Nina Beth Nestor
1929 - 2015
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1929 - April 11, 2015 Nina died today. She had planned to be immortal but sometimes things just don't work out. She was the eldest of three girls and spent most of her life trying to convince her sisters of her own superiority vis-a-vis them. It was a hard fought battle across 8 decades that resulted in many skirmishes, rolled eyes, and "I told you so." She met a man and eloped but upon returning was told she would have to have a "real" wedding so that people would know that she was "not that kind of girl." Money was wasted on a formal white dress and society was spared any pretend shame. After she married, they relocated to a sunny southern clime and hoped to enjoy life. Unfortunately her mother-in-law also relocated which naturally dashed those dreams. Nina had two children who were the most intelligent, caring, wonderful children in the world, except those times when they weren't. She got divorced because that was what all the cool kids were doing in the 1970's. Then she married some other guy (whose mother was already dead) and moved again. She worked, lived her life and got on with things. When she got diagnosed with terminal cancer she decided to just let nature take its course. Surprisingly, she didn't die quickly as was expected. She lived for several years mystifying all of the doctors. No one had a medical explanation so one doctor sort of gestured to the heavens and she shot him down right away. Nina was an atheist and she wasn't going to let some fantasy sky god get the credit for a mystery of medicine. Besides, they were in an exam room so the doctor wasn't gesturing to the heavens but rather to the recessed florescent lighting above. Even adamant believers don't think their god resides inside industrial lighting. So, I would say "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" except for two things: 1) That sounds a bit biblical and as I stated Nina would not approve of that. 2) Many years ago I took a biology class and when they talked about conception and birth there was no mention of ashes. Perhaps it should be "Ova to ashes." The end.

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Published in Los Angeles Times from Apr. 14 to Apr. 18, 2015.
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34 entries
April 20, 2016
Thank you for posting a comment on The Muse about your obit for your mother. The obituary is a delightful read and serves as a reminder that it's ok to keep our senses of humor regardless of what life throws our way. And it's clear from reading this obit that Nina reared bright and clever offspring.
April 20, 2016
What an amazing life she had! Love and light to you and your family as you grieve. My sincerest condolences for your loss.
Ali Bawor
April 20, 2016
Kudos! Both to you mom for living such a life and you for writing about it.
November 6, 2015
I am a stranger also who had the wonderful opportunity of reading Nina's obituary and also having it read to me. It was read out loud at my job, in a medical examiner's office. Though I am a Christian, Nina sounds like a lovely person to have known with a vivid sense of humor. Since I don't preach and I respect everyone, I think she would have tolerated our differences and we would have gotten along great. Thank you for giving others a glimpse of Nina & a small view of your life with her.
Tracey Williams
November 5, 2015
This will be a blueprint of sorts for my own obit that I plan to write before I die. Better get on that right away, because I tend to jaywalk.
Marilyn Backus
July 2, 2015
Nina sounds like me, I think we would have got along great. I will joins the lot of others who wishes I could have known her. Sad she is no longer here but glad she was honored with such an awesome obituary.
Heather Sawyer
April 30, 2015
April 24, 2015
Best wishes to you, and I'm sorry for your loss.
Garry Love
April 23, 2015
Just another stranger taking time to say how much I enjoyed your tribute to Nina. I'm sorry for your loss, but happy that she left you with such a wonderful perspective on life.
Al Porterfield
April 22, 2015
thanks for a wonderful obituary; i feel like i'd known her a bit. and i'm very glad that Nina got to read it before she died. i too am an atheist, and i appreciate her wit and wisdom in that arena. thanks, Nina, for being so you!
Hollis Ramsey
April 21, 2015
As I often said to Nina (and to anyone else patient enough to listen), I'm the luckiest man in the world. I usually blame my bride, but having been Nina's neighbor for over 15 years was another example of my good fortune. Her daughter has done an excellent job painting he portrait in words, as evidenced by the smiles on our faces and the comments of so many total strangers who "wish I'd known her". Thanks, Diane!
Bret Gross
April 21, 2015
I'm a stranger to you and your family but your wonderfully real accounting of Nina's life was touching. I'm sorry for your loss and hope your healing is eased by her memory.
April 21, 2015
Add me to the list of people who wish they had known Nina. I am sorry for your loss but envious that you had her in your life.
kate stolz
April 21, 2015
Diane, I am so sorry about your awesome mom passing. Now I know where you get your wit, and compassion for others. I remember stories over the years about your mom and stepdad. They are truly unique and kind as you are.. I am thinking of you and your family at this time. I remember Tria saying when someone passes - you have to cry a thousand tears. Go ahead and cry - although Nina will appreciate your tears she will want you to smile and laugh again soon. Love Audrey and Phil
April 20, 2015
I, too, wish I had known Nina. She was a remarkable woman and produced remarkable humans who honored her with a remarkable obit. May your grief recovery process be healing and beneficial.
