Where Lives Are Not Lost, They Are Celebrated

Jeanne Forbell


Jeanne Forbell

July 23, 1933 – August 23, 2019


Jeannette ”Jeanne” Ann Forbell was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on July 23, 1933 to Catherine and Laurence Forbell. Jeanne left this world on August 23, 2019 one month after her 86th birthday.
“So be it…”
She could be heard saying this a lot over the course of the last few months as she struggled to accept her new lot in life. Such a sweet, kind and loving soul, always going the extra mile for any and all of her loved ones, often literally, racing about behind the wheel of her beloved “Cutie Coup” Mini Cooper right up until her failing health made it no longer possible to drive – truly the worst thing she had ever imagined.
A fiery, red-haired child from Morgan Avenue in “Greenpirnt”, Brooklyn, she was adored by many friends and family members. She loved to tell stories about her lunches with her best friend Dottie when they were both beautiful young ladies working in Manhattan. She reminisced about her adventures as the driver of a getaway car for a pioneering TV business owner intent on defending his turf, about joyfully operating a telephone switchboard. She loved to go out dancing or sometimes dashing off with her father as he headed out to report on a story for the local paper. (Side note: she once went on a date with jockey Eddie Arcaro, and Tony Bennett actually gave her a kiss!)
She loved her NY Yankees and would stay up late to report play-by-play action on Facebook, always quick with a withering critique of bad management and poor performance. And oh! how she hated players blowing bubbles as they “jauntily” sauntered up to the plate – “It’s distracting! You have to think too much! Just hit the damn ball!” she’d say!! LOL (her frequent and favorite IM add on…)
She found great comfort in her faith. Having attended Catholic school as a child, she revered the priests and nuns and practiced perfect penmanship. She almost became a Nun herself but instead she married once and had three children. This was her one true calling. The consummate mother, her whole purpose in life revolved around helping her family in any way she could, whether it was emptying their dishwasher, running errands, bringing them lunch, or, most especially, watching and cuddling with their dogs! Oh, how she loved her Grandpups, secretly sharing her meals with them and bringing them “greenie” chew treats on every visit! Whatever kind of pain she was suffering, often intense, she would typically blame it on “the weather” as she charged on about her business. She was the “Energizer Bunny” and nothing could stop her – only death could still her ever active limbs.
In her more able adult years she would spend hours and hours doing all kinds of crafts with her best friends Dottie, Geri and Louise, as well as her grandchildren Matt and Molly. So many materials, so little time! 🙂
She loved her iPhone and felt lost without it. Sadly, this became especially challenging for her to operate in the end, leading to a desperate sense of isolation, loss and purposelessness. She resorted to writing notes on paper as if she were sending instant messages to loved ones…
Having endured a long life of pain and medical complications, including (but not limited to) botched foot surgery, a femoral artery bypass, coronary artery stents, and arthritis, she finally succumbed to complications following gallbladder surgery, Dementia, hip surgery and ultimately a septic infection. Her final months were a misery unworthy of such a great and wonderful woman, mother, grandmother, GREAT grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbor and friend.
There is now a great, big, gaping hole in the universe that only she could fill. She will be so, so, so missed.
Jeanne is survived by her beloved children Andy Watson (Linda), Janis Winter (John), and Paul Abbatepaolo (Lori); her grandchildren Alan, Hadley and Emma Watson, Matthew Zurawel (Dana) and Molly Nack (Charles), and Brian Abbatepaolo; her great-grandchildren Oliver Zurawel and the soon to arrive Nolan Nack; her brothers Michael (Maureen) and Laurence (Linda), her sister Kathleen Ruggieri (Roger), many beloved nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Jeanne will be reunited with her beloved father Laurence, her mother Catherine, her brother Ronnie and his wife Marlene, their child Keith, and her best friends Dottie Reilly, Geri Wannermeyer and Louise Kerwick.

To make donations in Jeanne’s honor please visit:

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Monday, August 26th
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm & 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Funeral Mass
Tuesday, August 27th
Holy Cross R. C. Church
10:00 am
Private Cremation

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