Obituary for Nancy M. Ziter
1960 – 2024
Nancy M. Ziter, 63, of North Adams, MA, passed away peacefully on February 3, 2024 at her home with her brother, family and friends at her side. She fought a courageous year-long battle with cancer, during which time she was always appreciative of the love, care, and prayers she received.
She will be fondly remembered for her warm smile, generous disposition, her passionate and loving heart, and as a care provider, dedicated volunteer, and a respected business professional.
Nancy is survived by brother Alan R. Ziter of San Diego, her life partner Steve Phaneuf of North Adams and his family: Erin Phaneuf and Dan Smith, their daughters Stella and Mila Smith of Clarksburg; and Dylan Phaneuf and his husband Jose Alberto Moyet-Phaneuf of San Francisco; as well as many cousins and friends.
Nancy was born December 27, 1960, in North Adams, the youngest of 3 children of the late Louis and Joan (Bissaillon) Ziter. Nancy is predeceased by her parents and sister Linda.
She attended North Adams schools and graduated from Drury High School in 1979, where she participated in choral and band programs, musical productions, as well as Ski Club.
Nancy had a varied and successful local and international business career. She received a degree in Marketing Management from Bentley College in 1983 and a Master of International Business Administration from Johnson and Wales University in 1994.
She followed her parents career path at Sprague Electric in positions of operations and finance from 1983 to 1992 in North Adams, and then Mansfield, MA. She spent four years with The Kendall Company, first in Mansfield and then Miami in various Product, Export and International Credit management positions that included solo business travel to San Juan, Mexico City, Caraccas and Panama City, which was unusual for a young professional woman at the time.
Nancy moved to San Diego in 1997, where her brother lived, and started Business Advancement Solutions to provide facility solutions, policies and procedures, HR programs, as well as writing and implementing marketing and business plans.
She returned to North Adams after her mother’s passing in 2007 to assist her father. Former Mayor John Barrett appointed her Financial Officer for the city. She also served as acting Treasurer for a period of time. She worked 10 years as Business Manager for the North Adams Public Schools, where she managed budgets, updated policies, and was most proud of her fiscal management of the renovation of the former Conte Middle School into Colgrove Park Elementary School. She retired in 2017.
Nancy’s role as Caregiver for the Ziter family was predestined at age 4 when she was given a nurse’s uniform for Christmas. She assisted her Father with her Mother’s home care and she provided care in her home for her father, and for her sister Linda during the final months of her battle with cancer.
Nancy was an excellent “homestyle” cook and creative baker. She continued making family favorites following her mother’s passing in 2006 and enjoyed hosting BBQs and holiday meals at her home. She was also a crafter and enjoyed crochet. Over the decades, she crocheted many baby afghans for family and friends that have been passed down to new generations.
With instinctive skill, Nancy enjoyed sailing in San Diego, and sailing trips to the Caribbean, Belize, and the southern coast of Turkey.
She and Steve enjoyed concerts at SPAC, their annual warm-weather trips South and to St. Thomas, as well as to the Cape. She loved her time with her step-grandchildren, especially a memorable trip to Disney World in 2021.
Her final bucket list item was to go to San Diego in June 2023 for her brother’s retirement and milestone birthday celebrations. Determined to enjoy life to its fullest until the end, she doggedly left a San Diego hospital bed after a cancer-issue overnight stay for one final sail on San Diego Bay.
Nancy was a valued, dedicated, and well-organized volunteer with many community groups in San Diego, including with the San Diego Performing Arts League, the Naval Training Center Foundation, ARTS A Reason to Survive, Elder Help, and the ANGELS Foster Family Agency, and in North Adams at the United Way.
The family wants to thank Nancy’s cousins and friends, among them Ellen Sutherland, for their generous compassion, time, and care during her illness, her home aide Heather Durocher, and the staff and volunteers of HospiceCare in the Berkshires, especially Nurse Julie, for their extraordinary care during her final weeks.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Family, friends, and colleagues are invited to gather on Thursday February 15, 2024 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.at Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals, West Chapel, 521 West Main St., North Adams, MA. A prayer service will be at 12:00 p.m. A celebration reception will follow at Grazie Restaurant in North Adams. A private burial will be later in the family plot at Southview Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the HospiceCare in the Berkshires and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in care of Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals WEST CHAPELS, 521 West Main St. North Adams, MA 01247. To add to the Book of Memories, visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.