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Leber Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Rafael Esses

February 19, 1937December 25, 2020
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fael Esses, 83, passed away suddenly on December 24th in his home in North Bergen. Born Feb 19th, 1937 in Habana, Cuba he emigrated to the United States in his early twenties. Rafael met Ana Rosa (Conde) at a New Year's Eve dance in NYC- their first dance was to "Strangers in the Night"; they married on July 18th 1964. Ana Rosa passed away in 2002 from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis- loving and dedicated spouse, he cared for her diligently.

Rafael was of Syrian Jewish decent, he was the eldest of three born to Salomon and Fortuna (nee Silvera). He converted to Catholicism on Easter 1999 and is affiliated with St. Augustine's Church, Union City. He remarked that a reason for his conversion was to "make sure I'm with Ana Rosa in Eternity".

Surviving are his siblings, Luna Esses, spouse Rafael and their 2 children, Moises Esses, spouse Julie and their 4 children; daughters, Anita ("Ceci") Esses Fernandez and spouse, Waldo, Isabel Perez-Ralston and spouse, Thomas; grandson Anthony Ralston and spouse Jacqueline, great-grandchildren Joseph and Isabella Ralston; nieces Anita Benitez, Lourdes Osorio, spouse Louis and their two children; and cousin Mercedes Rodriguez.

Rafael was a devoted husband, loving father and doting grandfather. He was a caring, fun-loving family man who loved to dance - family and friends fondly remember how he loved to lead the Conga line twirling the Farola, fill his plate to the brim at buffets, serve Ana Rosa (and go for seconds), play dominoes, laugh at old jokes and taunt family members with goofy pranks - his silly antics and loving nature will be missed dearly and special, personal memories clinged to fondly.

Our pain and tears are mitigated knowing that his heartfelt wish to spend Eternal Rest with Ana Rosa has been granted and that Ana Rosa received the best Christmas gift in Heaven.

Services

  • Visitation

    Friday, January 1, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, January 2, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, January 2, 2021

Memories

Rafael Esses

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Isabel Perez-Ralston

January 17, 2021

Rafi was caring, humble, kind and attentive. He saved EVERY card my mother, my sister, my son, daughter-in-law, grandkids and Tom & I ever gave him - each group paperclipped together "recuerdos" ("memories"). He saved pictures & mementos of all family members. He would personally select & purchase birthday, anniversary, graduation & individual Christmas cards for loved ones. Whenever I called him he would ask, if I had spoken with Ceci, how Tom was doing, "trabajando mucho?"... "Y cómo están 'Antony', 'Yacqui', 'Yósef' y la Niña?... Les gustan Hawaii?... Le gusta ser médico?"... and he'd comment on how quickly time passes and how big "los niños" (his great-grandchildren) were getting. From the day he married my mom in 1964, he embraced me as if I was his biological daughter... he attended every graduation and other special event, gave me sound advice, comforted me when I argued with my mom, encouraged me to pursue my dreams, taught me how to drive, carried me up flights of stairs when I had surgery, uprooted to Kansas with my mom (& sis) when Anthony was born (I was in med school at the time), showering him with "Kako" love and attention, never regretting the immense sacrifice... I could go on and on. Yes, he was stubborn, yes, he made goofy comments that got on my nerves, yes, at times he was hopelessly absent-minded - perfect he was not (who is?) - BUT I could not have asked for a more giving, loving and caring father, he was my perfect father and I will cherish his memory forever and ever and am looking forward to seeing and hugging him again.💖

Anita "Ceci" Esses Fernandez

January 5, 2021

I request that you please pray for the eternal rest of my dad's soul in heaven.

He was a great father to me as a child and I have some great memories of him - getting me lots of Pan con Bistec sandwiches, taking me on Paddle Boat rides in Parque de la 80, taking me to the movies and watching tv shows together, getting me chocolate goodies when I was little & went shopping with him at Shoprite, and giving my friends and I many many rides over the years

Lydia Molina

January 4, 2021

Anita, I am so sorry for the loss of you father. Just remember that you were blessed to have a father so special and caring. His memory will live forever in our hearts. May his soul rest in peace. Sorry I as not able to attend. We were at our house in NC till 1/2 and I just got this message today.

Virginia Robles

December 28, 2020

Dear Anita,
I’m so very sorry about your father’s death. He was a kind and caring man, and you were very special to him. I send you all my love and want you to know that my heart is with you during this very sad and difficult time. Please take care of yourself and in time the memories of your father will help you to heal and smile again.
All our love,
Virginia, Lazaro and Halle

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