former Indiana first lady and attorney, died Friday night at 61 years old from glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. She was married to former governor and U.S. senator, Evan Bayh. 

Evan Bayh was elected governor in 1988, making both him and Susan Bayh the youngest Indiana governor and first lady in the state’s history. 

Susan Bayh was born in Whittier, California, in 1959 and attended UC Berkeley before earning her law degree from the University of Southern California Law Center. She met Evan Bayh while interning for former U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) in Washington, D.C. They married in 1985.

In 1994, Susan Bayh was appointed by then President Bill Clinton to the International Joint Commission. She served for six years, overseeing compliance with environmental and water treaties for the U.S.-Canadian border.

She was licensed to practice law in both Indiana and Washington, D.C. Susan Bayh specialized in antitrust and corporate law.

She had brain surgery in 2015 to remove a plum-sized benign brain tumor. In May 2018, her family announced she had another brain tumor removed – this time an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

Susan Bayh’s family announced her death in a statement released on Twitter Saturday morning. 

“Susan was a model of courage and resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity,” the statement said. “Despite a multitude of hardships, she continued to display her exuberance, happiness, and love for others. Her fortitude was truly unbelievable and an example for us all.”

She is survived by her husband Evan Bayh; sons, Nick and Beau; parents, Bob and Carol Breshears; and siblings, Bob Jr., Ann and Linda.

The family’s statement said memorial service will be held when health conditions allow, and encouraged donations to the Bayh Family Scholarship through the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs School at Indiana University.

Indiana politicians, including Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, sent statements of condolences to Susan Bayh’s family. 

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.