The Happy Gene
Published on February 01, 2011


Thanks to all who saw the New York Times obit and e-mailed their condolences.  I was so fortunate to have 16 years with this amazing guy.  A second listing that follows the Times “paid death notice” format runs today and tomorrow. (At $2 a character it killed me not to abbreviate, but sometimes you just have to go all in.)  To wit:

 

CHARLES NOLAN

 

NOLAN -- Charles died peacefully at home January 30, at 53, with dignity and style.  Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Charles was a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.  He began his career working with Frank Tignino at Jerry Silverman, then with Bill Haire, and then Blassport among others . . . went on to design the Ellen Tracy collection and expose it to the international press . . . rejuvenated a bankrupt Anne Klein . . . left to join Howard Dean’s campaign . . . and then launched his own line, which debuted in six full windows on Fifth Avenue at Saks.  His particular passion was his own shop, in the Meatpacking District, on Gansevoort Street.  His other passion: wonderful women.  (The famous “kiss” at the 2000 Convention?  Tipper was wearing Charles Nolan. Elaine Stritch at the Carlyle and on 30 Rock?  Charles Nolan.)  He once successfully costumed Arianna Huffington on the fly as Queen Elizabeth, for a Renaissance Weekend skit, using only hotel tablecloths and a roll of tinfoil.  Charles is survived by his father, Philip; his sisters Elizabeth, Joyce, Carola and Virginia; his brothers Philip, David, Kenneth, and Edward; his beloved nieces and nephews; his partner, Andrew Tobias; and his work, archived at charlesnolan.com.  Visitation at Frank E. Campbell Tuesday February 1 from 6pm to 9pm, funeral service at Blessed Sacrament 11am Wednesday, February 2, 152 West 71st Street. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Women in Need, 115 W. 31 St NYC 10001.

 

☞  There’s a New Yorker cartoon I love by B. Smaller that depicts a young woman standing at the bedside of her dying mother (aunt?) saying, “If I could pick just one keepsake, I think it would be the mutual funds.”  But what I actually I inherited from my Mom, who died three weeks ago, was the happy gene -- an annoying tendency to look on the bright side.

 

So while we’re getting this off our self-indulgent little chests . . .

 

JUDY TOBIAS-DAVIS

 

 

TOBIAS-DAVIS--Judy (nee Audrey Judith Landau) died peacefully January 3 at 91, positive and radiant to the end. The "Judy" of Judy and Jill, she last modeled professionally in 1937, returning to the runway 67 years later in the 2004 fall Charles Nolan show. Co-founder with Jane Russell, Helen Hayes and Perle Mesta of the New York Chapter of WAIF, she was at various times President of WAIF's national board; Chair of the Child Study Association of America board; and board member of Citizens Committee for Children and of Goddard Riverside Community Center. For her pivotal role in launching their development program, she was co-honoree this past November of NYU's Silver School of Social Work 50th Anniversary Dinner. Her philanthropy and civic engagement permeated Democratic politics, progressive causes, and women's empowerment. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Seth Tobias, the award-winning ad man, in 1983; she lost her second husband and teenage sweetheart, Lewis Davis, in August. She is survived by her sons Stephen and Andrew, her granddaughter Sharon Male, her daughter-in-law Alice Webber, her son-in-law-if-it-were-legal Charles Nolan, her cousins Michael, Adam, and Susie (Lerman) Aron, Susan Halpern, and her spiritual companion T'ai Jamar Hanna. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Goddard Riverside.

 

☞  When it rains, it pours – right?  Nine days ago I attended the memorial service of my stepdad Lew Davis (see above), who died at 97 and whose kids did it so well everyone was laughing and clapping throughout.  It should have been on HBO.

 

THE ONLY RELATIONSHIP GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED

Be good to each other, as I’m sure you already are; and find humor in the inevitable compromises, as I’m sure you already do – they’re worth it.

 

Tomorrow (maybe):  How to Make a Condolence Call

 



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