In Memory of




Obituary for Mildred Carol Nanna

With a look of serenity on her face, our beloved mother Mildred Carol Nanna closed her eyes for the last time and slipped away from us quietly in the afternoon on May 21, 2020.

Hopefully she was able to reflect joyfully on her 93 years filled with memories of family and friends whom she loved dearly and who gave her much love and happiness throughout her life. Married to Joseph Nanna until 1970, she was blessed with having three sons Joseph, Robert (Bobby), Michael and a daughter Debra (Debbie) as well as 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Quite a brood. Mil, as she was known by family is survived by her sister Corinne Dunn, brother-in-law Bill, brother Ronald Distante sister-in-law Lisa, sister-in law Rita Distante (wife of Frank) and way too many nieces and nephews to list by name. She is pre-deceased by her parents Alfred and Euphrasia (Fay), two brothers Joseph and Frank Distante, sister Lucille and her husband Mike Fiorillo, her niece Baby Barbara Fiorillo, nephew Kenneth Distante, nephew & godson Robert Dunn and great grandson Baby Kevin Camardella.

Carol (as she preferred to be called), lived through some turbulent and sometimes painful times but always held her head up high while keeping a great sense of humor. She was a very proud, beautiful woman who loved her independence and was still driving until her mid-80s. She could be quite charming, witty and yes, could also be sharp-tongued and sarcastic with the best of them. She could give it out and she could take it as well. But always with a laugh.

She worked hard all of her life as a waitress in many of the best restaurants, Giovanni's in New Rochelle, the Villa Nova in Pelham and Back Street in Mamaroneck which later moved to Yonkers and became known as Spiritosso’s just to name a few. She also operated her own businesses with her second husband Frank (a luncheonette next to Deluxe Taxi Co. in New Rochelle and a Hot Dog Truck on Lockwood Avenue across from New Rochelle Hospital); both serving some of her best recipes. She was well known for her infamous onions which she would generously smother on top of Sabrett Hot Dogs. A favorite of all who tried them. It was her secret recipe that she’d share but only if she knew you’d do them justice. No one ever has. She had many prized recipes that she enjoyed preparing for family, friends and the occasional stranger. On any given Sunday, we could look forward to her fabulous home cooked meals where she would serve her delicious pasta dishes, meatballs and eggplant parmigiana. Memories of these meals still make our taste buds tingle.

The last 2 years she spent at the Grove Nursing Rehabilitation Center in Valhalla were not always easy for her but by all accounts she was well cared for by the staff who were very fond of her and appreciated her feistiness. She loved getting surprise visits even though she would tell you not to come. "It’s a long trip or the weather will be bad" were things she’d always say. Nobody listened. She worried about everyone all the time. Sadly, when visitation became disallowed because of the pandemic, it took her spirit away and made it very difficult to communicate with her especially when she would accidentally (or maybe not) disconnect the telephone. Some of us did manage to have a few entertaining conversations with her like when she put the phone down and started singing Italian love songs. She still had a terrific voice as had been proven by tapes she made over the years of her singing along with recordings of Barbra Streisand, Connie Francis, Frank Sinatra and others. She loved Frank Sinatra and would like to remind us of her days of being a “bobbysoxer” at the Paramount Theatre. How “Ole Blue Eyes” never stole her away, we’ll never know. She gave us music to remember her by. Brilliant!

Being the ageless figure that she was, our mother would always lie about her age. She claimed to be 39 for at least twenty five years after she turned 40 and because of her timeless beauty, no one seemed to question its validity. It somehow feels fitting that she would pass away at 93. Forever 39 if we invert the numbers. Funny how that happened!

Near the end of her life's journey she endured a 2 week battle with pneumonia but after a short period of recovery just didn't have enough strength to keep going. It had become more and more difficult for us to reach her by phone. On the morning of May 21st, Michael was able to get through to her room allowing him to be the last family member that would ever speak to her. That conversation will forever be etched in his heart. It was during this phone call that Michael told her how much we all loved and missed her. He mentioned all her children, their spouses Darlene, Carmen, Augie and Kris, her grandchildren and great grandchildren all by name assuring her of our love. He told her that once this pandemic was over that we’d be able to come visit. He also told her that she would have to eat in order to regain her strength. Her words to him were: If I eat, I’ll get well? Yes, he said, so please make sure to eat. They said I love you to one another and said their last goodbye. She died a few hours later.

It was during that conversation that we believe mom was finally able to find peace in knowing she was loved; and acceptance to let go and return to her Heavenly Father. Knowing that she practiced her faith when she was able to attend church services, we are comforted in the belief that before she left this world, she probably said one final prayer to God to watch over her family. None of us knows for sure what happens after we take our last breath on Earth, but it’s comforting to envision mom being greeted by all her loved ones who had gone before her. Perhaps the first to greet her was her brother-in-law Mike who passed away a few weeks before her. They adored one another. Anyone who knew the dynamics between the two knows the first words out of his mouth were probably: Hey Mil, did you bring your eggplant parmigiana?

Mom, we all love you and will miss you dearly. We will forever keep you in our hearts. May you rest in peace for all eternity. It’s comforting to know that once again "Joe Black" is with his one true love .