Tributes for

Vartan, Cynthia Smith

Cynthia Smith Vartan died peacefully at home with her son at her side on Sunday, October 28, 2012.Cynthia (Cinnie) was born in Providence, RI at a time when women's options were limited. After graduating from Lincoln School in RI in 1945 and Wellesley in MA with a History degree in 1949, she moved to NYC and learned to speed write, something women were expected to do. While many of her friends were starting their family, Cinnie joined the workforce as an editor at Rand McNally. Her career in the publishing business continued for over 45 years, advancing to Senior Editor, joining companies like Thomas Y. Crowell, Delacorte Press, Dodd- Meade, and finally at Henry Holt where she was an Editor-at-Large. She was ultimately forced to retire due to shrinking budgets in 1997.

Vartanig G. Vartan, a reporter for The New York Tribune, interviewed Cynthia. In November of 1961, she married VG Vartan, who became a financial reporter for The New York Times for 25 years; he died in 1988.

Cynthia was a strong, independent woman. Anyone who knew her knew she could not sit still. So, after her publishing career, she started volunteering at both the Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, leveraging her editing expertise. She also volunteered in Harlem on the weekends, helping children learn to read.

Kirk, her son, moved to San Jose, CA in 1998 to work at Cisco Systems, Inc. In August 2003, she had a major fall in her building the last day of a major blackout, that would typically require a hospital stay. However, with less than a week away from her son's wedding in San Jose, she told the intern examining her to just, "Patch me up" as nothing was going to stop her from attending such an important event.

Her son left the high-tech world in 2006, opened up a NY pizza shop, and within a year, Cynthia moved out to San Francisco. She almost immediately started exploring the city and within a couple of months, had figured out the mass transit system, got her monthly pass, and used CalTrain to visit her son in San Jose. She quickly found a volunteer job at the Asian Art Museum and took many courses at the Fromm Institute. While she missed NYC a lot, she did like California and being close to her son and daughter-in-law.

Cynthia is survived by her son Kirk; her sister Corinne (Keenie) in Exeter, New Hampshire; her niece and nephews the Richardsons; cousins from the Smith, Doty, Ferrell, and Brown families; and lots of dear friends on both coasts.

Funeral services will be held at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Avenue, between 73rd and 74th on Thursday December 6th – 11:00am. A lunch reception will immediately follow the service.

Cynthia will be buried in Providence, RI alongside her husband and her parents. The service will be at Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence on Saturday December 8th – 10:45am.

Donations can be made to:
American Cancer Society ( – 800.227.2345
City Harvest ( – 646.412.0643
Second Harvest Food Bank ( – 866.234.3663


Mortuary: Halsted N. Gray-Carew & English Funeral Directors