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Nelly Villaverde


Nelly Villaverde, age 87, of Wayne, passed away on Friday, December 29, 2017

Born in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, Nelly emigrated to the U.S. in 1962 and had been a resident of West New York, NJ for 53 years before moving to Wayne in 2015.

As a young girl, Nelly already knew that, when she grew up, she wanted to be a teacher. In her culture and in those times, most girls didn’t pursue the higher education that would be required to fulfill Nelly’s goals, but Nelly never let cultural norms stop her. In fact, Nelly never let anything stop her from pursuing her ambitions. When she announced to her father this goal of being a teacher, he said that first Nelly had to work to become a certified seamstress like her older sisters. Little did she know then, but this requirement would serve her well in the future when she would ultimately choose to live life in the United States. Nelly became a certified seamstress and then she began attending La Normal School – an advanced high school and college in Cuba with an accelerated curriculum. She had to be away from home during those years of school but fortunately, she had relatives that she could stay with. Upon graduation, she began her teaching career in Cuba. She was only nineteen years old when she started and her nineteenth year of life was a busy year indeed. Not only did she start her teaching career, but she also got married! She and her beloved husband Luis exchanged their wedding promises on December 22, 1949.

Initially, Nelly taught in Cuba and later in Venezuela. When she chose to immigrate to the U.S. in 1962, she had to pursue certification to teach in the states. While doing that, those seamstress skills her Papa made her learn came in handy as Nelly got temporary work as a seamstress and also working in a boxing factory in Ridgefield Park. She soon secured a position in the West New York, NJ public school system. Over her career there of more than fifty years, Nelly taught all grades from first grade through high school. Her dedication to her profession was so great, it earned her teacher of the year honors. Nelly was a beloved teacher whose passion for her students was unmatched. She also tutored as many as 30 of her students after school, in her home. Tutoring went on for 41 years and only stopped about five years ago. Many of the kids she tutored were immigrants who Nelly lovingly taught English as their second language.

When she wasn’t teaching or tutoring, Nelly could often be found creating culinary delights in the kitchen. Family favorites included her Ropa Vieja and plantains and her grandchildren especially loved their dear “Tita’s” famous steaks and soups. Between teaching, making lesson plans, tutoring, keeping her house clean, and managing all the other facets of being a homemaker, Nelly always found time for a little bit of vacationing. Her family especially looked forward to those times of leisure because they afforded the opportunity to spend precious time with her – time in which they didn’t have to share her with anyone else. No doubt those vacations were a wonderful opportunity for Nelly to sip on one of her favorite refreshments – Pina Coladas. For many years while residing in West New York, NJ, she was a faithful parishioner of the town’s hometown church, St. Joseph of the Palisades R.C. Church.

Above all else, Nelly’s love, adoration, and dedication was for her family. Her children will swear that there is no mother or grandmother who could come as close to being great as their "Tita". She will be dearly missed but her memory will shine on in the hearts of those whose lives she touched.

Nelly was the beloved wife of the late Luis Villaverde who passed away in 2007. She was the loving mother of Maria and her late husband Donald Kocialski of Wayne, Marianela and husband Patrick Martin of Wayne, and Nelly Mary Hayes of Bensalem, PA; adored grandmother of Richard Kocialski, Stephanie and husband Jeffrey Menzel, Peter Martin, Sammuel Martin, Katie Hayes, and Colin Hayes; cherished great-grandmother of: Marcelo and Cristiano; and dear sister of Juan Manuel Lopez of Miami, FL. She was also predeceased by dear brothers Amable Lopez and Rigoberto Lopez, and dear sisters Celeste Izquierdo, Teresa Camacho, and Irma Martin.

Friends may visit with the family at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 from 4-8 PM.

Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM from the funeral home, then to Our Lady of the Valley RC Church, 630 Valley Road, Wayne where at 9:00 AM a Funeral Mass will be offered. Entombment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Totowa.

Guest Book


Dear Marianela, Pat and family, Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your mother, mother-in-law and Abuela. Having read her obituary, I'm sure she will be missed by many. Hoping the days ahead will become easier for you all as the memories you have created over the years will come to make you smile again.

Linda Adamo


Nelly Villaverde was my tutor when I was in second grade through 5th grade she taught me to be studios and not let my failures hold me back. Today my career success is due to her coaching and mentoring. May she be at eternal peace. Mario Fanego (Mayito)

Mario Fanego


Our Deepest CONDOLENCES to you and your FAMILY! Chris (CMR Disposal)

Christopher ROWE

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