Allison Moses Nistico was “everybody’s mom.”
Whether she was working as an individualized education program coordinator at Alternatives for Children in East Setauket, baking cookies for her neighbors and co-workers, or attending one of her son Austin’s sporting events, she was always ready to help others.
Nistico, 53, of Commack, died March 15 of flu complications at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, having struggled with illness since late January.
“She was the sports mom. She was the class mom,” said her ex-husband, John Nistico of Jericho, adding that she’d give you anything she had in her pocketbook. “She was prepared for any eventuality. She always brought a smile to everybody’s face.”
Born in Riverhead, Nistico graduated from Riverhead High School before attending Wheelock College in Massachusetts, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work in 1987, and SUNY Stony Brook, from which she received a master’s of social work degree in 1989.
During her career she worked for St. Charles Hospital and Rehabilitation Center and St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside, Queens. For the past 20 years she worked at Alternatives for Children, serving as an IEP coordinator working with schools to provide education programs for students with disabilities.
“She definitely went above and beyond for the families if they needed something or had questions,” said Sheila Moran, who worked with Nistico for the last 14 years.
In her role Nistico helped hundreds of children and their families, she said.
Moran recalled Nistico coming back from observations at preschools or homes with stories of how she played dress-up with the kids.
And in the office she “made everyone feel special,” bringing in cookies or decorating the office for a birthday,” Moran said. “She always went above and beyond for everybody.”
As well as being “everybody’s mom,” Nistico was genuinely nice and caring, said her close friend Sue Mullarkey.
“She would remember when your dog died and remember a year later and say, I’m sorry because it’s the anniversary,” Mullarkey said. “She basically was the friend that everybody would want, and many of us were lucky to have.”
While she always put 110 percent into her work and anything she did, her son, Austin, 17, was the most important part of her life, Moran said.
John Nistico, who was married to Allison for nearly 20 years, described going through more than 10,000 photos after her death, which she had printed and planned to scrapbook chronicling the life of their son.
Though Nistico was a lifelong Mets fan, it was her son’s love of baseball that turned her into a superfan, John Nistico said, adding that her email was “metsmom.”
She and Austin were on a quest to see a baseball game in every stadium in the country, he said.
“I get to live vicariously now through our son, who makes me realize more than ever what a wonderful job she did raising him,” John Nistico said. “She really, really touched so many people in so many different ways including myself.”
In addition to her son and ex-husband, Nistico is survived by her older brother, Trip Moses of Riverhead.
A memorial service was held March 25 at the American Legion in Smithtown, and a private viewing took place before she was cremated.
Contributions in her memory and to help her son, Austin, with expenses can be made to the “Allison and Austin Nistico Recovery Fund” on youcaring.com.