Sunday, September 3, 2023

Obituary: Nedra Nobleman, my mom, 1944-2023

Nedra Nobleman, 79, a technicolor dreamcoat of a woman, passed away in Hamden, CT, on August 28, 2023, with her two children by her side, loving her deeply.

The upbeat attitude she maintained despite considerable challenges throughout her life was all the more inspirational because she was charmingly unaware of the willpower this took.

Born Nedra Michel in New Haven, CT, on May 27, 1944, she was only three when she lost her mother Beatrice. She attended Hillhouse High School and graduated Wheelock College in 1966 with a BS in Early Childhood Education. That summer, she visited Europe for the first time, keeping a travel journal peppered with choice comments including “By mistake, we sat through a Greek lecture. On what? Who knows.”

Her father Morris, who owned Michel’s Art Shop in New Haven, passed away in 1970. After working as a freelance portrait artist, teaching elementary school for several years, and writing and illustrating a picture book that was never published, Nedra and then-husband Howard had a son, Marc, and a daughter, Darby. Nedra took them to Sears to get their photos taken a lot. She believed the act of artistic creation should start from nothing, so she gave her kids blank paper rather than coloring books.

When she returned to work, she reinvented herself as a top salesperson for high-end jewelers (Peter Indorf, Sykes-Libby) and eclectic galleries (Wave, Endleman) in the New Haven area. At the same time, she designed and sold note cards and custom jewelry. Her workshop was the dining room table, except on Passover and Thanksgiving.

She was a gem brighter than any she wore.

She nicely ran a mean garage sale.

She could beat you at Scrabble.

She habitually scribbled often indecipherable notes on any scrap of paper within reach, clipped them together in arbitrary groupings, then rarely if ever looked at them again.

She pursued a rich array of cultural activities, from finding treasures at crafts shows to ushering at Long Wharf Theatre. 

She didn’t like cats till she loved them and opened her home to several, starting with Teva.

HSN really stands for “Here Spends Nedra.”

T.J. Maxx should name an aisle after her.

Think of 20 colors. Her signature outfit featured all of them.

Emotionally intelligent, she was willing to learn from her children and laugh at herself. 

She outlived most of her best friends, losing several way too young: Mickey, Andrea, Sandy, Colleen, Barbara.

May her memory be a blessing…and a beacon. She did not think of herself as a leader but led by example her whole life. 

Nedra will be kept alive by Marc and Darby, Marc’s wife Daniela, Darby’s husband David, and grandchildren Lara, Asher, Rafael, and Jonah.

last photo of Darby and me with our mom, 8/9/23

She would not miss the chance to buy herself a chair shaped like a giant shoe or a third Kindle though the first two were unopened, but she took even more pleasure in giving gifts. The best one was her presence among us for nearly 80 years, which was not nearly long enough.


Ruth said...

This is an amazing obituary -- well done, Marc.
What a force, your mom. You were all so lucky to have her, and I love the way you have shared her with the less fortunate (like me). XO

Cobernicus said...

A beautiful tribute to a truly beautiful woman. He memory will be a blessing and her goodness will be carried on by her children. Thank you for sharing!


hobbyfan said...

Condolences on the loss, Marc.