Gerda Leone Suesskind Smith, age 91, of Atlanta passed away Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, from complications related to Alzheimer’s.

She was born May 20, 1926, in Berlin. In 1938, at age 12, Gerda left Nazi Germany in a remarkable escape with her parents to settle in Newark, N.J. She later attended Ohio State University, where she met the love of her life, Morton Smith, whom she married in 1947.

After having three children, they made it a priority to host frequent family gatherings, which became highly anticipated and beloved annual events: August in Wellfleet, Mass.; May in Stowe, Vt.; and winters in Longboat Key, Fla.

Gerda was an accomplished bridge player who accumulated master points, was an active member in a wide variety of civic organizations, including ORT and the National Council of Jewish Women, and was renowned for her cooking and entertaining expertise, including table settings, floral arrangements and culinary works of art.

Her flourless chocolate cake decorated with exquisite chocolate ribbons was particularly popular. In response to a demand for her services, Gerda began a successful catering company at age 50 and frequently worked from dawn to late night in the kitchen.

Her quick wit, love of beauty and strength of character will be sorely missed.

Along with her cherished husband of 70 years, Gerda is survived by her children, Leslie Corris (Edward), Cindy Smith (Lauren Levin) and Neal Smith (Susan Margolin), as well as four grandchildren, Jennifer Corris, Tracy Kruehoeffer (Walter), Jeremy Smith and Gabrielle Smith.

Sign the online guestbook at www.edressler.com. The family especially thanks Pat and Janelle Thompson, as well as the Safe Haven staff, for their dedicated care. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to the Mort and Gerda Smith Philanthropic Fund at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. The funeral was a private ceremony for family only with arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.