Nina Williams, 86, died in Claremont, NH, on November 11, 1999, in Sullivan County Health Care in Unity, NH. She was born on January 24, 1913, in Minsk, Belarus, the daughter of Flor and Anna (Smolnik) Pashnik.
When Nina was a baby, her parents divorced, and her father emigrated to the U.S., where he settled in Claremont, NH. When Nina reached legal age and obtained her passport, she left her homeland and followed her father. She lived with him and his new American family until she met Arthur Williams. They married on October 22, 1939, in Claremont, NH, and moved to their own home, where they raised two sons, Don, and Arthur Jr.
Nina’s father, Flor Pashnik, was a reader in the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, and Nina attended services with him. She was a robust and tough woman with a no-nonsense character and a loud voice. She didn’t sing in the church choir but attended church events, enjoying social meals and company. When the parish opened a new summer vacation program for orthodox kids from New York City, Nina generously invited one of the teenage boys to stay in her house for the whole summer.
Nina wasn't shy about expressing her bold views of the world, which could be shocking sometimes and off putting to people around her. But deep inside, Nina was tender and mild. When her husband and both sons died in the course of ten years from heart disease, Nina didn’t lose her strengh and love for life but became more attentive to its fragility and quick passing. After retiring from a manufacturing factory, she loved to spend time at Lake Sunapee State Beach, and by the end of summer, she had a deep suntan, like a salt and tar sailor.
Nina’s hobby was growing African violets, which was an unexpected gentle thing to do for a tough woman like her. Many of these bright, pretty plants were lavishly blooming in pots in front of her house in warmer months. In winter, Nina transferred them inside, where they continued their colorful life. Nina definitely loved them, and they loved her. During the last year, when Nina’s health was rapidly failing, and she was placed in the nursing home, she kept asking her visiting friends with her usual boldness not to forget her when she died and to make sure that the violets were blooming on her grave.
Her burial was in Mountain View Cemetery, next to her father, husband, and sons. Rest in peace, dear Nina! HROC remembers you.