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Carol A. Venditto
December 26, 1957 ~ December 4, 2023 (age 65) 65 Years Old
Carol Venditto, 65, died suddenly and unexpectedly on December 4, 2023. Carol is survived by her beloved wife, Nan Lassen; her stepchildren Laura Fabens-Lassen, Ben Fabens-Lassen (Heather Gold), and Ann Fabens-Lassen (Patrick Rafferty); and two adored grandchildren, Ryan Fabens-Lassen and Ruby Rafferty. Carol is also survived by siblings Dominick (Maureen), Joanna Hemenway (Paul), Ann-Marie Whelen (Martin), John (Cathy), and James (Kathy); her godchild and niece, Lynn Francisco (Anthony); nieces and nephews Daniel Hemenway (Jitny), Lauren, Christopher, Michael, Brian, and Matthew; and great niece and nephew Layla Francisco and Anthony Francisco, Jr. ("Sonny"). Carol's loving family will carry on her memory and traditions.
Carol loved her family boundlessly, to the ends of the earth. The "Venditto Sisters" could not sing worth a lick, but they were the most dynamic trio going: sassy, silly, and fun as hell! Carol loved watching her great niece Layla play fastpitch softball and delighted in her awesome pitch arsenal. Her great nephew Sonny was the apple of her eye, and she loved his sweet, curious, and endearing temperament. And Carol was especially head over heels in love with her grandchildren, Ryan and Ruby. Holding them, kissing them, rolling around or sitting on the ground with them was everything to her, and painted a smile on her face that lasted all day. Carol ("Nonni") and her fortunate grandchildren, nieces, and nephews delighted in each other's company.
Carol was a small and stylish woman, short and petite, with a gargantuan sense of humor that was only outweighed by her enormous heart. She was hysterically funny, laughed with her whole being, and loved with complete commitment. Difficult as it often is to become a stepmother, these qualities endeared her to her stepchildren. She took such enormous pride in them, their achievements, and their families, as she supported them from elementary school to adulthood and beyond. Carol loved reminding them that she knew them when they were shorter than her, especially after Ben grew to tower over her! She had a special relationship with each of the kids: she had their backs, and they adored her. It was incredibly sweet, frequently silly, and loving beyond belief.
But the depth of Carol's amazing love and passion was reserved for her wife Nan. They were the best companions and delighted in their time together, whether ordinary days, casual activities, or exciting adventures to distant places. Nan's unconditional love filled Carol's heart and was eagerly reciprocated. Carol always said that with Nan she found a loving home in which she wanted to live for the rest of her life. She got her wish---and how great is that?
Carol was also the most motivated person you could ever hope to meet. She was the first person in her family to go to college and graduate school, working her way through both. She was a proud daughter of the State of New Jersey ("just think of where the sign is on The Sopranos"), who spent her whole career in New Jersey public service, first as a probation officer and then as a career judicial manager. After a few years in criminal court administration, Carol entered the world of Drug Court, first as a manager in Union County and then as the State-wide Manager of the entire New Jersey Drug Court system. Drug Court was her career passion: a way for drug-addicted defendants to shake their dependency and resume productive lives instead of going to prison. She attended hundreds of graduations over the years, and was fulfilled by watching participants get jobs, graduate from schools, regain custody or visitation with their children, and otherwise build stable lives in the community. Carol was completely committed to social justice, and she was always on the underdog's side---at work, in politics and community service, and since her retirement in 2014, after which she became an expert consultant to the National Association of Drug Court Programs until her death.
Being a Jersey Girl, and having more than her share of "Jerseytude," Carol was sassy, spicy, and side-splitting. We can hear her now, incensed because she was felled by a common cold. It goes something like, "Give me an f'ing break! I fight my way all the way back from the worst health crap, and bought the farm from an f'ing cold? No f'ing way!" We all feel that way: Your wife, your family, and your friends are all stunned and bereft. We will mourn your passing forever. We will remember, as your soulmate Bonnie Raitt sang, I (we) will not be broken, and we will take your love with us everywhere.
All who knew and loved Carol and her family are welcome to join in a gathering of love and community to remember Carol and celebrate her life. Please wear something purple and stay awhile and mingle if you can. Beverages (non-alcoholic) and refreshments will be served.