Obituary of Susan Gibbon (nee Wright)

With deep sadness we announce the passing of Susan Elizabeth Gibbon (nee Wright) of Kingston, Ontario on May 31, 2023, in her 81st year.

Susan was born in Kingston on May 5, 1943 to Audrey Elizabeth Wright (nee Doyle) & George Clark Wright, Jr. She was the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of two Kingston mayors and she was a proud Kingstonian all her life. She and Larry Gibbon (m. 1964) had a wonderful life together, traveling as a military family with their three children. Susan graduated proudly from Queen’s in 1987 (and would like to remind you posthumously that there are now 5 generations of Queen’s grads in the family). Larry died in 1998, and Susan subsequently married longtime friend Jerry Johnsrude (m. 2004), with whom she had a wonderful second partnership.

Two of Susan’s primary passions in life were music and the piano, initially as a young competitive pianist (ARCT) and ultimately as an educator (RCM, Suzuki) and administrator (ORMTA).  Her legacy includes the hundreds of students who have benefited from her teaching over five decades. Susan was a wonderful piano teacher, able to capture the imagination and enthusiasm of students from early childhood to adulthood. She had a seemingly infinite number of ways to engage and inspire her students and stimulate them to high achievement. Her students loved her and Susan considered them her extended family. She was proud of them and followed their lives keenly. In later years, she was even teaching the children of some of her students.

Susan’s generosity, so manifest in her teaching, extended into many other community activities. She was deeply invested for many years in helping to organize the Kingston Suzuki Summer Institute and the annual Music Lovers’ House Tour fundraising event for the Kingston Symphony. Despite being a lifelong proud Kingstonian, Susan was active in the local Newcomers/Alumni Club for many years and was involved in a wide variety of other sororities and social clubs composed of people who valued the Kingston community as much as she did.    

Susanis survived by a blended family that includes her husband Jerry, her children (Laurie [Jamie Valliant], David [Susie], Jamie [Toshiko]); Jerry’s children (Ingrid [Mark Wolforth], Eric [Karen]), and nine grandchildren (Maia, Sofia, Greta; Jason, Alexandra; Rowan, Molly; Aidan, Claire). She was predeceased by her brotherWayne Wright (Rose) of Peterborough (d. March 2023).

Visitation will be from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Monday, June 5, 2023 at the James Reid Funeral Home, 1900 John Counter Blvd. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church on June 6, 2023 at 1:00 pm, with a reception to follow at the James Reid Funeral Home Reception Centre (please use the entrance at the back of the building).

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Susan’s honour would be appreciated to Providence Care Hospital through the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation in support of those deeply caring, tireless, kindest and most professional of staff who provided such wonderful medical care and comfort to Susan, Jerry and their family.

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