Ann NeJame
1932 - 2020
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Happy Mother's Day, Mother! Ann NeJame ended this life's journey in peace and love on April 28th. She was a remarkable woman. Born on September 24th,1932, in Winsted, Connecticut to loving and hard-working Lebanese parents, Phillip and Edna NeJame, she went to Boston as a very young woman to obtain her Medical Assistant degree. She later moved to Orlando in 1953 and lived in Central Florida until her passing. Her entire career was dedicated to helping children. As a Lab Technician, she worked at Pediatric Associates for 37 years in Orlando, caring for thousands of kids over different generations. Among her many duties was working hand in hand assisting to open then Central Florida's only pediatric oncology lab, helping children with cancer. A few years ago the Nurse's Station at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children was named for and dedicated to her. She never cared about accolades but was humbled with the many thanks she received over the years knowing that she had made a difference in the lives of so many.

Her greatest joy in life was her family. Many came to know her as Granny Ann, a moniker she adored. She was equally proud of all three of her children, Mark, Paula and Chris. She reveled in the love of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her beloved sister, Marie, and Marie's extended family. She loved and embraced everyone's spouses as well.

She married at 21 but had to leave after 10 years of marriage. She developed a strength and tenacity that would last her a lifetime. A single mother who never received child support, she and her children moved in with her beloved mother. She worked tirelessly, often with two jobs, to take care of her children. There wasn't much financially, but there was always a full refrigerator, a roof over the family's heads, and her unquestionable love. Regardless of the meager finances, she always made sure there would be an annual vacation. For two weeks every summer, she loaded up her 3 kids, the family dog Bingo, and one full suitcase in the front trunk of the Volkswagen Bug and she'd drive to the family holiday.

She would bring homemade goodies to the butcher's at Publix and embraced and fed any friend her kids brought home. She loved dogs and treated them like people. She was everyone's go to person for health advise. She was always positive and never a slave to negativity. Her weakness was sweets. She loved her sweets and the faces of ecstasy she made as she bit into one of her favorites were glorious. Food was a huge part of her life and culture. She'd shop a half dozen stores for the best price or freshest produce. She'd offer to share whatever she may be eating with whoever was around. She was a fantastic cook including her famous eggnog, homemade chocolates, or dinner feasts. She traveled, entertained, and was the family matriarch.

She smoked in the 60's. When the health warnings came out in the 70's she listened and stopped. Nevertheless, 25 years after stopping she developed lung cancer and had an entire lung removed. Her life expectancy was estimated at 5 years but for 24 years this warrior woman kept moving forward, letting nothing stop her. Despite innumerable skin cancers, a debilitating accident, and other surgeries and health complications, she was unstoppable. During the last few years, the missing lung and her COPD took more of a toll, causing her to be short of breath and unable to walk any distance without stopping to regain her strength. Over the last couple of years, her mobility was extremely limited and she was confined to bed most of the time. She lived with each of her adoring children at times but after her last hospitalization she went to an Assisted Living facility. She loved it, the care was spectacular, and her family is forever grateful to the health care teams at Waterman Assisted Living in Mount Dora and Cornerstone Hospice for the compassion, care, and loving attention so many there gave her.

Granny Ann had a spectacular and wry sense of humor. The care staff at Waterman loved her as she joked with them in between asking about their families, offering them food, and even providing some wisdom and counseling regarding love and life. Her beaming smile would light up a room. Similarly, she wouldn't need to say a word when she gave you her famous "eye" noting her displeasure with something.

She was with hospice for several months. Once again, Granny Ann defied death and wasn't leaving until it was on her terms. She rebounded so many times over 24 years that there were literally too many to remember or count. In some ways she was thought to be invincible. She and her family knew better, but at 87 years old she had laughed in the face of death so many times.

When Covid-19 hit, families were barred from entering Assisted Living facilities. However, because of her hospice status, her children were allowed to visit her daily. As she declined from COPD, other immediate family were permitted to say their final goodbyes, including her beloved younger sister Marie Shaw, and her family. Her loving friend, Dr. Lucy Lagod, came for one last visit. So much love exuded from all. She left this life's journey filled with love, peace, and painlessly. Her hair was being stroked, her hand held, and knowing her job was done on earth, the last words she heard were "It's ok, Mom. It's time for you to rest. I love you." She was unafraid as she took her last breath.

She lived and taught a life of compassion, love, manners, hard work, respect towards others, family, strength, and to be non-judgmental. She loved everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or otherwise.

She had no doubt that she would be with Jesus, God, and the other angels she would join as she was a strong Catholic. She left here painlessly, in peace and love, as we all hoped and prayed she would. That is a blessing for which her family, and those who knew and loved her will be forever grateful.

Granny Ann's survivors include her son Mark NeJame (Josie) and granddaughters Valentina and Alessandra; daughter Paula NeJame Tucker (John) and grandson Brandon NeJame (Julie) and great grandson Luc; granddaughter Dana Miller (Matt) and great granddaughter Haley; granddaughter Jenna (Aaron )and great grandson Rhett; granddaughter Lauren Tucker; daughter Chris NeJame Evans (Eric), grandson Larry NeJame (Allie) and great grandson Logan; her sister and brother-in-law Marie and Gary Shaw; niece Malia Brady (Jerry) and great niece Sofia; niece Lisa Sibons (Mark) and great niece Brittany Tryon (Tim), great-great niece Kali and great-great nephew Dallas; great niece Tori Sibons; surrogate son Nick Wilson; and an endless number of friends, relatives, cousins, nieces and nephews from her prior marriage, admirers, and people she touched through her remarkable journey.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations go to help pediatric cancer children through the Family Assistance Fund for Runway to Hope https://runwaytohope.networkforgood.com/projects/100004-in-memoriam-of-runway-to-hope or to Cornerstone Hospice https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E346236&id=2

Arrangements entrusted to DeGusipe Funeral Home, Maitland, FL. Please visit www.degusipefuneralhome.com/obituaries/Ann-Nejame to leave an in Memoriam or share.

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Published in Orlando Sentinel from May 9 to May 10, 2020.
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May 10, 2020
Mark, I am so very sorry to hear about your moms passing!!! I know how close you were to her. What a beautiful tribute to your mom who sacrifice so much for her family!! My sincere condolences to you and your family.
Lourdes
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