Susan Lynn Williams (1951–2018) was an exceptional marine ecologist whose research focused broadly on the ecology of benthic nearshore environments dominated by seagrasses, seaweeds, and coral reefs. She took an empirical approach founded in techniques of physiological ecology. Susan was committed to applying her research results to ocean management through outreach to decision-makers and resource managers. Susan’s career included research throughout the USA in tropical, temperate, and polar regions, but she specialized in tropical marine ecology. Susan’s scholarship, leadership, and friendship touched many people, leading to this multi-authored paper. Susan’s scholarship was multi-faceted, and she excelled in scientific discovery, integration of scientific results, application of science for conservation, and teaching, especially as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Susan served in a variety of leadership positions throughout her career. She embodied all facets of leadership; leading by example, listening to others, committing to the “long haul,” maintaining trust, and creating a platform for all to shine. Susan was an important role model for women in science. Susan was also a loyal friend, maintaining friendships for many decades. Susan loved cooking and entertaining with friends. This paper provides an overview of the accomplishments of Susan in the broad categories of scholarship, leadership, and friendship.