Ocean Beach 07

Fern M. Gnesin

January 28, 2024

Fern M. Gnesin Obituary

Fern Maris Gnesin, a vibrant force of nature, left this world on January 28, 2024 leaving behind an enormous void for all who had the good fortune to be loved by this amazing human. She was 69.

Fern was born and raised in Long Branch, New Jersey. Equally, at home in Delaware and her beloved New York City, the Jersey Shore was in her soul. She loved nothing more than spending days (and nights) on the beach and swimming in the Atlantic, even in the rain.

The ultimate wandering Jew, she found enviable ways to earn a living. Working with a caterer, she provided backstage hospitality at numerous rock and roll venues from the Capitol Theater in Passaic New Jersey (where Frank Zappa autographed her butt cheek) to Radio City Music Hall. She toured the world with Michael Jackson (who then ate only edible flowers), the Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones. Some claim she once served Keith Richards the most expensive chicken and bacon sandwich he ever ate (and he loved it!).

Then there was the job with the Tour DuPont cycling race. During a stopover in Wilmington she met the love of her life, Robert Nagle. Several years later they were wed. Everybody had a great time at their wedding except the suckling pig.

No stranger to television, Fern was a contestant on the $1.98 Beauty Contest. In her iconic bikini she dazzled the judges with her throat singing. Hard to fathom she got the gong and was sent home with $200 and a case of Turtle Wax. More recently, she became a set dresser and prop person for movies and television including The Good Wife, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the Big C. This career was a natural given her extraordinary shopping, bargain hunting and rummaging abilities.

She was predeceased by her parents, Sylvia and Ozzie and sister, Penny. She leaves behind her loving husband, Robert; stepson, Justin and his wife, Rachael; three amazing grandchildren that she loved more than life itself, Brooklyn, Gianna and Robert; siblings, Phillip and Mark; nephew, Matthew and his wife Natasha; and countless cousins and friends who already miss her more than words can express.

Cultivating relationships that spanned decades, Fern was the epitome of loyalty, selflessness, generosity, fun and adventure. She was the self-appointed care-taker to her many friends and was BFF to many even before the term was invented. She relished her role as stepmother to Justin and grandmother, or more precisely “Bubbie” to Brooklyn, Gianna and Robert. She loved and spoiled them profusely and planned and hosted the best parties ever. To them she was their medicine woman, cheerleader, master of ceremonies and quite literally the wearer of many hats. After all, no one had a more well- stocked closet to play dress-up in.

We are heartbroken to lose the one, the only, the incredible Miss Fern.

Dear Fern, meet you on Birds Highway………

A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, February 8, 2024 from 1pm to 4pm at Elks Lodge, 1310 Carruthers Lane, Wilmington, DE 19803

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Fern may be made to Cancer Support Community Delaware, 4810 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807.

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Celebration of Life
February 8, 2024

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Elks Lodge (Wilmington)


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