Faith Sussman

Faith Sussman
Faith Sussman

Faith Sussman, Cave Creek, died on July 19, 2018, after a long and happy life. Faith was born in New York City to George F. Dembow and Ester Goldberg Dembow. She grew up in Larchmont, New York, graduated from Fieldston Ethical Culture School, attended Smith College for one year before graduating from Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in psychology. Faith married Richard M. Sussman on January 28, 1951. They lived in Forest Hills, Yonkers, and Tarrytown, New York where they raised three children. Faith was active in Hadassah at Temple Emanuel, Yonkers and with the Westchester Art Society.

In the early 60’s, Faith took a ceramics class at the Westchester County Workshop, White Plains, that was the spark for a career creating three-dimensional art with clay. She eventually opened her own studio in Elmsford and began selling her work in galleries up and down the Eastern seaboard. In the summer of 1972, Faith hired Richard Corton as her new assistant. Working side-by-side five days a week, they discovered many mutual interests while forging a deep connection. Later that summer Faith & Rick became a couple as well as work partners.

In the summer of 1973, Faith & Rick traveled to Arizona with the idea of starting over. They found land south of Cave Creek and fell in love with the desert. The following September, they moved with a group of friends, camped on the land, and built their studio on the ground floor with living space above. In 1975, F & R Studios was born. Within two years they were as busy creating pottery, one-of-a-kind sculptural pots, and architectural commissions as they had ever been in New York.

In 1975, Faith & Rick joined with many artists living in the area to found the Cave Creek Craft Council. Faith was the first treasurer. They remained active with the group that became the Sonoran Arts League. In 1996, with Faith again treasurer and Rick president, the board of directors founded Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour that continues to this day.

On June 13, 1987, with families from both sides and all their friends in attendance, Faith & Rick were married. They have been very happy together for almost 46 years.

In 1988, they became active with Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County, tutoring adults in reading. Faith helped several people achieve GED degrees. In 1994, they helped start the Foothills Film Society, bringing quality films with speakers to the area. They were very active during the 1990s with other concerned residents working to moderate the rampant growth in far north Phoenix. Faith was appointed to the Desert View Village Planning Committee, a citizen board that advises the Phoenix Planning Department on all rezoning cases in that area. Faith was Chair for two years.

In 2000, Faith & Rick joined Phoenix Art Museum Docents, giving tours of the museum. Faith also enjoyed researching and writing many papers on contemporary works of art in the collection to help fellow docents prepare their tours. They also joined museum support group, Contemporary Forum. Faith became president in 2004.

Faith is preceded in death by her parents and brother, George F. Dembow, Jr. She is survived by her husband; son Michael (Rhonda Fischer), Oyster Bay Cove, NY; son Lee (Debbe), Las Vegas, NV; daughter Adrienne (Malvin Barstow), Payson; and granddaughter Alexis (Jyl Agustin), Las Vegas, NV.

There will be a celebration of Faith’s life in the fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley or Ballet Arizona.