Cover photo for Suzanne Wemple Kinder's Obituary
Suzanne Wemple Kinder Profile Photo

Suzanne Wemple Kinder

Suzanne was a person of many extraordinary strengths, attributes and accomplishments. She was a teacher and scholar, a mother of three children, a feminist, and she possessed a unique spirit in a rapidly changing world. Suzanne came from a long line of strong women who have set examples for each other over the generations.
Born Zsuzsa Maria Magdolna Fonay on August 1, 1927 in Veszprem, Hungary, Suzanne was raised by her mother, grandmother and three aunts. In 1946, she emigrated to San Francisco where she earned her BA at UC Berkeley. Pursuing a career in academics, she received a Masters of Library Science from Teachers College in New York City, completed her PhD in History at Columbia University in 1967, and became a Professor of Medieval History and Women’s Studies at Barnard College.
Suzanne taught at Barnard for more than 30 years. Her teaching and publications focused on the role of women in early European medieval society, a field which she researched extensively and produced many lectures, papers, articles and books.
Her book Women in Frankish Society, which was first published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1981, was awarded the Berkshire Conference prize, is still in print and used in academia today.
Other highlights of her academic work include: co-authoring the 1973 article The Power of Women through the Family in Medieval Europe: 500 – 1100, which was published in The Feminist Studies; authoring the article Contemplative Life: The Search for Feminine Autonomy in the Frankish Kingdom which was presented at Barnard College’s Conference on Contemplation and Feminism that she co-chaired in 1978; the 1979 book Atto of Vercelli: Church Pursuit of Early Medieval Women; the 1983 article Sanctity and Power: The Dual Pursuit of Early Medieval Women published in the book Becoming Visible – Women in European History; and coediting with Julius Kirshner Women of the Medieval World in 1985.
Suzanne married George Wemple in 1957 and raised three children, Peter Wemple, Stephen Wemple and Carolyn Fleury. George died in 1988 and in 1990 she married Gordon Kinder who died in 2009. Suzanne was a loving and attentive mother and spouse, and her enthusiasm, energy and insights into people were evident in all of her activities.
One of Suzanne’s favorite places was her beach house at Point O’ Woods, NY where she would engage family and friends who would enjoy the delicious fish dishes and other delicacies that she would serve. Suzanne was a thoroughly modern Renaissance woman, and visits with her to museums, galleries, European cities and churches, and other places were a joy to all who accompanied her.
Suzanne experienced many challenges in life, including World War II, emigration, an academic career as a woman, and throughout, she was able to meet these challenges with tremendous focus and optimism while having children and raising a family. Suzanne had a kind and caring disposition which made her life and the lives of everyone around her more interesting. Suzanne will be remembered fondly and missed by all who knew her. In addition to her three children, Suzanne is survived by six grandchildren, David, Sarah, Monica, Amanda, George, and Holly.
A prayer service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday January 6, 2018 at the Cunningham Turch Funeral Home in Alexandria, VA with internment at noon at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Saturday, January 6, 2018

11:00 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

Cunningham Turch Funeral Home

811 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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Columbia Gardens

, VA

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