Racine, Robert & Gauthier Funeral Home

180 Montreal Road, Ottawa, ON


Nanette Zayed

June 14, 1944May 17, 2020

Nanette Zayed (née Bélanger). Born in Montreal on June 14th, 1944. She passed away in her home on May 17th, 2020 with her daughter Tanya by her side.

Grief in normal circumstances is hard enough. Grief during this pandemic is unbearable.

That said, for all the bad that this pandemic has brought us there was some good for us too. I would not have been able to spend these last few months colouring butterflies at the dining room table with my mom. We would not have gone through hundreds of pictures remembering special times. I would not have heard her recount the day of my birth. Although I would have given the world to have more days and nights with my mom, this pandemic gave us the gift of suspended time. Something we all too often waste or take for granted.

I read this passage somewhere a few months ago: “I never saw my mother walk on water but I saw her wait for the bus in the snow to pay rent. We define holy differently”. That was my mother. She was strong, she was resilient, and she worked so hard so I would want for nothing.

A woman filled with little ironies, Nanette loved to learn about other countries, the food, the sites, the people; yet she never travelled and shuddered at the thought of getting a passport. She was an introvert who loved to be surrounded by family and close friends. She was a quiet soul who loved to laugh.

If you were lucky enough to know Nanette, you will remember her hot pink lipstick, her beautifully manicured nails and of course you will remember her love of jewelry. She will forever be remembered as the lady with rings on every finger and her arms adorned with silver bracelets. She was a trinket collector, a lover of pretty little things.

In the end, the values she instilled in me are what guided me home to be close to her and to the rest of my family. One day you look around and realise that you have limited time with those you love and that nothing else matters.

This pandemic is horrible, but it has given me the gift of being able to care for my mother when she needed me most. The gift of being by her side ‘til the end – out of hospital, without masks and gloves and shields, the gift of touch. My mother held me for my first breath and I was blessed enough to hold her for her last.

Sadly, there can be no funeral at this time. However, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Ottawa Humane Society in her honour.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Nanette Zayed

have a memory or condolence to add?

Paul Burnett

May 24, 2020

Tanya, my sincere condolences on the loss of your mother. No matter how old we are, it's always hard to lose a parent. Your touching words truly say it all. I know you'll find solace in the fact that you were able to share the last few moments with her, a memory you'll treasure forever.

Jas Kalra

May 23, 2020

Knowing you and your passion for life, social causes and a spirit for justice Tanya, I can only imagine how your mum is! I say is, because they never go awayI and I can say this from experience, They are there in some form when you most need them. I love those photographs (of you with her).. My deepest prayers for her and you!

Isobel Granger

May 22, 2020

I met your Mom briefly and I remember thinking as I left your apartment she was someone I would’ve loved to have known. I guess what I saw in her was the bravery, tenacity and grace i see in you Tanya. I’m truly sad for you because I have travelled this road and I know that it is not an easy road. I loved the profoundness of your message that she held you as you took your first breath and that you held her as she took her last and that you can see what a blessing it was to have been with her in isolation from this pandemic. She may have left in body but her spirit and love lives on around you and in you. God bless you my friend as you travel this road. Remember we love you and are here for you.

Pascale Hough

May 22, 2020

I met Nanette many moons ago. I remember her pink lipstick, perfectly manicured nails and, oh the beautiful jewelry! Right from the moment of entering her home I was welcomed. Such an amazing woman, who raised an equally amazing daughter, brought laughter to many of my visits. One of my favourite memories was doing the cancer relay at night cheering the various teams, laughing and eating along with other of Tanya’s family. Such strength was noticeable to anyone who met Nanette and who know Tanya. 💗
Tanya, while our paths have gone in different directions - you, your mom (and Rita) have always been in my heart. I am sending strength for the days and months to come. You were lucky to have had this time with her, as she was with you. 💗

Shelly Whitman

May 22, 2020

Although I did not know Nanette well. I know how much Tanya loved her mother and that type of love only happens when a mother consistently displays her unending love for her child. May you rest in eternal peace Nanette for you certainly deserve that reward. On behalf of all those who worked with Tanya at the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, and the support Nanette provided to this important cause, we thank you deeply.

Jeannette Dubois

May 18, 2020

I worked with Nanette many years ago at CPDL as a temp. Even though I worked with her for a short time, she made a lasting impression with her great stories and her sense of humour.

I am so sorry to hear of her passing. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Roy Kennedy

May 18, 2020

I worked at C.P.D.L. with Nanette for many years and enjoyed her sense of humour. My sincere sympathy to her family.

Nicole Melanson

May 18, 2020

Nanette and I worked together at Canadian Patents and Development for over 20 years, I am very sad to hear of her passing.

My sincere condolences to Tanya and her family.

Rest in Peace Nanette.


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