In Loving

Susan Gardes Kendall

August 24, 1948 – March 12, 2024

Susan Gardes Kendall, librarian, lover of books, and literacy advocate, died at home in Midlothian, Virginia, on March 12, 2024, surrounded by her immediate family. She was 75.

Susan was born in 1948 in Hagerstown, Maryland, where her mother’s family (Smith) has lived since the 1700s. The second of four children, she remained close with her siblings, George, Ann, and Paul, throughout her life. Her father was a career officer in the United States Navy and Sue spent her early years on naval bases throughout the eastern U.S. and Cuba. Her childhood imbued Sue with a love of the ocean, international travel, and reading.

After Sue’s father retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander, the family settled in Columbus, Ohio, where Sue went to high school. She later earned a bachelor’s degree from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, and returned to Columbus to earn a master’s in political science from The Ohio State University. At O.S.U. Sue met Steven Kendall, who would become her husband and cherished partner. Post-graduation, she worked for the Libyan Mission to the United Nations. Managing documents got her interested in librarianship, which would become her lifelong career.

By the summer of 1974, Sue was both newly graduated from Boston’s Simmons University with a master’s in library science and newly wed to Steve. Their first daughter, Kimberly, was born the next year, followed four years later by their second daughter, Kristen.

Over the next 15 years, the family lived in Wisconsin and Illinois before settling in 1989 in Marietta, Georgia. Susan advanced her career first at universities and then at public libraries while balancing the needs of the family. During her 26 years with Georgia’s Cobb County Library, she conducted historical research of the area and authored an Images of America book titled Vinings. Susan’s career embodied her commitment to service, community, and literacy—values that she transmitted to her daughters and pursued vigorously even outside of working hours.

She volunteered to teach English as a Second Language, served in the River Line Historic Area, a Georgia nonprofit dedicated to the historic preservation of the Vinings area, and was an active member of the McEachern Methodist Church in Powder Springs, Georgia. Sue retired in 2018 and in 2021 moved with Steve to Midlothian, Virginia, where she soon joined Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, James River Hikers, and Charter Colony Dinner Club.

Despite her active lifestyle, Sue was no stranger to the trials of illness and the tribulations of medical therapy. At age 49 she received a breast cancer diagnosis and endured an arduous treatment, which led to remission. As a survivor, she helped other cancer patients through their journeys by offering wisdom and support. She and Steve prioritized travel and visited many countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. At age 70, she was again diagnosed with cancer: a melanoma, and soon afterward a B-cell lymphoma. Sue remained optimistic and courageous through every challenge she faced. She wanted to thank the remarkable team of doctors, nurses, and staff at the V.C.U. Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center who cared for her using innovative treatments. 

Susan was looking forward to celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary with Steve in May of this year.

She is survived by her husband, Steven Walter Kendall; daughters Kimberly Kendall of New York City and Kristen Allegood of Richmond, Virginia; granddaughter Mirian Allegood of Richmond, Virginia; sister Ann Malkoff of Las Vegas, Nevada; and brother Paul Gardes of Fulsom, California. Susan is preceded in death by her parents, Jeanne Menges Gardes and George Austin Gardes, and older brother George Gardes, Jr.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, April 6 at 2:00 p.m. in Richmond, Virginia. Visit to R.S.V.P.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to ProLiteracy. To make a donation, visit, select “Donation Options,” then “Dedicate this donation: In Memory of” and enter Susan’s name and your email in the respective dedication fields so that the family can thank you