Life Story for
Nelida Noemi Otero (nee Zerquera)
Nelida Otero, known lovingly as “Mima” to her grandchildren, passed away peacefully on August 18th, 2018. She was married for 62 years to the only man she ever loved. Born in Trinidad, Las Villas, Cuba, Nelida had an eventful life full of challenges, travel, and friendships. She followed her husband into exile in the United States after the Cuban revolution and settled in Queens, New York where she raised her family. An accomplished seamstress, she worked in New York City’s fashion industry in many different roles. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology where she learned the finer points of fashion design and became a skilled sample maker.
She was an intrepid chef, happily and expertly creating dishes such as traditional Spanish arroz con pollo, Chinese fried rice, empanadas gallegas, and beautiful Jewish Challah bread. Her lemon meringue pies were a family favorite.
Upon retiring, Nelida and José moved to Winston-Salem, NC in order to be near family. They spent many happy years there watching their grandchildren grow up and creating flower gardens that were the pride of their neighborhood. She tolerated the many pets that her husband brought home, calling them all “Chicho” whether furry or feathered. Her love of gardening, her formidable culinary skills, and her avid interest in fashion ensured that she enjoyed the company of many good friends.
Perhaps Nelida’s greatest talent was connecting with people. She made new friends throughout her life no matter where she landed and spent hours each day chatting on the phone with them. She was the social nexus of many different groups of family, neighbors, and friends.
Together, Nelida and Jose traveled all over the country, to places as far as Hawaii, California, Nevada, Michigan, Illinois and Florida. They also ventured to Spain and Australia for extended trips. Her life was a long journey full of adventures and unforeseen challenges which she undertook with flair and gusto.
She leaves behind an extended family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who will miss her terribly and take solace in the faith that she is back at her beloved husband’s side, continuing their journey.
Preceded in death by her husband, José Luis Otero, who passed away on June 20, 2012 and her parents, Jacobo Zerquera and Petronila Bandomo Zerquera.
Mother of José Luis Otero (Helen), Nelida Otero Flatow (Michael)., and Maria Otero Boisvert (Michael).
Grandmother of Mathew Flatow (Lauren), Rebecca Flatow Zornick (George), Daniel Otero (April Rooney), Elizabeth Otero (Jose Fabian), Gabriel Boisvert, Joseph Boisvert (Simran Johnston), and Isabel Boisvert.
Great grandmother of Sydney Clarke Flatow, Lucy Otero Fabian, and George Joseph Zornick.