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Nancy M. Ziter, 63

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Nancy M. Ziter, 63, of North Adams, passed away peacefully on Feb. 3, 2024, at her home with her brother, family and friends at her side. She fought a courageous yearlong 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 respected business professional.

Nancy is survived by her 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 Dec. 27, 1960, in North Adams, the youngest of three 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 in 1979 from Drury High School, 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. 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, Caracas 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 III 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 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, Feb. 15, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals, West Chapels, 521 West Main St., North Adams. A prayer service will be at noon. 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 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

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Sending our deepest condolences, hugs and prayer to Coach, Ellen, and Nancy's family & friends. Thank you for the memories and for the significant impact on North Adams schools.! May she rest in peace.
from: Heather & Pat Boulgeron: 02-13-2024

There will never be another you. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from you.
from: Cory Nicholason: 02-09-2024

Alan and Steve
Please know my thoughts are with you at the sad time.
Nancy and Linda both worked for me when they were in high school at Nassifs .
I have only fond memories of Nancy and loved running into her at the antique shop.
What a smile????
from: David Bergeron: 02-07-2024

Nancy Ziter - she came to my rescue as a business consultant many years ago. Her contributions continue to be of tremendous value. Just as her friendship was. Always willing to lend a hand, she was beyond generous with her time, talents, energy, and remarkable wisdom. So blessed that Nancy sashayed into my life, and so very grateful.
from: Anthony Bollottaon: 02-07-2024

Alan, Steve and family, so very sorry to hear of Nancy's passing. I first met Nancy from Linda, who was my classmate at Drury. Nancy always greeted me with a cheerful hello and smile whenever we saw one another. She will be missed by many. Hugs and prayers to you during this difficult time. ???
from: Roberta Curranon: 02-07-2024

Steve and Family, My sincere condolences to you all. May your cherished memories help bring you peace and comfort in the days ahead.
from: Erica (Dami) Pecoron: 02-07-2024

Steve and family. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. My sincere condolences
from: Keith E. Bushon: 02-07-2024

Dear Alan & Steve, Please accept my most sincere
condolences & prayers. I was surprised & very sad to
learn of Nancy’s death. As you may recall, Alan, your folks
were my neighbors at their home in North Adams. I definitely witnessed Nancy’s care & concern for your
parents during that time. Hold on to the good memories.
from: Diane Parsonson: 02-06-2024

I was so sad to hear of Nancy’s passing. She fought a courageous battle. She was a wonderful colleague and a generous spirit. May her family find comfort in their memories of her. She will be missed by many.
Cheryl Boillat
from: Cheryl Boillat on: 02-06-2024