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Susan M. Gorton, restaurant owner, food artist June 2, 1954 -- April 15, 2012

Susan M. Gorton, whose culinary career included running a restaurant in the City of Tonawanda, died Sunday in her Clarence home while under hospice care. She was 57.

Born Susan Lewis in Kenmore, she was a graduate of Clarence High School and pursued further studies in the culinary arts and horticulture, two of her passions. She worked at various food establishments throughout Western New York during her career, most recently at the Feel-Rite Fresh Market on Maple Road in Amherst.

A self-taught food artist who created outrageous food and desserts, she was co-owner of Suzz Cafe on Young Street from 2004 to 2008. In 2007, the restaurant's cucumber cilantro salad won third place in the Taste of Buffalo's Healthy Choice Option category.

Mrs. Gorton was a supporter of the North Tonawanda Farmers' Market and a strong advocate of local farmers. Her restaurant donated food to local institutions, including DeGraff Memorial Hospital and local senior citizen centers.

A passionate dog owner, she also held numerous fundraisers for the SPCA at her restaurant.

Survivors include her husband, Peter J.; a daughter, Karlee Lewis; a son, Dustin; her parents, Charles and Janet Lewis; a sister, Chery Grace; and three brothers, Chuck, Russ and Tom Lewis.

A memorial service will be from 10 a.m. to noon Friday in the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave.