Obituary: Susan Ribner, 74, formerly of Fairfield, author and activist

RibnerSusan Ribner, who was raised in Fairfield, Conn., and attended Andrew Warde High School (now known as Fairfield Warde), died peacefully at home with family on October 14 in her New York City apartment after living with ovarian cancer for 4 1⁄2 years.

She was the daughter of the late Dr. Harold and Phyllis Ribner, who resided in the Fairfield/Bridgeport area from 1936-2005, and the sister of the late Majorie Perry.

Sue is survived by her brother, Frederick Ribner, and his wife, Melissa, and several nephews: Noah, Tim, and Max Ribner; and Marc and Danny Perry.

Susan was an accomplished nonfiction writer and authored several pieces including two books. In 1970, and under the pseudonym Rebecca Moon, she authored Right On! An Anthology of Black Literature. In 1978 she authored The Martial Arts, which was recommended in The New York Times Book Review when reissued in paperback in 1984.

Susan taught writing at Hunter College in New York City for over 20 years, including classes on creative nonfiction. She also taught several memoir workshops as well as writing to a cancer patient group, up until a few months before her passing.

Motivated by the Women’s Movement, in 1974 Susan founded and ran the Women’s Center Karate Club in New York City, with a focus on women’s safety, training opportunities, and advancement within the American schools of Asian martial arts. The school is still in existence today. Susan was also an outspoken proponent and activist during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Susan received two degrees from Cornell University: a B.A. in Government and a M.A. in Comparative Government, Sino-Soviet Studies. She also received a M.A. in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Hunter College and a M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction (University of New Orleans/Prague).

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