OBITUARY – Susan Orenstein, 79, Longtime Resident and Past President of the Historical Society


Susan Orenstein, an active member of the Pacific Palisades Historical Society and the Temescal Canyon Association for many years, passed away on September 26.

Born November 25, 1942, to Randall and Pauline Coates, Susan grew up in Saline, Michigan, where she attended area schools. In 1960, she enrolled at the University of Michigan. There she met her future husband, Martin Orenstein.

After graduating, Susan worked at the University of Michigan television studios before moving to New York to become a stewardess at TWA. During her short time with the airline, she experienced the transition of domestic commercial airlines from prop to jet engines.

After Martin completed medical school, he and Susan were married in 1967 and headed west to Hollywood where Martin served his internship at Cedars of Lebanon. Susan found a job as assistant to the program manager at KFI radio.

The couple took a 6-week South Pacific tour before moving to Pacific Palisades in 1968, when Martin obtained a residency as a radiologist with the Wadsworth VA Hospital in Brentwood. He was the head radiologist at Ventura County Hospital when he died in 1983, at age 41.

Susan and Martin had two children: Gregg (born in 1972) and Mark (1974). She volunteered at Brentwood Science Magnet, where her sons attended school. She also taught stained-glass construction at Westside Art School and for UCLA Extension.

“Susan was an active member of the Temescal Canyon Association for more than 20 years and kept the minutes of our monthly meetings,” said past president Gil Dembo. “She had a strong interest in Los Liones State Park and the Liberty Canyon animal crossing. Her latest project was helping to plant a milkweed garden to increase Monarch butterflies and help their migration.”

Susan also joined the Palisades Historical Society and served as president from 1992 to 1994. “She had great computer skills and could easily handle our membership files and even MailChimp,” said longtime board secretary Shirley Haggstrom. “She was also instrumental in setting up our website. After I turned to her and David Wolfberg for help, the three of us launched the website on April 8, 2007.”

Haggstrom added, “Susan and I were friends and secretaries for many years—Susan for TCA and me for PPHS. We worked together doing newsletters, getting speakers, and writing letters for both organizations.”

 Susan is survived by her sons, Mark, who lives in East Los Angeles (wife Ann Gottesman), and Gregg, who lives in Pomona and will marry Junnette Tibor in November; a grandson six months in the womb; her brother, Roger Coates of Paw Paw, Michigan; her sister, Carol Jesmore of Sausalito, California; two nephews, Scott and Ken Coates, and several cousins.

A service is being planned, with location, date and time to be announced.

Donations in Susan’s honor can be made to the Pacific Palisades Historical Society, the Sierra Club, or the World Wildlife Foundation.



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One Response to OBITUARY – Susan Orenstein, 79, Longtime Resident and Past President of the Historical Society

  1. EMILY Mayer says:

    Susan was a longtime neighbor and always had a smile. We served together on
    the Miramar HOA Board and she was the best at taking meeting notes.
    She will be missed on our hill.

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