Nanette S. Assaf was born on September 20, 1925 in Cape May, NJ to Marie and Henry Shehab. She was the youngest and only daughter with two brothers, Alfred and Edward. She was married on January 16, 1955 to our father, Faris Assaf. A couple years later, she had her son, Richard, and then a year or so after that, her daughter, Janet. Our father passed away in 1986.
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After graduating from Manual Training High School; Nanette started working as a secretary for several companies during WWII, including a furrier, where she also helped model their coats. Perhaps her favorite job was working in the public relations department at the Army’s Fort Ord, where her brother, Alfred, was stationed. She “repeatedly” regaled her children, grandchildren, relatives, friends and even strangers with stories of her time in Monterrey and her other jobs. She gave up working while pregnant with Richard and became a devoted mother as her life’s work.
One of the most important facets of her life was family. She was always caring; first with her parents, then with her children, grandchildren and finally her great-grandchildren. She supported her blind father and helped her mother throughout her 27 years of widowhood.
As children, our mother was an important presence to us, always helping, always worrying and always there. What we thought was a normal family dynamic, we later learned was actually not too common. One essence of the closeness of our family is that since birth, we have always celebrated Christmas together for 60 uninterrupted years. This has continued with the second and third generations of our family; all due to our mother.
In addition to raising us, Nanette was an instrumental part of her grandchildren’s lives, Nicole and Christopher, who lived on the floor above her for their formative years. It was pretty much a tradition that on Saturday mornings, Nic and Chris would venture downstairs, where our mother would make them pancakes. She was also there when they would come home from school with a snack always ready. In fact, the first thing our mother would always ask is if anyone wanted something to eat. This continued right up until the end, where the first thing she would ask was if you wanted a snack, even when she was in the hospital or rehab center.
Our mother was thrilled with the third generation of our family, which started with Jack in 2010 and ended most recently with Bradley this past February. In between are William, Matthew, Kaitlin and Samantha. Although she was less active with them, our mother knew all of their birthdays. In fact, up until the very end, she remembered everyone’s birthday!
Nanette finally succumbed to a host of ailments including kidney failure and other infections that began in January and ended on Saturday, May 18, 2019. She is survived by her dearest brother, Alfred, her loving children, Richard, Janet and son-in-law, Al, her beloved grandchildren, Nicole and Christopher and their spouses John and Nancy, and the most recent joys of her life, her great-grandchildren: Jack, William, Matthew, Kaitlin, Samantha and Bradley.
She was also an aunt to her cherished nieces and nephews, including her namesake Nanette, Denise, Robert, Richard, Elaine, Rose Marie, Dennis, Melanie, Lynn, Tim, Leslie and Ted.
She will be greatly missed by her family, and we will always “love her more.”
Janet and Richard