Thompson Memorial Home
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Susan Karlin

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Susan Karlin Obituary
Susan Karlin

AGE: 93 • Red Bank

Susan Karlin, most recently of Red Bank NJ, died on October 12, 2016 at the age of 93.

She was born Susan O'Gorman in Montclair, NJ where she lived until the end of World War II. From her very early years she spent summers in Westhampton Beach, NY where her family had a second home. She graduated from the Kimberley School in 1941 and during the war was a volunteer at Mountainside Hospital. In March of 1945 she married Stuart Leigh of South Orange, NJ, a Navy pilot. His employment took them to Reading, PA, Wellesley, MA and Morristown, NJ. By 1953 they were living in New Vernon, NJ raising their three children and a succession of golden and labrador retrievers. Stuart died in a commercial air disaster in December 1960. Around this time a friend introduced her to the art of decoupage, which she practiced for the next 50 years. A tennis player into her 86th year, she met her second husband, Dr. John E. Karlin, when he became one of her tennis partners. They married in July of 1963. Dr. Karlin's work at Bell Laboratories led them to move from New Vernon to Locust, NJ in 1966. Here they found a few acres of wooded land on Wigwam Road perfectly situated with a view across the Navesink River toward the Oceanic Bridge and the setting sun; and here they built their home. On these tranquil acres Susan expressed her natural creativity in landscape gardening, decoupage and above all in caring for her family.

John's work provided international travel opportunities including a trip to Japan where Susan was inspired by the aesthetics of Japanese gardening, which her beautiful gardens reflected. She became a serious student of bonsai, studying for many years with the bonsai master Yuji Yoshimura in Tarrytown, NY. She found profundity and meaning in Yoshimura's teaching. She said "once one understood bonsai one could never look at life and nature in the same way". Shortly after arriving in Locust, Susan found further outlets for her creativity and her desire to be of service. She became involved with the Women's Exchange of Monmouth County, Planned Parenthood, and with Family and Children's Service, which in 2014 honored her by writing that she "used her creative talents to generate inestimable support and goodwill for the agency and its services." Over many years she taught weekly decoupage classes at her homes in Locust and Little Silver, providing materials and guidance to more than 75 students with all proceeds going to Family and Children's Service. Throughout her life Susan was a committed and active volunteer. She and John enjoyed lives enriched by children, music, civic service, and active recreation. In 2004 they moved from Locust to Little Silver, NJ where John died in 2013. Susan's stepson, Christopher "Chip" Karlin, died in 1968.

Susan is survived by her sons Christopher Leigh (Shelley Leigh) of Montrose, AL; Stuart Leigh (Rebecca Kalin) of Stone Ridge, NY; her daughter Susan Leigh (J.R. Toggweiler) of Lawrenceville, NJ; her stepdaughter Bonnie Farber (Thomas Farber) of Kensington, CA; and six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

In keeping with Susan's wishes, no service will be held. The family will gather at a later date to celebrate her life. Donations in her memory may be made to Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central & Southern New Jersey, Inc. (PPNCSNJ), 196 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown, New Jersey 07960, Attn: Development Office or Family & Children's Service of Monmouth County 191 Bath Avenue, Long Branch, NJ 07740, Attn: Development. The Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St, Red Bank was entrusted with the arrangements.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Oct. 23, 2016
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