Remembering Susan Malloy

Susan Malloy — a longtime Westporter, arts patron and philanthropist — died early this morning, of complications from pneumonia. She was 91.

Though she kept a low profile, Malloy’s mark on Westport was broad and deep. She donated generously to a variety of cultural institutions, including the Westport Arts Center, Westport Historical Society (for which she drew a 4-color map of 1960s-era downtown), and the Westport Library (which hosts an annual arts lecture in her name).

Susan Malloy

Susan Malloy

Malloy also supported the noted “Years in the Making” documentary — which pays homage to Westport’s arts legacy — and the Whitney Museum in New York.

An artist herself, she had her 1st New York gallery show in 2009 — in her mid-80s.

In 2012 — at 88 — Malloy published her first book. A “Guide to Paris” for young people, it contains sketches she made the previous year on a trip to France with her niece Ann Sheffer, and Malloy’s 17- and 10-year-old grandchildren.

Malloy’s family began summering in Westport in 1937, when her father Aaron Rabinowitz followed his mentor Lillian Ward (of Henry Street Settlement fame) here.

The family home — “Robin’s Nest” — was a farmhouse at the corner of Bayberry Lane and Cross Highway.

After Malloy married, she and her late husband Edwin lived for many years in one of Westport’s oldest homes, in the Old Hill district. In 1986 they moved to a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired property on Dogwood Lane.

Services are set for this Friday (April 17), at 11 a.m. at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.


7 responses to “Remembering Susan Malloy

  1. Rightly, the Town of Westport will express its great sense of indebtedness to the remarkable Susan Malloy. She didn’t smile much, as I recall, but she was as solid a person as I have ever known. She was not in need of accolades but she got them all the time. I always felt that she was somewhat embarrassed by any outpouring of affection. But this town will wrap its arms around her for one last time – Rightly.

  2. Anne Pfeiffer

    She was a lovely woman anyone would want to know. Besides her art work she had some interesting collections in her home. She will be missed by all who knew her.

  3. Jeffrey Wieser

    Susan is remembered for her contributions to the arts, but I want to make sure that we also remember her support of those less fortunate. She was a long-time supporter of Homes with Hope and even recently offered to volunteer with us. She was keen on system change and improving the service we give to the homeless. She will be missed. An amazing woman.

  4. Maxine Bleiweis

    Susan Malloy’s interest in all things made her ageless. Each year, she asked who was being considered for her eponymous lecture and was delighted to invite everyone she knew to learn more about some aspect of the arts when the date was announced. One of my best memories of Susan was seeing her sit between playwright Arthur Miller and actor Gene Wilder at dinner following a Malloy Lecture. She was right at home, trading stories and laughing with both. A remarkable woman!

  5. I had the privilege of meeting Susan Malloy in 2007, just after publishing my biography of the artist George Hand Wright. I was living in Washington DC and traveling to Westport to promote the book. Someone at WAC suggested that I talk to Susan, so called her to schedule a meeting, which took place 10 minutes later in her lovely home. It turned out that she was very familiar with Wright’s work, as her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Rabinowitz, were friends and clients of Wright. Susan explained that Wright did a pastel of their home, “Robin’s Nest”, which hung in their home on Cross Highway. Susan and I exchanged books: I gave her my George Wright book, and she gave me the one she wrote about her family, called “The Life and Times of Aaron Rabinowitz.”
    After moving to Westport in 2010, and becoming involved with the Historical Society, I renewed my friendship with Susan, who was a mainstay of the WHS on many, many levels.
    My last recollection of Susan was at the buffet line at Len Fisher’s gallery opening less than two weeks ago. We were both starved and reaching for the last shrimp! Naturally, I let her take it! To say that Susan Malloy will be much missed is an understatement.

    Edward F. gerber
    Westport Historical Society

  6. Susan will be remembered for her dedication to making art…Even at 90, she steadfastly worked in her studio presenting a personal style of work; she’s one of the people who are artists first in their mind ; Susan’s philanthropic side was noteworthy– and many of Westport’s institutions would be the lesser without her generosity, but first and foremost comes admiration for her staying true to being an artist. Ann Chernow.

  7. I am glad to have had the opportunity to have dinner with Susan just 6 weeks ago and to thank her once again personally for her generosity. She donated the handsome Doug Sheffer Cup to Longshore Sailing School this past summer in memory of her late nephew who died last year. She gave so much to our community in so many ways. We are all saddened by her passing.