Generations: Suzanne and Dave Broad

David Broad’s artistic journey began in failure. After high school, Dave entered the Army and was placed in a Field Artillery Unit in 1945, something of a joke to him since he had failed Trigonometry three times!  “My time at war was spent in a failed Artillery Unit comprised of 240 mm howitzers, the biggest guns at that time which were towed by 2½ ton trucks. I say ‘failed’ because after disembarking at Le Havre, when we hit the first hill, all the trucks’ engines burned out and we ditched them.”

Always interested in art, a buddy of David’s, unbeknownst to him, had answered an ad for artists in Stars and Stripes, on his behalf. David was astonished to find himself transferred to Paris into the Army’s Information and Education Division with the “giants” of the New York advertising art industry.

Becoming emotional even now, David speaks of entering Paris, sitting in the back of a 3-ton truck and crying. Being in Paris at an early age was a great experience.  Mustering out, David entered the Pratt Institute School of Art in Brooklyn, and then as a graduate, traveled to Los Angeles. He became hooked on California.

Armed with his art portfolio, he interviewed for jobs in San Francisco and there ran into one of his art buddies from the Army’s Information and Education Division.  Though he was not initially offered a job, in time he received a card from that studio showing two men on their knees begging David to join them in San Francisco.  And so a prolific and artistically satisfying career evolved.

Sue grew up in San Francisco Reform and had little exposure to Jewish life.  Though at the time Sue wasn’t interested in meeting anyone, she and Dave were set up on a blind date. Fortunately, she relented. David fell in love with Sue, Marin and Eichler homes, in that order. They bought their beloved Eichler in San Rafael where they have been for 58 years. They both agree, it was bashert.

David’s early exposure to Judaism was not particularly positive. Despite this, David and Sue thought their three kids should know about Judaism and make up their own minds. One year during the holidays, Steve, their seven-year-old son, came home from Sunday school and announced, “Mom and Dad, I don’t want a tree.” He was embarrassed in front of his friends, so they decided then not to have a Christmas tree.

Members of Rodef Sholom for fifty years, they’re glad they joined because their kids got a lot out of it, and they know their Jewish identity. This is when Sue’s involvement with Judaism began. She became active in Sisterhood working on progressive dinners with Dave creating the invitation art. Before she knew it, Sue was on the Temple Board of Directors, twice, and eventually became vice president and then president of the Temple. “It was a fabulous experience.  I learned more by being president than any other way I can imagine.  Each week for two hours, I met with Rabbi Michael Barenbaum.”

At that time, Sue’s friend Joyce Pavlovsky approached Sue about learning Hebrew together and for a couple of years they studied.  Ultimately they decided to study for their b’nai mitzvah. “I still get teary telling this,” explains Sue.  “During the service I told the congregation, ‘You always hand the Torah down to the next generation but my children handed it up to me.’  I looked up and everyone in the synagogue was teary eyed.”

Now retired from accounting and bookkeeping, Sue attends Fromm Institute classes at USF, plays bridge, and belongs to a book club that Sisterhood started 40 years ago. His clothes covered with streaks of paint, David now works in his studio every day!