Susan Malkas Gessford, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, passed on December 16, 2022.
She was born May 20, 1936, in Fresno, CA, and was raised there. Her nickname through high school was Trudy. Her parents were one of the first Armenian settlers in Fresno coming via Worcester, MA, from Armenia. Susan attended Stanford University where she met her future husband and love of her life John. She received a B.A. in Art from Stanford and a Master’s in Art from Fresno State University.
Susan and John married on June 30, 1958, and spent the first decade of their married life together traveling all over the world through John’s employment. The lived in New York as newlyweds, then to Mobile, AL, where they had their first daughter Elizabeth. Then they moved to Longview, WA, where they had their second daughter Louise. And finally, they moved to Menlo Park, CA, where they had their son John. While in Menlo Park, John worked for Stanford Research Institute as head of its Scandinavian IT operations which resulted in the Gessford family living in Sweden for several years during the 1960s. Wherever they traveled, Susan was the glue making a home for her family. With her thoughtful, sweet, wise, authentic, and loving way, Susan was never short of making dear friends wherever she lived which she remained close to her entire life.
In 1972, John and Susan moved to San Marino where John began his long career as a professor of Information Technology (a new industry). Susan embraced San Marino in all ways. She was very involved with PTA, PEO, San Marino League, Stanford Woman’s Group, and church. Susan’s curiosity for learning more about art and home design caused her to obtain her interior decorator’s license and real estate license which she kept active until recently. She loved the arts whether playing classical music on the piano or going to Broadway shows. But mostly Susan was known in the San Gabriel Valley for her artistic talent with watercolor paintings. She was jury selected as a member of the California Art Club where she showed and sold her works of art. Her last art exhibit was in March 2022 at the Huntington Library and Gardens with fellow artists that support San Marino League. Art was her gift to the world and her passion.
A life well lived by example, she showed her children and grandchildren how the arts make life worth living and to always be kind. A devout Christian, she studied the Bible and found great joy listening to the classic Christian hymns. Susan is survived by her children and spouses, Elizabeth and Ray Kennedy, Louise and Eric Nixon, and John and Kim Gessford, and by seven treasured grandchildren. Susan is also survived by her sister Miriam McCarthy and nephew Brian McCarthy. Her husband John of 48 years predeceased her having passed in 2007. The world was blessed to have this wonderful woman, and she will be dearly missed!
A memorial service will be held at San Marino Community Church (1750 Virginia Road) on Saturday January 7, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. To attend by Zoom (live or recorded), contact the family. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens: https://huntington.org/donate.