She's Done It All: Single Mom, Test Driver, Massage Therapist



Su Pearson has been a General Motors test driver, she calls herself a thrift store aficionado and she mixes her own face masks, lotions and potions like a sorceress churning a witch's brew.

"I'm a Jill of all trades and a mistress of all I survey," Pearson said.

And she's not joking.

More than two decades ago, Pearson became a statistic. She was a divorcee and a single mother.

"As it turned out, my son was about to turn one and I was about to turn crazy," this two-year resident of Payson said.

As Pearson took tests and filled out paperwork at a Mesa temporary agency in 1984, she overheard a man chattering about GM's 5,000-acre desert proving grounds -- a place where test drivers ran Cadillacs into the ground.

"I asked, ‘Can I go?' so they sent me out there," she said. "I was one of the first woman drivers. I did all the fun stuff like tire blowouts. It was wild."

After three years of measuring accelerations, decelerations, towing Airstream trailers behind luxury vehicles and tooling around every driving surface imaginable, GM had other plans for Pearson. The company trained her on everything from Buick Skylarks to Chevy Corvettes.

"I was one of two people trained in every division," Pearson said. "I taught employees how to be test drivers."

Two years later, GM downsized and Pearson found herself unemployed.

"One day you're swingin' on a star and the next day you don't have a job," she said. "Why go to something second rate when you've had the best?"

So Pearson bade farewell to the auto industry and greeted top-secret security clearance at Motorola's government electronics group.

"I was a single mom and I would do what I had to do," Pearson said.

Then Motorola laid off employees with fewer than 10 years at the company.

"Once again I was saying, what's it going to be?" she said.

Pearson skipped to yet another corporate niche, this time it was law.

For 15 years she worked as a paralegal. She ran her own processing and legal-document preparation service.

"(Owning my own) business was fabulous," she said. "But after 1,500 divorces, you think, ‘If I have one more, I'll puke.'"

Then she entered the world of bankruptcy law where she discovered the pitfalls of highfalutin' living.

"Pay cash. Don't drive a brand-new car, it's not worth it," she said. "Keep it where you can afford it. I became a thrift-store aficionado. Eventually I wasn't seen wearing the same thing in a two-month period."

After years of corporate success, one of Pearson's dearest friends fell ill with terminal cancer.

Pearson scaled down her work schedule to care for her dying confrere, and thus found her passion for healing oils and homemade elixirs.

"I learned that sea salt, epsom salt and lavender detoxified," she said. "‘Where do I get sea salts?' I asked myself. Well it's that stuff you get as a gift that sits on the back of your toilet."

She made her friend soak her feet in the concoction, then she rubbed her friend's leg from foot to knee with lavender oil.

"She felt better," Pearson said. "She has been cancer free for four years."

Pearson, inspired by the healing properties of massage and essential oil, went back to school at 40 to train as a massage therapist. Meanwhile, her research continued.

"I started making bath salts at first," she said. "My goal was to perfect the detox blend."

Through trial and error, Pearson perfected the art of mixing natural remedies. Her secret blends treat everything from poor circulation to rosacea.

"I came up with some fabulous recipes," she said. "I've had so many people ask why I don't mass market. It wouldn't be the same. If I can't pronounce it, it doesn't go in."

Pearson's salves, masks and tonics contain pharmaceutical-grade essential oils, pure carrier agents such as grapeseed and almond oils, and virginal mud from exotic countries.

"It's all cell rejuvenating," Pearson said. "I bring back what we kill. I call all my products nature's candy."

To complement her healing potions, Pearson specializes in hot rock, deep-muscle and manual-lymphatic-drain massage.

"It helps carry metabolic waste out of the body," she said. "We have 600 lymphatic ducts throughout the body. They get clogged due to injuries, medication -- from just about everything. Waste can't get to where it needs to go."

Exfoliate skin with a bath brush before bathing to help eliminate waste Pearson suggested.

"Scrubbing when you're wet is like hydroplaning," said Pearson. "Brushing takes off the top layer of skin."

Pearson continues to conduct research and hone her formulas.

"I give 150 percent always," she said. "It doesn't matter what I do."

Pearson runs a massage studio out of Bee Well Chiropractic.


Name: Su Pearson

Occupation: Massage therapist

Employer: Self

Age: 45

Birthplace: Upland, Calif.

Family: Son, Ryan, and parents, Sydney and Gene Jones.

Personal motto: It's all good.

Inspiration: Helping people.

Greatest feat: Raising Ryan.

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Dancing.

Three words that describe me best are: Energetic, knowledgeable, caring.

I don't want to brag, but ... I am very good at what I do.

The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Jesus

Luxury defined: Southwest territorial home with an awesome view

Dream vacation spot: Wherever Stella got her groove back.

Why Payson? There are not bad days in Payson.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.