Obituary of Suzanne Greenspan Tarley
Suzanne (Sue) Greenspan was born in Brighton Beach, New York, to the children of Eastern European (Russian/Polish) immigrants, Benjamin Greenspan and Eleanor Lemson. making her and her sister Patricia second generation Americans. She grew up in Forrest Hills, Queens during the depression.
While in high school she worked for her father on Saturdays at his mill and lumberyard. It was here that her interest in business began. She answered the phone using a cord and plug switch board. Many of her father’s customers were immigrants, so first Sue had to decipher in their heavily accented and broken English what they wanted from her father, and then she ran into the mill to deliver messages to him. She also went with him around New York as he collected on his customers’ accounts.
She and her sister shared a bed until Suzanne was 17, when she graduated from Richmond Hills High School. Years later, when Sue’s daughters whined about not having anything to wear, she would tell them that as a child she had one pair of shoes and two dresses. How can you keep complaining in the face of that?
She was the first in her family to go to college and her father wanted her to stay near home, so she enrolled in Hofstra. Her father died unexpectedly of a heart attack during her freshman year which gave Sue a devastatingly sad means to gain her freedom and spread her wings. She applied to the University of South Carolina, in Columbia for her sophomore year and was accepted. She graduated Suma Cum Laude in English and Social Work.
When she returned to New York she planned to enroll in law school, but her mother didn’t understand her daughter’s ambition and refused to support her further studies.
Sue wanted her independence, so she enrolled the the best secretarial school in New York, Katherine Gibbs. After graduation she went to work in the garment district at a discount blouse house on 7th Avenue. Sue began in the office. The owners quickly promoted her out of the office and onto the sales floor.
She met Arthur Tarley at a diner where they both ate lunch. They were introduced by their waitress
Dates were usually lunchtime, because lunches were cheaper than dinners. Arthur, who had traveled and loved all kinds of cuisine, introduced Sue to the bounty of New York’s immigrant eateries.
With conscription for the Korean War looming, Arthur, who had served in WWII, and Sue secretly married on their lunch hour a year before either family was made aware to keep Arthur out of the draft. Secondarily, due to the post-war housing shortage, neither Sue nor Arthur wanted to live with the other one’s widowed mother.
Forever their children couldn’t keep their parents’ wedding anniversary straight—was it November 20 or December 5?
Before they left New York, Sue and Arthur had their first daughter.
Sue’s sister, Patricia, married into a family-owned cabinet and furniture business and Sue and Arthur moved to Cincinnati, Ohio when Arthur became a regional salesman for that same cabinet and furniture business.
After moving to Ohio, they had two more girls.
The 5 Tarleys took up residence in a large complex that included apartments and duplexes. They lived in a two-story duplex until the older girls had started school. Then Sue and Arthur built their own house. This was Sue’s first experience at project management. Daily she was on-site while the house was being built. She would get pummeled with questions. Each day she’d go home and ask Arthur what was what. If he didn’t have a clue, she figured things out for herself.
She dreamed of vaulted ceilings and crown molding, with hints of Japanese influence. Arthur had other ideas, and in the end, they compromised—no vaulted ceilings and no crown molding and the closest she got to anything with a Japanese flair was an unusual magnolia in her front yard, volcanic stone by her front door, and an iron lantern shaped like a pagoda among the volcanic rocks.
After retiring from being a secretary, Sue became the consummate Mom and volunteer:
- While her daughters were at school, she drove patients to their appointments for the Red Cross.
- She became a Brownie and then a Girl Scout leader; her eldest always found the idea of her New York City born and bred mom, during leader training, digging and then using a latrine, hilarious; Sue was especially drawn to the leader uniform because the hat was designed by Lily Dache, a well-known designer.
- She worked with the League of Women voters; in 3rd grade her eldest was drafted into marching around dining tables putting packets together.
- At her synagogue she started working for the head of the religious school, eventually becoming head of the temple’s religious school board, and she was one of the first women to sit on the board of directors of the temple.
- For years she attended monthly School Board and City Council Meetings; she was known for two things during those meetings: knitting and asking probing questions; the head of the school board had a nickname for Sue…Madame Defarge, and if you know your Dickens you will understand he was not paying Sue a compliment although Sue did find it complimentary.
- When the school building where her children went to school was obviously in need of an overhaul, it was Sue and two other mothers who went out and conducted the feasibility study. (BTW none of the three had ever done this before and they didn’t let that stop them.) When all was said and done her 3rd and youngest child had 3 years in the new building these 3 moms made possible.
Sue goes back to work
When her youngest headed off to college Sue went back into the workforce. She got her real estate license and then her broker’s license. She became a successful realtor working for one of the largest independent real estate companies in Ohio, Sibcy-Cline, for 37 years.
She developed a passion for old homes in her later years and renovated her own “old house” in her 70’s with Arthur. It was one of her pride and joys.
After retiring from Sibcy-Cline, Sue turned again to volunteering:
- Pedigree interiors was a donation center for the creation of spay-neuter clinics.
- She coached and mentored younger members of the real estate industry.
In 2004, Arthur died, and Sue stayed in their Cincinnati area home until 2011 when her youngest and oldest daughters convinced her to come and live in Colorado… living with her youngest.
Sue spent 12 years active and engaged in life here in Colorado, especially with the vegetable garden she and her youngest daughter maintained and with the Denver Botanic Gardens, again as a volunteer.
Sue loved cooking and gardening. She is well-known for her cookbooks and her recipes which she freely gave away, well…all but one, her super-secret hot-milk cake. If you were asked to come and dine with her, you were a lucky guy or gal who got well fed and didn’t leave without a doggy bag.
Sue was preceded in death by:
Arthur Tarley, her husband
Eliana Horst, a granddaughter
Sue is survived by:
Patricia Siegel, her sister, of South Carolina
Daughters: Channah Horst, Blair Tarley, Kimberly Tarley
Bill Horst, her son-in-law
Grandchildren Eliora Horst, Noah Horst, Adam Tarley, Amanda Tarley Wilson
Donations in Sue's honor can be made to
The Denver Botanic Gardens Herb guild: Checks to DBG, 909 York Street, Denver, CO 80206 or donate online at https://www.botanicgardens.org/tribute-memorial-gifts