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Dear Suri & Hanie,

Over the past few months I have been working very diligently at putting together an album and timeline for you all about Nancy. Despite my frustrations and sadness, I have found comfort in reminiscing with friends about the fun times we had with Nancy.

I cannot help but think about what Nancy has done for me. She was an incredible friend and motivator. “I can’t” was not part of her vocabulary; instead, she lived for the challenge.

Nancy shared her love for skiing and took me out west where I learned to ski at twenty-five years old. I didn’t see much of her on the slopes, occasionally from the ski lift. We always looked forward to the recaps of each other’s day.

Unfortunately, one of the few times I did ski with Nancy and tried to keep up, I ended up with a mouthful of loose teeth. However, without her, I would not have made it out west to broaden my horizons, meet good friends or discover my love of the snow-capped Rockies. Nancy was a fabulous skier and I always told her that she had better watch out because one day I would ski as well as she could.

In the summer of 1995, Nancy ran the Corporate Challenge with me. It was such a hot day that the race was not clocked. Thanks to Nancy’s coaching, my time was quite impressive despite the difficult conditions. I was also with Nancy when she considered running the NYC Marathon. When she started to train I would run with her in Central Park before work. The routine became a two-mile run for me, just up to Sheep’s Meadow, at which point I would stop and rest on one of the benches until Nancy ran down to 59th Street and picked me up on her way home. Of course I brought emergency money along for a taxi, just in case I couldn’t make the run back with her. But she would never allow that!

To be Nancy’s friend, you had to be creative and always on your toes. I would frequently get calls about Cantor parties that we had to attend and last minute trips she had planned out for us. Making a flight by the skin of our teeth was very common.

Nancy was the most fearless person I knew. Whether it was skiing down a double-black-diamond, snowboarding, snow shoeing, jumping off cliffs, hiking, and especially cycling, there was no doubt, she was the leader of the pack. Her inner drive, determination, and willpower were an enigma to me.

She was a caring roommate. Nancy made sure I was eating right, always asked if I needed anything washed and if I was sick in bed, she would pick up my medicine. She also shared her annual box of Godiva chocolate with me, which she guarded from everyone else. She was a simple but good cook. Breakfast in bed was not unusual: pancakes, French toast, and strawberry-banana fruit smoothies! Harvey Wallbanger cake became Nancy’s special dessert that ultimately became a favorite of the company that we frequently entertained in our apartment. Chicken breast marinated in lemon garlic sauce, then dipped in cornflake crumbs was Nancy’s best creation.

I will always remember Nancy’s routines: doing her laundry, cleaning her closet, eating her Kosher Market chicken dinner on the floor of her room, going to the gym or cycling, and davening every morning in the dark living room before she left for work.

I realize that I probably spent more time with Nancy than anyone else has. We lived together for eight years, took vacations together, celebrated holidays and Shabbat together, and stayed up till all hours of the night, together.

Despite any frustrations Nancy may have had, she was one of the happiest people I knew. She was always laughing, laughing until she cried, and made us all cry with her. She shared so many of her crazy stories with me. I know her favorite color, the boys and men she liked, and all of the old high school and college clothing in her closet, which she finally cleaned out.

I admired so many of Nancy’s qualities. Nancy was the most direct person I knew. Her opinions and beliefs were strong and unwavering, her work ethic was like no other. She had grandiose plans and dreams to start an Olympic cycling team for Israel. Because of her determination in everything she did, especially her recent mastery of cycling, I believe that she would have made her vision a reality. Nancy had a craving for balance. She spoke often about her struggle between work, religion, and cycling. By taking the job at Cantor, Nancy was able to achieve the balance she so desired.

Nicole Fersel

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Acknowledgments Introduction Testimonies Photo Gallery 1 Reflections from Nancy's Mother