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Obituary for Suzanne Stern

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Suzanne Stern

December 28, 1927 - March 18, 2013

Suzanne Pierrette Stern (12/28/27 – 3/18/13) Suzanne Pierrette Josset was born in Paris, France to Albert Gustave Josset and Lucienne Désirée Josset (née Boulongne). In World War I, Albert was gassed while serving as a medic at Verdun; Lucienne’s brother was missing in action, and was presumed to have died in battle. Suzanne and her parents lived off her father’s small military pension and Lucienne’s work at home as a seamstress. In anticipation of the German occupation, Suzanne was sent to a children’s camp in the small central French town of Saint Junien. Her parents later joined her and they lived in Saint Junien. The countryside was beautiful, but she suffered privations of war and distress in school and with her family. She was expelled from all schools in France for three years (although it’s not clear if this was due to a row with a teacher or her father’s actions). Suzanne made some friends, but was painfully isolated, graduating high school at age 21. Suzanne and her mother returned to Paris, where she eventually was hired in the haute couture house of designer Jacques Fath, and rose to the level of première main (first hand). This exciting entry to design and culture took a surprising turn when she was hired as the personal maid to one of Mr. Fath’s clients, Rita Hayworth. While tending Ms. Hayworth’s two young daughters, Suzanne reveled in her travels throughout Europe and to the Middle East, Africa and finally Los Angeles. Tired of aspects of the job, Suzanne left this employment and remained in L.A. In 1955, on a blind date, she met Harold Stern, a rabbi’s son from Cleveland, Ohio who was studying acting on the GI bill. He took her to symphony, ballet and other events; they married in Las Vegas one month later. They had two sons, Kurt Joseph Stern and Erik Albert Stern, whom they loved and who in turn adore and revere them. Harold worked as a furniture store manager and continued to study and sing opera. Suzanne worked part-time and stayed home with her sons, designing and making many of their clothes. When the boys were young, Harold began taking yoga classes – long before it was fashionable – to deal with back problems. Suzanne followed suit, and so began her career as a yoga teacher and her deep involvement in meditation, Eastern cultures and religions, and healthy living. The home she created with Harold was filled with books and became a place their sons’ friends gravitated to and felt comfortable and loved. Many have contacted Kurt and Erik in recent years to share how much Suzanne’s radiance and Harold’s unwavering integrity meant to them. Suzanne returned to school to study fashion and later taught at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Her students and friends admired and looked to her for guidance. She and Harold were beaming grandparents of Walker, Hannah, Cole, Gustav and Lukas. Twelve years ago, when Harold developed vascular dementia and Suzanne Alzheimer’s Disease, their sons moved them to Ogden where Erik could care for them. The last decade has presented ineffable difficulties, and also opportunities for Erik and Kurt to learn about their parents. Suzanne lived for a while in Erik and his wife Diane’s home, but was safer with round the clock care, where her elegant demeanor was a favorite. She longed for her beloved Paris. As Suzanne often said when things didn’t go as she had planned, “A la grâce de dieu!” The family would like to thank all the caregivers and health care professionals at the many facilities in Northern Utah, and Erik would like to thank his family for their unflagging support during this odyssey of decline. Suzanne was preceded in death by her husband Harold and is survived by her sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Cremation under the direction of Leavitt’s Mortuary. Condolences may be made at


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Timeline for Suzanne Stern

Born: December 28, 1927
Died: March 18, 2013

Condolences for Suzanne Stern

Lindsey posted on 5/4/13

As I cared for your mother at the assisted living center I longed for some details into her world, thank you for sharing. I admired her beauty and grace, although few words were ever spoken. I also was impressed with how dear you, her sons, were to her. It was a pleasure to care for her despite her illness.


Jen Alverson posted on 3/29/13

My condolences to your family. What a beautiful picture you chose for the obituary. My heart goes out to you during this time of grief and blessings.


Allen Glanville posted on 3/26/13

The Obituary of your mother Suzanne is one of the best written i have read, What a life and what a gift she gave to you. Her life story echo's that of my family in Europe in the 1940's, may memories of her life surround and comfort your family. Shalom , Allen Glanville Ogden Utahyour family


Jo Stephens posted on 3/25/13

The rest of the Sunday paper is in the recycle bin but I am having trouble parting with the obiturary of your mother, a woman I never met. Thank you for making me feel as if I did.