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Susan J. (Gualtieri) Matsuyama
March 20, 2024


Susan (Gualtieri) Matsuyama, 70, passed away unexpectedly on March 20, 2024, after a loving and joy-filled life with her family and friends. Despite the challenges of a chronic progressive disease, Susan lived her life to the fullest, and let nothing stand in the way of her love for her family, friends and new adventure. Susan’s sudden loss was completely unexpected, and her husband, family and friends are profoundly saddened.

The loving wife of Nagao Matsuyama, Susan and Nagao spent their early years together exploring, traveling, building several businesses and enjoying life to the fullest. As Susan’s chronic Multiple Sclerosis progressed, Nagao and Susan embraced a quieter life, which made their supportive bond even stronger. Susan loved to eat the special food Nagao made her, and their meals together were very special to them. As a Karate Master, Nagao developed special techniques to help Susan build and maintain her strength. Nagao motivated Susan and helped bring light into her life.

Susan loved people and remained friends with her elementary-school friends throughout her life. These “old” friends along with the many “new” friends, she made throughout her life brought joy and support that kept Susan fighting to live her best life.

Susan was born into the loving family of Nicholas and Ida Gualtieri. Susan was the youngest of five children: Domenic Gualtieri (Margery McCullough Gualtieri), Rose Burke (Robert Burke), Nancy Burke (Nicholas Burke) and the deceased, Samuel Gualtieri (deceased Rosemary Mayne Gualtieri). Susan was devoted to her siblings, as they were to her, providing unending support and encouragement throughout her life.

Susan loved seeing her eleven nieces and nephews grow into successful adults. She got great joy in attending their milestone events, and they all returned her love. Susan was the aunt to: Cara Gaudet (Dean), Gina Nagvajara (Prawat), Joseph Gualtieri, Maria Guillemette (William) and Thomas Gualtieri (Amy), Michael Gualtieri (Lisa), Miranda Gualtieri (Mark Bean), Lyn Sincock (LLew), Cheryl Burke Lucas, Robert Burke, Jr (Jen Wilson), Stephen Burke (Rose).

Susan got the same joy from her 21 great-nieces and great-nephews:
Brady Gaudet, Nate and Ty Nagvajara, Justin, Grant, Leo and Gavin Gualtieri, Emma, Sam and Lily Gualtieri, Lindsay Daly, Nate Gualtieri, Maya Elkind, Luke Sincock, Olivia and Sofia Lucas, Coleman and Oscar Burke, and Jasper, Linda and Emma Burke.

Susan is the sister-in-law of Keiko Matsuyama of Osaka, Japan, and the daughter-in-law of the late Hiromishi and Yumiko Matsuyama. Susan loved hosting their visits from Japan in her home in Topsfield, where they “tried” to teach her to speak Japanese and showed her the Japanese cooking techniques. Susan was able to leverage these lessons when she and Nagao opened a Japanese Restaurant in Cambridge, where Japanese specialties including the then-not-as-ubiquitous sushi was a fan-favorite, and her egg rolls became a favorite at family events.

As Susan’s MS progressed, she was supported in her goal of remaining at home for as long as possible. Most recently she was supported in this by her devoted and loving Personal Care Assistants who mourn Susan, as well: Amarilis Depina, Mariana DeSousa, Celina Barbosa, Shanike Williams and Ana Amado, and previously Wilson Monteiro. Their care, love and compassion was outstanding, allowing Susan to remain at home for all but the past year. These special people were a second family to Susan, and she loved them dearly.

Susan received a Bachelor in Science in Education from Lesley College and a Masters in Science in Education from Wheelock College, putting her degrees to good use in the Malden Public School Systems, teaching where she researched and developed an extensive math system for the diagnosis, evaluation and remediation of students with math difficulties. When Proposition 2.5 placed budgetary constraints resulting in teacher cutbacks, Susan took the opportunity to travel with her similarly impacted friends, and embarked on a summers-long back-packing trip across Europe and the Middle East. This trip fed her love of travel. Susan took many trips and travelled cross-country visiting family and friends, and seeing the majestic sites of the U.S. Early in their marriage, Susan travelled to Japan with Nagao to visit family and friends there, as well.

In her early years, Susan was very active in the karate community, achieving the rank of brown belt. Along with Nagao and others in the Karate Community, and before it became popular, Susan participated in the growth of Karate in colleges in the New England area. Susan was President of the N.E. Collegiate Karate Conference, coordinating Karate classes and organizing tournaments with over one hundred participants.

When she wasn’t traveling, Susan managed and worked at several businesses and organizations, where she put her skills, knowledge and experience to good use. Susan was an Access Coordinator at the Commonwealth of MA Department of Transitional Assistance, a manager at Raytheon in their data systems department, a PCA Coordinator with Till, a marketing and sales coordinator for the the SPS Diversity Job Fair, an event coordinator for the YMCA in Stoughton, and a project manager for a division of Alcoa Aluminum. Of course, Susan helped with her husband, at his businesses, as well.

Susan touched so many with love and support throughout her 70 years on this earth, she will be missed but never forgotten. Sue made a difference in the lives of everyone she touched, as they made a difference in hers.

Rest in Peace beloved Susan.

Funeral service will be held at the A. Spadafora Funeral Home, 865 Main Street, Malden on Thursday March 28th at 11:30am. Visitation will be held from 10:00am-11:30am prior to the service. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Entombment of ashes will be in Holy Cross Mausoleum, Malden.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Susan’s memory are appreciated:

By mail to:
The National MS Society
Greater New England ChapterPO Box 289?Canton, MA 02021

By phone at:

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Spadafora Funeral Home
865 Main Street
Malden, MA 02148