Susan (née Susanna) Ghirardelli, a resident of Montclair since 1989, died on Nov. 19, 2021. She was 74, and in recent years faced a number of health challenges.
Ms. Ghirardelli was born, raised and educated in Zurich, Switzerland. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Zurich in Romance languages.
As a Swiss citizen she was multilingual, speaking German, French and Italian; she also studied Greek and, of course, was fluent in English.
Having chosen to spend the second half of her life in her adopted United States, she took up teaching Italian at Seton Hall University as an adjunct, French at the Montclair Adult School and Immaculate Conception High School, and German in private lessons in her home.
Ms. Ghirardelli was engaged with community groups and civic organizations. Her great loves were music, dance, theater and literature.
She had a knack for meeting and befriending many European residents of Montclair as a way to stay connected to the world she had always known, and missed. Until the past few years, she returned home to Switzerland each summer for extended visits with family and friends.
She was a co-parent to Jules David Bartkowski when he was born in 1988, and became part of his family in Montclair; she took great pride in having been able to be part of his childhood and adolescence.
She also loved and took pleasure in her garden. Her near and dear ones frequently gathered around her, at her table, in her backyard and on her porch. During COVID those porch visits in all seasons saved her from the isolation all have known.
Ms. Ghirardelli is survived by her sister, Lotti Haddou; her brother, Carlo Ghirardelli; her six nephews and their families in Europe, and many friends in Europe.
She also leaves behind a community of friends who cared deeply for her in Montclair and Essex County, especially during COVID.
A memorial will be planned in the coming months.