Nancy Klein

Byram /
| 11 Sep 2023 | 01:56

Nancy Irene Klein (née Tunis) of Stanhope, a loving mother, beloved grandmother and cherished great-grandmother, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, four days after her 83rd birthday, at Morristown Medical Center after being stricken by a hemorrhagic stroke.

Nancy was born on Aug. 23, 1940. in Morristown, the third daughter of the late Allan Chandler “Slim” Tunis and Irene Domanski Tunis.

She grew up in New Vernon and graduated from Morristown High School in 1959.

Nancy felt lucky to have come of age in the 1950s at the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, an exciting time to be a teenager. She felt blessed to have grown up in the New Vernon countryside with extended family living up and down Millbrook Road and in nearby towns.

The Tunis family were early settlers in the area and most of their farmland was still intact into the ‘40s. Nancy loved idyllic summer days playing in an old family apple orchard and woodlands and exploring her grandmother’s attic full of treasures.

In 1962, Nancy married Edwin Wallace “Butch” Klein of Basking Ridge. They had four children before separating after 10 years.

Tragically, Edwin was lost at sea in an accidental drowning off Kauai, Hawaii, in 1974. Nancy never remarried and did an amazing job raising her four children on her own.

As a single mom, Nancy worked a variety of jobs from house cleaning to waitressing at Larison’s Turkey Farm until she saved enough to attend Dover Business School.

After completing her studies in 1986, she was hired a year later at Pfizer, where she was a valued team member until her retirement in 2005. Co-workers from that time remain valued friends nearly 20 years later.

Nancy was a beautiful person inside and out with a sunny personality. She cared deeply for the people around her whom she encountered everyday. If you had the opportunity to cross her path, chances are you remained friends with her ever after. She was kind and funny and made a positive impact on many lives.

Nancy’s very favorite pastime was spending time with friends and family, especially her great-grandchildren. Even in her 80s, she would not hesitate to get down on the floor to play with them at every opportunity.

Nancy wasn’t really interested in travel for travel’s sake; most of her out-of-state trips were to visit far-flung family, from Maine to Arizona and a half-dozen other states.

Instead, Nancy had a lifelong devotion to North-Central New Jersey, with a connection to place and community that was deep and enduring. She loved her daily walks around Stanhope, reading, shopping and going to Salt Gastropub, her daughter Laurie and son-in-law Brad’s restaurant. She was so proud of them for creating such a successful and popular local gathering place.

Along with her parents, Nancy was preceded in death by her brother-in-law Ellsworth “Pitt” Pruden in 2004, by her 3-year-old granddaughter Annabel Si Wan Fahy in 2005 and by her sister-in-law Judy Klein earlier this year.

Nancy’s grandmother Annabel Chandler Tunis lived to be 102 and all the family was certain that Nancy would live just as long because she was so vibrant, active, healthy and independent.

She will be deeply missed by her four children, Deb Fahy and husband Greg of Hallowell, Maine, Pam Lane of Hallowell, Laurie Boyle and husband Brad of Byram; and Ed Klein and partner Kelli Fowler of Stanhope; and by 13 grandchildren, Connor Fahy of San Jose, Calif., William Fahy and partner Jolie of Toronto, Ontario, Chelsea Lane Gerken and husband Brad of Glendale, Ariz., Theo Lane of Portland, Oregon, Tyler Ruggieri and wife Rachel of Mendham, Corry Boyle and partner Molly of Jamaica, Vt., Bridget Boyle of Brooklyn, Kellan Kai Boyle of Byram, Miranda Klein of Vero Beach, Fla., Chandler Klein of Mount Arlington, and Gage, Luca and Dylan Fowler of Stanhope.

Nancy delighted in her soon-to-be five great-grandchildren, Lenora “Ellie” and Nathan Ruggieri (who are expecting a little brother in October) and Levi and Jameson Gerken.

Nancy is survived by her beloved big sisters, Lucille Pruden of Morristown and Betty Wolsky and husband Bob of Bethlehem, Pa.; and by cherished nieces and nephews Vickie Gilman, Terry Rey, Eric Pruden, Bobby Wolsky, Diana Frain and Danny Wolsky. Brother-in-law Rick Klein (wife Gail, both currently of LaQuinta, Calif.) was a life-line when Butch died, stepping up to help Nancy with legal and financial issues and was ever after a supportive father figure to her kids.

Nancy is also survived by her lifelong best friend, Nancy Perkalis; by honorary daughter, Tracy Pierce; by longtime Stanhope friend Corrine Vuolo Capdeville; and by many other loving friends she made over her long life, including fellow members of Stanhope Borough Senior Citizens of which she was an active member.

Nancy loved animals and they loved her back. Some notable childhood animal friends, including a pair of tame woodchucks named Johnny Chuck and Woody, Meechie the rooster and Spotty the beagle, were all fondly remembered.

As an adult, she mainly had cats, including four truly exceptional felines: Tuffy, Gidget, Lard and Smokey.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Nancy Tunis Klein may be made to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center of Madison, Funny Farm Rescue of Mays Landing or to the Harding Township Historical Society in support of the Tunis-Ellicks House in New Vernon.

The family offers heartfelt thanks to the Stanhope-Netcong American Legion Ambulance Corps, to the Stanhope and Byram police, and to the ER, ICU and hospice teams at Morristown Medical Center.

Special thanks to the kind staff in Simon 3 Palliative Care unit for their compassionate care during Nancy’s short stay.

A Celebration of Life is planned for the spring in New Vernon.