Our Tribe: Remembering Susanne Geshekter Smith


Susanne Geshekter Smith January 3, 1946 – January 30, 2017

Susanne Geshekter Smith was a renaissance woman in every sense; talented in the kitchen, fearless in the toughest hours, and full of love for family and friends. She will be missed for a lifetime. Susanne’s early years were spent living on the “ocean side” of 47th Street in Virginia Beach where her parents’ house was the gathering spot for crab feasts and intense rounds of mahjong on Sunday nights.

Susanne was an adventurous soul; life would take her from Virginia Beach to the shores of Mogadishu with her first husband, Charles. During her time abroad she would become professionally trained in culinary arts, attending Le Cordon Bleu in London and using those talents all her life, both in her own catering business in Chico, and feeding all lucky enough to have been graced by her presence.

Eventually she would end up i
n her favorite beach town of all, San Diego, where she would meet the love of her life, Robert, and create a community of friends so close that they felt more like family. Susanne was a lady of valor; she was tough, loyal, and relentless with her love. Susanne was in command of all she did, spending 20 years as Temple Emanu-El’s Executive Director before being diagnosed with AML. Again she was running the show. She fought this battle with tenacity, grace, and dignity, and always donning her favorite shade of lipstick. Susanne’s strength never wavered, even in the darkest hours.

In her 19 months of remission she filled her days with everything she loved: theater, travel, walks with her standard poodle, fabulous food and even better friends. Susanne Geshekter, beloved wife of Robert Smith, mother to Marc and Eric, loved by Matt Smith, and four grandchildren: Ruben, Rose, Mae, and Madison; survived by her two big sisters, Arlene Rephan and Brenda Stein, and adored by too many to mention.

You can remember her best by facing your worst fears, cooking your meanest meal, or taking a walk on your favorite beach. The funeral service was held on Friday, February 3rd at 10:00am in the Sanctuary of Temple Emanu-El followed by burial El Camino Memorial Park.

Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Susanne Geshekter to support the research of Dr. Stephen Forman, City of Hope, 5090 Shoreham Place #212, San Diego, CA 92122


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