Susan Alderson Hoffmann

Susan Alderson Hoffmann was born April 8th, 1952 in Lawrence, Kansas to Betty (née Whitney) and Donald K. Alderson, and passed away August 29th, 2023 in Los Angeles after a 4-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She will be remembered as a writer, lover of art, and caring wife, mother, and friend. Susan graduated from Lawrence High School in 1970 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Kansas University in 1974. She received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, allowing her to study and travel abroad in Germany, where she became fluent in the language and immersed herself in the culture. She went on to earn her master’s in art history at the University of Minnesota, where she met Michael, a professor of environmental chemistry, who would become her husband and best friend.
Susan and Michael moved to Southern California and married in 1979. Together they moved to Rose Villa in Pasadena where they lived with the first of many dogs, met lifelong friends, and began their family. After some years, they found their craftsman-era house in South Pasadena, with a rich history and “good bones” that Susan made a home and loved dearly. Four summers in the ’90s were spent living in Germany and traveling abroad as a family, where she guided her two young sons Hobie and Harrison on many formative adventures.
A passionate writer, Susan freelanced writing and lecturing on art history before beginning a career in art museum education. She developed educational and interpretive programs to connect audiences with the objects on view in exhibitions and permanent displays (from audio tours to interactive elements to curriculum), first at LACMA and then at The Huntington. After retiring, she wrote many personal essays — many of which were published — and was part of a local creative non-fiction writing group. She also loved sourcing beautiful yarn for her unique knitting creations shared with friends and family.
Susan had an appreciation for her family history, keeping scrapbooks, documents, and heirlooms. She played her great-aunt’s violin in an amateur string ensemble and wrote an extensive blog detailing her grandfather’s written exchanges during WWI. The blog can be found here:
Susan cherished times cooking and trading recipes with Hobie, and exploring restaurants and shows around town with Harrison. Anything done with Michael brought her joy–whether it be traveling together around the world, or spending a “wonderfully ordinary” afternoon watching their beloved dogs run among the flowers and fruit trees in their backyard.
Susan is survived by her mother Betty; husband Michael; sons Hobie (Kaitlyn) and Harrison; granddaughter Lorraine; siblings Tom (Susie) Alderson, and Marcia (Jim) Buchanan; nieces and nephews Tommy (Karli) Alderson, Sarah Buchanan and David Buchanan, and beloved cousin Nano.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 16th at Cabot & Sons Funeral Home in Pasadena. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of the neighbors, friends, and family who have come together to celebrate Susan’s life, remember her love, and support us during this time.