Susan Kirby Kraft, 81 years old, of New York, NY passed away on January 30, 2021. She passed while in the care of the Montefiore Hospital, Bronx, NY, peacefully and of natural causes.
Born Susan Lee Kirby on August 11, 1939 in Queenstown on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, she was raised in Chestertown, MD by her parents the late W. Vernon Kirby and Roane Lumpkin Kirby. She attended St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA during high school and then attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She wished to become a nurse, so moved to Philadelphia and enrolled in a nursing program. It was here that Susan met Kenneth Averill Pipher, Jr. whom she married in 1960. Together they had two children, Kelly Pipher Frankenfield (born December 7, 1960) and Scott Kirby Pipher (May 6, 1962 – February 27, 2018). While married to Ken, the family moved from Florida to Seattle to New Jersey, then to Hong Kong and finally to England. While living abroad, Susan travelled extensively which she loved. She also learned a great deal about the local cuisines of each country which she honed later in life to her family’s and friends’ benefit.
After a divorce from Ken, she moved back to Hong Kong where she married John Buss but returned to the States to be with her children after he suddenly passed away. Susan eventually settled in Washington Depot, CT where Kelly and Scott were enrolled in the Kent School as boarding students.
In the mid-1970’s, she met Jules Kraft of New York City. Since the children were away at boarding school and then college, she spent an increasing amount of time in New York and grew to love all the city had to offer. She and Jules married and divided their time between New York and Bridgewater, CT. She thrived in both environments – the serenity and beauty of Bridgewater where she loved to garden and entertain; and the excitement of NY where she enjoyed the theatre, museums, dining, gardening on her terrace and, of course, entertaining. She truly loved to host parties, large or small, and would often host ethnically-themed dinners making every effort at authenticity, right down to the dinnerware and cocktails! Her generosity of spirit blossomed during this period of her life. Susan also enjoyed the perks of her husband’s business dealings and continued to travel internationally often.
After Jules passed, she turned her energy and efforts to being a doting and wonderful grandmother. Kelly and her husband Mike had settled in New Canaan, CT with their daughter, Nicole. Susan would regularly drive to Connecticut with her beloved Bassett Hound, CJ, to visit Nicole at least once a week, sometimes more frequently. Nicole would also spend a weekend with “Meemah” monthly in the City where they would spend hours at the Central Park Zoo, enjoy eating sushi, get mani/pedi’s, take CJ to the dog park, have high tea at the American Girl store café, see all the beautiful NYC Christmas decorations and go to kid-themed theatre. She also loved being with Scott’s two sons, Ryan and James but, unfortunately, since they lived in Florida, her visits with them were far fewer than she would have wished. Ryan, Nicole, James and CJ were her later-in-life loves. Fortunately, there were no more grandchildren since almost every surface in her apartment was covered with photos of them all.
Susan was always the life of the party and loved to tell a good story. She lived life with zest and energy and remained feisty to the end. She will be missed by all who’s life she touched. Tragically, she lost her son Scott in early 2018, but is survived by her daughter Kelly, her husband Mike and their daughter Nicole Blair Frankenfield of New Canaan, CT. And her two grandsons, Ryan and James Pipher of Riverview, FL.