July 17, 1928 - March 24, 2021
Suzanne Kleinbaum, 92, died peacefully in her sleep on March 24th, 2021, after a pleasant morning. She was born in Brzeziny, Poland, to Zélik Zygmont and Fajga (Benkiel) Zygmont on July 17th, 1928. Her family moved to Paris, France, before she was one year old and grew up there. The advent of World War II disrupted her childhood and her life. Collaborating French police deported her father and 12-year-old brother to Auschwitz concentration camp and were executed the day they arrived. For the next three years, she was hidden by an underground network at a number of locations under an assumed name.
After the War, Suzanne was living at a home run by Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants (OSE). There she met Michel Kleinbaum, also living at an OSE home and fell in love. Michel immigrated to the United States and Suzanne returned to Paris and worked there for several years. In 1953, Michel returned to France and they got married. That year, she immigrated to the United States.
She settled in New York City and took care of her home and her baby for many years. She was a voracious reader, skilled at making her own clothes, and a wonderful cook. When not reading, she loved to relax doing petit point tapestry and crewelwork. She returned to work when her son entered high school. After working a couple jobs, she found employment as the assistant to an Executive Assistant at McCann Erickson, the famous advertising agency. When the Executive Assistant retired, Suzanne moved into the job working for the two heads of the creative department. In 1979, she followed, as her two bosses, along with four other executives, broke away from McCann Erickson to form a new ad agency called Backer & Spielvogel. There, she became the Assistant to two of the six controlling executives. She continued to work there until retiring in the early ‘90s.
In 1996, following her husband’s retirement, they moved to Salem, Oregon, to be close to family. She settled into a quiet life with her beloved books, good food, her friends, and her family. After her husband died in 2015, she lived alone until she moved into Boone Ridge Senior Living in 2019, due to failing health.
Suzanne is survived by her son Georges (Dorothy) and her granddaughter Geneviève (Willie) Ziebell, her half-brother Harry Zygmont and his extended family, and the extended family of her half-sister Anna (Zygmont) Ouzillou (deceased).
Our thanks go out to her cherished friends, Dominique, Jean-Pierre, Mike, Cheryl, Elena, Byron, and Eliza.
The family would also like to thank the staff and caregivers at Boone Ridge for all their dedication, love, support, and simple friendship during the time she lived there.
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