Susie Goldstein Aug 28,1942-Mar 20, 2024

I am sending you the notification I received today from Marta Gillen, Sr. Executive Assistant to the President of DVC, regarding the passing of Susan (Susie) Goldstein.

We are sad to report the passing of former employee Susan Goldstein. Susan was hired in 1969 and taught psychology and history courses. She was involved in the development of women’s studies, interdisciplinary courses, team-teaching in the learning communities and the developing of re-entry classes until her retirement in 2003.

A close friend has provided the following obituary.

Susan Goldstein was born August 28, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Max and Sylvia (Glick) Winer. Susan was the younger of two sisters. All of her grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Her life was strongly influenced by her paternal grandmother, Bertha Winer, who was highly independent, progressive, and who valued education. She was Susan’s role model, to be sure.

Susan attended Chicago public schools, graduating from Von Steuben High School in 1959.She was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Southern California, which made it possible for her to go away to college – a major goal. At USC she earned a Bachelor’s degree in History. Susan was the 1963 recipient of the Emma Bovard Prize for a female graduate with the highest GPA. She then earned her first Master’s degree, in History, at UC Berkeley where she also worked towards a Ph.D. in American History, leaving with the status of “ABD” (all but dissertation).

In 1969 Susan was hired as a one-year substitute by Diablo Valley College (DVC), with no possibility of extension of her contract, and was told: “We’re only hiring you because you are a woman.” However, at year’s end, she was offered a tenure-track position at DVC where she taught American history, interdisciplinary social science, psychology, and women’s studies over a period of 40 years. She helped develop the Women’s Center, created a women’s re-entry program, and introduced an innovative program called Nexus program to help new faculty integrate into the life of the College.

Susan earned her second Master’s degree, in Clinical Psychology, at JFK University and became a Marriage and Family therapist, after interning at the Women’s Therapy Center in Berkeley, California. She was a particularly good listener, and made each person feel important and understood.

Susan married in the early 1960’s and was divorced several years later. In 1980 she attended a human potential conference in Snowmass, Colorado, sponsored by The Association for Humanistic Psychology. It was there that she met Victor Herbert, the love of her life. Susan and Victor lived together for 40 years until his death in 2022.

Throughout her life, Susan maintained strong friendships and was always exploring new intellectual and artistic avenues.  Besides scores of admiring students and friends, she leaves behind friends in a book group, a playwriting group, a walking group, a storytelling group, and even a “soup group.” In addition to those groups, Susan and her dear friend Anita Goldstein established and co-led The Brain Exchange, a free brainstorming group for women, which met monthly for 25 years.

Susan appears to have passed unexpectedly and peacefully while taking a nap. She leaves behind her older sister, Judy Pivar; her nieces and nephew Robinn (Dan) Magid; David (Debbie) Fisher; and Alayne Fisher. Her great-nieces and -nephews are: Joshua (Morgan) Magid; Beth Magid; Aaron (Sarah) Magid; Nathan Magid; Briana (Brandon) Wight; and Dr. Michael (Kaitlyn) Fisher.  She loved being a great-great-aunt to: Rafael and Miriam Magid, Bluma Raisel Magid and Avery Blake Wight.

Her final resting place will be Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California near her parents and maternal grandparents. Funeral will take place on Friday, March 29th, 2 pm, at graveside.

In lieu of flowers, Susie asked that donations be directed to Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA  94523. Please indicate that the gift is for the “Susan Goldstein Re-Entry Student Scholarship.”


Susie was such a joyful, positive force not only while she was teaching, but also after she  retired.   A strong, passionate advocate, Susie provided those around her with a role model who was  inspirational as well as aspirational.  She remembered her students with encouraging anecdotes and support; my daughter was one of those lucky students who had her in a DVC women’s study class.  I will miss seeing her at the DVCRA luncheons and other DVC functions.

Nancy Zink

DVCRA Liaison  

From Tina Levy

I just received this from Anita Goldstein who was a dear friend of Susie’s and together they started the Brain Exchange

It breaks my already aching heart to have to tell you that Susan Goldstein passed away on Wednesday, March 20.

She died peacefully, in her sleep, while taking an afternoon nap. She had not been ill and had been, up until that afternoon, enjoying her varied activities: playwriting, book group, walking group, exercise classes and theater going, among others..

The burial will be at  Hillside Cemetery in LA, where her parents rest. She requested that donations be directed to a fund in her name at Diablo Valley College, where she  taught for 40 years. I will send those details when I have them.

If you have special memories to share, please send them to me at:

Other plans have not been announced by her family.

Dear Nancy,

Susie Goldstein was my closest DVC friend and for about 15 yrs my neighbor. She and her partner Victor Herbert were at my wedding in 1983 (see photo below).  When my daughter was little, she used to walk down to Susie’s house to see if she could come out and play.

I treasured her in my life.  Her positivity, insights, viewpoints were always valued and appreciated.  She was one of the incredibly few people with whom I shared the flows of my life.  I will miss her terribly.

I so respected and admired her.  One piece of sage advice she gave me was, “Put your energy where it is appreciated.”

I was close to her going through her brain surgery journey. I found it so  unconsciously prescient that she switched from social science to psychology about five years before, as if on some level she was studying the mind to be prepared for what was about to transpire.  After that surgery, she shared how she picked up her lecture notes and had no idea what they meant.  I could not believe her bravery to find new neural pathways within her being, as well as within her brain, to return to teaching and do the brilliant work of her psychology and women’s study teaching. Susie would be my unsung hero.

I was honored to have her invite me to be one of the original 13 women at the first meeting of a women’s group she helped to form called the Brain Exchange. It was written up in Oprah and Ladies Home Journal magazines. I still have the original group roster from that first day and the Ladies Home Journal article.  What a fabulous group legacy it has, of offering support, encouragement and guidance to so many people by sharing joined wisdom. Even after her surgery, she would be the one in the group taking down, transcribing directly on a laptop as I recall, all the brain exchange responses to be sent out to everyone, for the entirety of the meeting.  I never could have done that.

I am so deeply grateful to have had her to share our live’s journeys since 1974.  

Cheryl Dembe

Subject: Tribute for Susie

I can’t remember when I first met Susie. It was at least 50 years ago and she has been there ever since for all the important moments of my life: Thanksgivings, Chinese New Year banquets, birthdays, weddings, she even came to visit me in London. When I heard Stan Cornfield had died, Susie was there. And when my husband Greg died it was Susie who, a few days later, at the gathering encouraged everyone to speak about him.

I know I am not alone in being a beneficiary of Susie‘s positive affects. Theses memories are more about me because, in addition to all her academic achievements, Susie is first and foremost my friend.

If there is one word to describe her it would be Helpful. Some people are smart, some are witty, some quiet, dramatic, or shy. Susie was HELPFUL. She really made a difference in so many lives. How many of us can say that?

And I never saw her get angry about anything. If something made her sad or troubled or angry she simply never showed it.

Her long relationship with the multi-wonderful Victor Herbert brought her much joy and companionship and together they were a very special and always welcome couple.

DVC was enormously lucky to have had her. Her commitment to women, to their success at any level especially reentry, the Nexus program, her scholarship for students, wonderful teaching and unparalleled people skills will be the stuff of legend!

Her skills as a dramatist were really exceptional. I loved her short plays and expected even more and greater work from her in the future.

The cheerful sound of her voice on the telephone saying “This is Susie” will be with me forever.

I simply can’t imagine my life without her.

Elaine Smith Dunlap