Susan K. Postal, 73, founder and teacher at Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, NY died February 7 after a recurrence of cancer. She was a wonderful, sometimes silly grandmother, a devoted mother of two and a beloved teacher to her students.
She had been a Zen instructor for many years but was delighted when the purchase of the New Rochelle building allowed her to take on the roll of teacher-in-residence and to give more fully to the practice.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Susan was a gifted student who earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford University in anthropology and a master’s from Harvard University. Her interest in religion and foreign cultures was nurtured first at the Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona. She graduated from high school there in 1957 and remained a devoted alumna.
When her children were young, she worked part-time as a dance instructor. Later, after training to be a geriatric counselor, she worked for many years in homes for the aged in Westchester County, NY, where she had lived since 1967.
Susan loved flowers, music, birds and baking Christmas cookies. And she could make most anything grow, even creating a garden from a patch of parking lot in New Rochelle.
She was challenged by health problems, yet she exhibited great strength, compassion and commitment to her chosen path. She died peacefully, with both her children at her side. In the days before her death, she had many visits from students and friends.
She is survived by her daughter Leslie Postal ( and her husband Jim Stratton), of Orlando, FL, and by her son Jonathan Postal ( and his wife Jennifer Evans), of Denver, CO, and by the five grandchildren she adored -- Carly Postal, 16, Ben Stratton, 14, Jackson Postal, 12, Kisae Stratton, 9 and Calvin Postal, 8.
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