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Constance Nurge of North Merrick: Rediscovered her love of painting

Constance Nurge rediscovered painting last year after not

Constance Nurge rediscovered painting last year after not picking up a paint brush for many years. Credit: Kim Nurge

One afternoon last fall, Constance Nurge rediscovered one of the great loves of her life: painting.

In her younger days, the longtime North Merrick resident was always painting household items, cleaning them up and giving them a fresh feel with hand-stenciled floral motifs.

As her focus shifted toward raising a family, Nurge lost touch with painting until her daughter, Kim Nurge, suggested that it might be something they could do together.

“I thought it might be a nice activity where the two of us take a canvas and paint together,” said Kim Nurge, 53, of Head of the Harbor.

Nurge's new focus was abstract art, something her daughter said she took to quite nicely.

“I was just so impressed with it,” Kim Nurge said. “It came out great. She really enjoyed doing it and that became our normal thing.”

Nurge, a breast cancer survivor, died April 12 from complications of COVID-19 at Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, her family said. She was 87.

“She was a very sweet and caring woman,” said her son, Eric Nurge, 54, of North Merrick. “She would do anything she could for people.”

Known as "Connie" to most, Nurge was born on July 8, 1932, in New Jersey. She moved to East Williston as a teenager after her father took a job on Long Island. She graduated from Roslyn High School, where she was named "best dressed." She went to SUNY Farmingdale before beginning a short career as a mechanical drawer at Airborne Instruments in Mineola, which she left in the mid-1950s to become a homemaker and raise her three children. 

Nurge married her husband of 65 years, Ernest, in November 1954 at the Community Church in East Williston. The couple briefly lived in Oceanside before moving to North Merrick in spring 1955, where Nurge would live for 65 years.

Nurge loved to travel, taking her children to Disney World and the Bahamas. After Ernest retired in 1992, the two traveled even more, visiting Europe multiple times, taking a cruise down the Panama Canal, and driving along the U.S. West Coast with her sister and brother-in-law, the late Neicy and Bill Fauth of Huntington.

“Every time I turned around, they were traveling someplace else,” Eric Nurge said. “They were always going somewhere or doing something.”

In addition to her husband, son and daughter, Nurge is survived by son Ernest III of North Merrick. She was buried in the All Faiths Lutheran Cemetery in Middle Village. The family will hold a memorial at a later date.

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