The Nancy Strauss
Hematological Cancer Patient Advocacy Program

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Friends and Family Share Their Memories

Click here to read the eulogy for Nancy Strauss written by Cantor Kim Harris

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As the oldest grandchildren, Heather and I had a very special relationship with Grandma Nancy. She and Papa Jay are like second parents to us. From the time I was born through my early teenage years I would spend at least 1 weekend a month with them. Those weekends would always include a special dinner at my favorite restaurant, Blackbird, and then a trip to the movies, museums, or a Bulls Game. As I got older, those weekends in the city turned into weeks in Arizona where it was only my Grandparents and me. Grandma Nancy and I would take walks to the park and hang out all day by the pool. I really had a great time. She even assured me before my first flight home to Chicago from Arizona by myself that my parents would still recognize me; I was only gone for a week. Grandma Nancy, I love you very much, and you will forever be in my heart.

From her Grandson Craig Jaffe
December 27, 2010

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According to Grandma Nancy I was her “Heather Head” who she loved so much.
Grandma Nancy was always my young, fashionable Grandma who never met a mirror she didn’t like. While most people have wallpaper decorating their bathrooms my grandma had mirrors covering every angle. My grandma and I loved shopping together. She would take me to all of my favorite stores and wait in the dressing room for hours at a time dealing with my pickiness. I spent the majority of my vacations in Arizona with my grandparents. Grandma Nancy and I loved to go horseback riding in the mountains and lay out by the pool. We would spend our evenings going out to dinner and catching up on our favorite TV shows even though she would end up falling asleep on the couch next to me. My grandma’s favorite animal is a giraffe so I made her a giraffe blanket. She would take her naps with it and loved it very much. As I got older and went off to college Grandma Nancy and I would always email each other. I looked forward to hearing from her every day. I could go on and on about how much I love my Grandma Nancy. She met so much to me and I will miss her forever. Grandma Nancy, I love you so much and wish you were still here.

From her Granddaughter Heather Jaffe
December 27, 2010

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Someone once said,  A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend .

Nancy Strauss is my grandmother; but that title alone could never do justice to the person she is. Grandma Nancy was a magnificent woman, inside and out, a role model and heroine, a devoted and loving wife, a wonderful mother, a loyal friend, a fashionista, a personal shopper, a lunch food connoisseur, a competitive board gamer (pause)… but above all, a courageous fighter, a champion for everyone she loved, and truly the greatest grandmother in the whole world.

No matter how old I was, Grandma Nancy had the most amazing way of transforming herself into the perfect best friend for me. I would sleep over at my grandparents’ apartment often, but regardless of how frequently I was there, she took me to BLOCKBUSTER every time so that we could watch the Little Rascals together, my favorite movie. The next morning would always be the best shopping experience a little girl could imagine and hanging out with her honestly made me feel on top of the world. My fondest food-related memories consist exclusively of lunch-time in Arizona. Her food just tasted better than it did anywhere else. But I should apologize to her for usually eating all of her matzo crackers and edamame (Sorry Grandma). Grandma Nancy was also a good luck charm for my brother, Michael, or M-Flem as she called him (he called her G-Ma). He had his first birdie while playing golf with her, which I can imagine made her so happy and proud. She would also play the game 'Sorry' with Michael and I, and never complained when I obnoxiously insisted on being the red pawn; instead, she happily took the blue pieces and didn't even gloat when she would win. In the mornings, Grandma Nancy would take my brother and me to the pool, after reminding us to turn off our bedroom lights, which was one of her most important rules (there were many); for whatever reason I preferred to spend most of those warm sunny Arizona days under the water (literally). Any grandparent would have been concerned to see her six-year-old granddaughter swimming under water for several minutes, but Grandma Nancy took pride in it, as she would with all things her grandchildren did.

I know that she would have loved to watch me become a doctor, get married, have a family of my own. And while she won't be here physically for those moments in my life, I know that she'll see them all… she wouldn't miss them for the world.

My grandma was so proud of my brother and me, and never failed to show it. She believed in me, in ways that, at times, I couldn't even believe in myself; she made me feel beautiful and confident. My grandma wasn't just a relative, she has been my greatest support, and I will never forget that.

I will miss Grandma Nancy ever day. I know that she left a hole in all of our hearts. But if I could speak to her one more time, I wouldn't tell her that. She already knows how deeply we love her. Instead I want to tell her thank you. Thank you for always being there, for loving me unconditionally, for celebrating my accomplishments, for celebrating me. Now, Grandma Nancy, it is time for us to celebrate you. So, on every warm and sunny day, I will know you are around me, cheering me on, smiling at whatever I am doing, just like you always have; and when I see my ambitions become realities one day, every success I have, every piece of happiness in my life, I dedicate to you, the coolest and most incredible grandmother anyone could have. I will forever love you.

From her Granddaughter Rachel Fleming
December 27, 2010

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You shared my joy in the good times and helped me see the humor in the bad times. Your support made everything a little easier, and that made a big difference. You always listened sensitively enough to really hear me, and you looked deeply enough to really see me. You always made time to make me feel worthwhile.

I will miss you dear sister, but I will carry you with me always.

From her sister Linda Portnoy
December 27, 2010

To post your own tribute about Nancy here, please email us at ICANCancerPrograms@askican.org and we will post it within 24 hours. Please include your phone number.

The Nancy Strauss Hematological Cancer Patient Advocacy Program
is a vital part of ICAN's Cancer Patient Advocacy and Clinical Trials Program Advocacy Services.

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