April 20, 2015
No, I'm no wizard. I'm a biker. But you still shall not pass.
I did not know dear Nina and only came to view her obit via an online recommendation from a fellow realist. I'm struck by a few things... 1) how many folks saying they "wished they'd known" Nina, 2) Nina's life of pragmatism and sense of humor for the present and 3) a daughter who found a way to honor, respect and gift both Nina and herself with words of remembrance. In that light, I think Nina, and those of us out here who see ourselves in her, might very much have appreciated the apt words of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who once said of death and dying: I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. All the best to Nina's family and friends at this time and in the future. May she long live on in the memories of her progeny and those who stumble upon her daughter's writings.
April 20, 2015
I'm sorry for your loss, but not as much as I should be as it gave me the chance to read that awesome obituary.
david avery
April 20, 2015
I only hope my obit is this good.

Sounds like a wonderful woman to know!
April 20, 2015
I wish I had known Nina. I have been sharing your beautifully expressed thoughts with friends and family. I hope my family will do the same for me when it's my time. And I'm deeply sorry for your loss.
Donna Thompson
April 20, 2015
As I approach my 60th birthday next year, I have been focused on becoming the person I want to be remembered as and now I have the bar to be measured against...Nina Beth Nestor. You have had the great fortune to have been born to this incredible human and the rest of us have had the fortune of knowing her through this outstanding obit
Edie Cutler
April 20, 2015
I would not have read this except for the recommendation on a Facebook page. Wonderful memorial for a wonderful, free thinker and independent woman. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face..way out in Cairo.
April 20, 2015
Nina sounds like she was one fun lady! Very sorry for your loss. Wish there were more Ninas in the world :)
Jody Mack
April 18, 2015
Really liked the obituary you wrote about your Mom, Diane. It tells me that you will always have fond memories of her and that is what is most important. Sincere sympathy to you and your family.
Carol Fischel
April 18, 2015
"America's Favorite Jewish Cowboy Minister"
What a great obit and a great lady - only sorry I didn't know her. Hope y'all will be having a wonderful party for her!
Rev. Lon Burns
April 18, 2015
I, along with others, read the obit in the LA Times. Laughed hysterically and have glued it to a (sorry Nina) St. Jude book marker you get in the mail. I hope my kids find it when it's my time and do something so light and funny and most of all precious - so to explain who/what I was in their lives. Thank you so much for the smiles. She must have been a card (so to speak). Go Nina!
Sandra Kemp
April 18, 2015
I do not know you or your family but had to comment on this obituary. I randomly saw it in the paper this morning and have been smiling ever since. What an amazing remembrance of some one I now wish I had known. It is very clear that her life-force is strong enough to endure long after her physical being ceased. So sorry for the family's loss.
Toni Martin
April 18, 2015
I'm so sorry for your loss but kudos for writing one of the most honest and real obituaries I've ever read!
Susan G
April 17, 2015
I am so sorry for your loss. May the Most High God (Psalm 83:18) comfort you as you mourn your loved one.
April 16, 2015
She was my Mother-in-Law, and if that brings negative ideas to mind, they don't apply with Nina. She was very good to all of us, and genuinely interested in what was good for all her kids and grandkids. She had a way of getting directly to the point while at the same time communicating her interest and care for us. It's a balance most people aren't able to find, but she did. We will miss her and will think of her often and fondly.
Don Flecky
April 15, 2015
This was my mother and I was the one who wrote the obit. I showed it to her months before she died and she loved it, thought it was hysterical and she said I should publish it, so I did. Thanks to everyone for the kind words.
Diane Howard
April 15, 2015
Didn't know her either. Quite an obit,
Writer unknown to most I guess, funny,
entertaining, unlike the usual . Will
post to Facebook for others to read
Vic Bullock
April 15, 2015
I wish I had known this amazing woman. My sincere condolences to the family; I'm sure you miss her, and her candor, philosophy and wit.
Diane Glaze
April 14, 2015
Uncle Hubert and Family,
I was so sad to hear of Nina's passing. I am so glad that I had the honor and pleasure of knowing her, and I am so happy that I got to visit with Nina and you when I was last in CA.
Mary Jean(Baran)Richards
Mary Jean Richards
April 14, 2015
I never had the pleasure of meeting Nina Beth, but whoever wrote this brilliant obituary was forever inspired by her. My thanks for this, and sympathies to the family, if those are in order.
Ralph Seifer
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