The death of 72-year-old environmentalist and businessman Doug Tompkins in a kayaking accident brought encomiums from everywhere. Former NBC newsman Tom Brokaw said he “was in awe” of Tompkins, calling him a “complete man.” Much of Tompkins’ reputation stems from his founding of The North Face clothing company, his adventures, and his conservation efforts — most especially in Chile. But The North Face, though it comported with his own brand of rugged outdoorsman, wasn’t how Thompson got rich enough to implement his land-buying conservation efforts. That wealth came from co-founding the clothing and lifestyle brand Esprit with his first wife Susie Tompkins Buell.
Susie Tompkins Buell remarried Mark Buell after divorcing Tompkins in 1989. Like her first husband, Buell is also a passionate advocate and activist. Susie Buell is especially active with the Global Fund for Women, which champions equality and human rights for women all over the world. Buell is also a major contributor to other progressive causes and a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton. In Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, author Jeff Gerth describes Susie Tompkins Buell as Hillary Clinton’s “best friend.” Her philanthropic work is centered at the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation.