Susan D. Pizzano, 63; led fund-raising for fountain

Susan Detscher Pizzano was a nurse, chef, and writer.
Susan Detscher Pizzano was a nurse, chef, and writer.
Posted: November 26, 2011

Susan Detscher Pizzano, 63, of Chestnut Hill, who raised money to build the Top of the Hill Fountain near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike, died of breast cancer Sunday, Nov. 20, at home.

Her husband, Joseph, said she was cochair of Friends of the Fountain Plaza.

"She had a very complex, interesting life," he said.

After working as a nurse, teacher, and pastry chef, Mrs. Pizzano was attracted to the writings of Michael Harrington, author of the 1962 work The Other America: Poverty in the United States.

"I went to Holy Cross College, and he went to Holy Cross. She was inspired by that, looking for another challenge," her husband said.

At Temple University in the 1990s, he said, "she found a mentor and had a book contract to do a Michael Harrington biography."

She traveled with Harrington to research her dissertation - the biography - and earned her Temple doctorate in history. Her husband said the book was not published.

Born in Greenwich, Conn., Mrs. Pizzano earned a bachelor's degree in nursing at the Catholic University of America in 1970.

After working as a registered nurse in charge of an intensive-care unit at St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark, N.J., from 1971 to 1973, Mrs. Pizzano taught nursing at the former Germantown Hospital and the former St. Agnes School of Nursing.

In the late 1970s, her husband said, she trained as a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America and used that skill at the Center City restaurant Les Amis, and at what is now the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Pizzano is survived by four brothers and a sister.

A life celebration will be held, with the site and date to be determined.


Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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