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Susanna Lombardi, 2021 Person of the Year | © Chris Wahlberg

Susanna Lombardi
Il Cenacolo
2021 Person of the Year

A third-generation Californian, Susanna was born in Ross, California, the only child of architect Charles Johnson Woodbury II, and former graphic designer Jane Starrett Woodbury. She grew up in the Dominican neighborhood of San Rafael in the house that her father designed, and attended local public schools. In college, she completed her lower division courses at College of Marin and then matriculated to UC Davis where she majored in geography. During the summers she worked at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison where she met David Lombardi. They were married in June of 1970 in Monterey, California.

After graduation and marriage, Sue worked at the American Express Company in the fraud and credit card divisions. She gave birth to Sara, her first child, in 1973 and became a stay-at-home Mom. In 1974 Dave took a sabbatical and the family moved to Belgium where he had a teaching position at NATO headquarters. Upon returning, the family settled in Larkspur and lived in her favorite house, a brown-shingled craftsman bungalow with a huge yard where Sara and her younger brother Eric, born in 1975, loved to play.

It was about this time Susanna began studying art history at College of Marin, an event that would lead to an extensive career. She earned her MA in the History of Art from UC Berkeley in 1984. After a sojourn working in the auction house of Butterfield & Butterfield, she began teaching art history at College of Marin. Subsequently she taught at Dominican College, City College of San Francisco, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State, UC Berkeley Extension, Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) and Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). While lecturing at Dominican, she was also the Associate Director of the Graduate Humanities program. She has been a guest lecturer for various organizations including Il Cenacolo (her favorite!), and has received numerous awards and grants in appreciation of her teaching.

In part due to the need for research, Sue and Dave traveled to such exotic places as the Ajanta Caves in India, and the Mayan site of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico. Of course, Europe was always a favorite. In addition they both became passionate about nature which led to safaris in Africa and numerous birding trips.

Since the onset of Covid-19, Susanna has been offering a series of bi-weekly art history lectures via Zoom, “The Essential Art Tour: American Cities.” She is currently working on her third book, For the Love of Angels, after publishing two other art history gift books through Inkwater Press: “Behold! Illuminations of the Virgin’s Reactions to the Annunciation” and “The Enigma of Mary Magdalene: A Pictorial Narrative.”

Sue and Dave have been happily married for 51 years. They share their two wonderful kids: Sara (married to Roberto DeSimoi, residing in Treviso, Italy), Eric (married to Celeste Bronzini, living in Burlingame) and four delightful grandchildren: Clara, Emily, Davey and Leo. Last, but not least, she is proud of her two therapy dogs, Reggie and Harry, who were both associated with the SFSPCA Animal-Assisted Therapy program. Dave Lombardi has been a member of Il Cenacolo since 1974, and Susanna became an official Cenacolista in 2020.

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