Susan Leslie Zinser left a huge hole in all the hearts of those who loved her dearly the early evening of August 7, 2017. She had just turned 73 and finished her fight against cancer and all the horrible complications that came with it.
Susan, the daughter of Mildred “Molly” (aka “Richie”) Richman and (as he was often referred to) “the Great Harry C” Nodell, burst on to the NY scene on May 8, 1944. She was the younger sister of the late Barbara June Nodell.
Originating in Brooklyn, Susan moved with her Sister, Mother, and Grandmother to Laurelton, Queens making friends she would keep for life.
She loved to sing and dance with one of her favorite songs being “Runaround Sue”. At Andrew Jackson High School, she most enjoyed her time with her friends and the “Sing” competition. As she headed to Queens College, she was offered a singing contract, but turned it down to pursue an education in history. Being a woman of her own mind, she changed her major her senior year from education to history.
Susan quickly went to work and spent most of her career creating job programs and reeducating the workforce through her work at the NY State Department of Labor. She worked both in the city and Long Island, becoming a well respected manager of many people and programs over her multi- decade career.
She retired in 1998 and built her dream house with her late husband, William Zinser in Charlottesville, VA. There, she continued her ability to make everlasting friendships and volunteered at the University of Virginia Hospital for 17 years.
Susan was an inspiration to most and was always available and sought for advice on a host of issues by her friends and family. She walked a self-imposed moral high ground, but despised prejudice and was a big advocate of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Susan persevered under several defining life crises, always coming out on top with strength, dignity and grace. Some of her notable successes include: divorcing her first husband in the Sixties with a 3 week old baby; buying her own house; kicking Joey Buttafouco out of her office; raising her daughter and helping to raise 4 step children under extreme stress and financial strain; taking care of her dying husband; sending her daughter to an Ivy League caliber college; climbing up the ladder of governmental service quickly and
consistently and picking up and moving to Charlottesville weeks after losing her husband to cancer and without knowing anyone in her new town.
Susan’s hobbies included watching old movies, attending the theater and symphony, playing Mahjong in her retirement years and writing. Through her work life and retirement, her top priority always remained the welfare of her family and friends. Spending time with both was of utmost importance to her and all who loved her.
Susan was known for her compassion, warmth, loyalty, brutal honesty, optimism, impartiality and quick sense of humor.
She will forever be remembered as the Best Mom Ever, a close and cherished confidant, a voice of reason and a woman who didn’t take any garbage from anyone.
Susan is survived by countless friends, her older Aunt Lillie (Nickelberg), her nephews, David and Bobby Frankel, her 4 stepchildren, Susie Descisciolo, Nancy Turner, Debbie Walis and Douglas Zinser, her daughter Kelly Lieber, sons-in-law, Joe Descisciolo, John Walis, and Joe Lieber, Jr. as well as her 14 grandchildren, 2 great, great grandchildren, 3 great nephews, in-laws, Kay and Joe Lieber, Sr. and much more extended family.
To say that she will be dearly missed is a colossal understatement. She will forever be a bright spot in the lives of those she touched and leave shoes behind that are impossible to fill. The only solace in her death is that she lived and died on her own terms with no regrets.
Memorial services to celebrate her rich life will be held at Arlington cemetery, her home in Charlottesville and someplace she liked in New York. Please keep in touch with her daughter Kelly Robin Lieber for details.