Norman Dean Home for Services, Inc.
16 Righter Avenue
Denville, NJ 07834
(973) 627-1880
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Fannie T. Cervantes

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Fannie T. Cervantes

AGE: 97 • Denville

Fannie T. Cervantes, New York City-born and a Denville resident for 15 years, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, July 5th, 2014. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 16th at 10:00am at the Denville Community Church, Diamond Spring Road. Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson (NY), on Tuesday, July 15th at 1:30 pm. To light a candle, please visit Donations may be made to the Fresh Air Fund ( and to Doctors Without Borders ( ).

Fannie was born September 30, 1916, in Brooklyn, NY to the late Maria Cacciatore and Vincenzo Terrano, and was baptized with the name Serafina, by which she apparently was never known.

Predeceased by her husband Michael Cervantes, she is survived by niece Ana Cervantes of the US and Mexico and by friends who are family of the heart.

Fannie was feisty, kind, loyal, a speaker of truth, passionate for justice and peace in the world, generous and brilliant. She was a lover of music, language, and nature: beauty of all kinds. Throughout her life, she radiated intellectual curiosity, spiritual depth, and great determination and discipline.

In her youth, Fannie yearned for higher education. A graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, she pursued knowledge as a student at the National Bible Institute in Manhattan, which later became Shelton College. Transferring those credits to New York University, she graduated with a degree in English Literature.

Fannie shared a passion for poetry, prayer, and social action with the love of her life, Michael (Miguel Ángel) Cervantes. Fannie and Michael were married on July 31, 1937, at Broadway Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. When Michael passed on in early 2004, they had been married for 66 years: lifelong companions and friends. Fannie and Michael lived and worked for years in the great city of New York, spending summers in various parts of New Hampshire, before moving to Franciscan Oaks in 1999.

After 38 years of service as secretary-treasurer of Manhattan's Wood and Hogan, Inc, a seller of distinguished English antique furniture reproductions, Fannie retired on January 1, 1987. Though Wood and Hogan was a company that sold to decorators rather than to the general public, Fannie fondly remembered the day when then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy visited the showroom to make selections for the White House.

Fannie was active in the life and mission of three New York City Presbyterian congregations: Broadway, North, and Central. An essential focus of her social justice work was equal access to quality education. During those "vacation" summers in New Hampshire, she and Michael were the guiding lights for a unique college scholarship and mentoring program.

Perhaps these poetic words, which inspired Fannie, might best describe her essence:

In a forest

Far away


Towering trees and

Crashing falls

One tiny bloom appears

Fragile …

Quiet …

And oh, so beautiful.

Physically fragile, yet mighty in spirit, Fannie Terrano Cervantes made her mark on this Earth, and in the hearts of many.

Published in Daily Record on July 13, 2014
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