Susan Banks Tovey

September 5, 1935 ~ April 28, 2022 (age 86) 86 Years Old


Susan Banks Tovey was an extraordinary woman by any measure. She left those with whom she had even the briefest encounter better off than when they met her. A loving mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and friend, Susan departed this life on April 28, 2022, after succumbing to heart disease at 86 years old. She was a resident of Ridgewood, NJ.

Susan was born to Marjorie and Walton Smith on September 5, 1935 in Englewood, New Jersey. Walton, a graduate of Brown University, was a publicist and journalist who wrote for the New York Times, among other publications. Susan attended Mannes College of Music and the American Academy of Dramatic Art in NYC. She was a pianist and singer with the NYC Opera. Her voice was as captivating as it was arresting.

Susan met her husband John H. Tovey, Esq. at one of her performances; he shared her passion for the opera. They had four children: John, Priscilla, Marjorie, and Phoebe Ann. Susan loved her children and granddaughter Brooke immensely. She also loved her son-in-law Peter Van Aulen, always referring to him as her second son. She embraced her extended family in the same way, especially Laura Caruso and Robert Garbutt.

In addition to music, Susan had a passion for politics and activism, serving in various local, county, and state political roles in NJ. She was an extrovert with a gifted command of the English language and a quick wit. Susan had a love of learning and a collection of wonderful friends over the years with whom she shared stimulating conversation, a passion of hers. She never hesitated to stand up and speak up for what she believed in, and to do the same for her family and friends.

After leaving her career in the opera, Susan went on to develop successful careers in sales and human resources. She served as a Vice President of HR for Murphy Realty/Better Homes & Gardens, and a Vice President of Sales/Division Manager for Berwick Industries, a textile company. In her retirement, she hosted a radio program bringing prominent business and political leaders on to discuss the issues of the day. Indeed, she was a woman ahead of her time.

Perhaps Susan’s greatest quality was the deep and sincere interest she took in others, always ready to provide an encouraging and supportive word, steadfastly looking for their gifts. A wonderful listener, Susan cherished opportunities to help those who needed a compassionate ear.

Adding levity and good cheer to any situation, Susan could brighten a room the minute she entered. Her stage presence extended well beyond the opera.

A devoted Christian, she embraced the faith with hope and love and shared it whenever she had the opportunity to help someone. Susan’s loss leaves an enormous hole in the family, but we know she is with God in joy, free from suffering, singing and dancing with all those she loved.

A wake is scheduled for Monday, 5/2, from 7-9 PM, at Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood, NJ, and her funeral is on 5/3 at 10 AM in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Ridgewood.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


May 2, 2022

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Feeney Funeral Home
232 Franklin Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

May 3, 2022

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel RC Church
1 Passaic Street
Ridgewood, NJ


George Washington Memorial Park


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