Four members of campus operations staff die, students pay tribute

September 4, 2020

Michael Carbone, James Adams, Patricia Conboy and Nerva Nazaire all passed away within the last six months. “Between them, they served Brandeis University for a total of nearly 70 years,” according to an email sent on Sept. 3. 

Michael Carbone, who worked in the Facilities Services for 33 years, died on Aug. 17,  according to the email. He was “an avid hockey fan who enjoy[ed] reminiscing about the ‘good ol’ days’ of the Boston Bruins.“ Carbone followed in the foot-steps of his father, who was a Brandeis custodian for 40 years. 

James Adams worked for the Facilities Services Operations as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician for five years. He died on  June 4, according to his obituary. He was described as a “fun-loving gentle giant of a man who wore his passion and commitment for his family proudly.” 

Patricia Conboy worked for Sodexo at Brandeis for 20 years and died on April 29 according to her obituary. She was described as “a woman of great work ethic and drive” by her daughter-in-law on her obituary page. 

Nerva Nazaire, who worked at Brandeis’ The C-Store for nine years, according to an email sent on Sept. 3, died on May 25 in Mount Auburn Hospital at age 61, according to his obituary

Many students learned the news of Nazaire’s death when Syed Hassan ’23 posted on social media about Nazaire’s passing, which has been shared numerous times since. Hassan told The Brandeis Hoot in an email that since returning to campus, he had been on the lookout for Nazaire but had not seen him. After a few days of not seeing Nazaire on campus, Hassan asked another dining worker, who informed him of Nazaire’s passing. 

Nancy Zhai ’22, the chair of the Senate Dining Committee of the Brandeis University Student Union, told The Hoot that she encourages students “to leave some memories on the obituary pages.” Zhai concluded by mentioning that she is “working with Brandeis Dining to ensure students and workers are safeguarded by necessary sanitation/distancing protocols” and that the Dining Committee continues making this a priority. Brandeis Dining also posted tributes to Nazaire and Conboy on their Instagram. 

Hassan and Zhai are far from the only ones paying tribute to Nazaire—his memory book linked to his obituary has over 60 messages at the time of writing, mostly from Brandeis students written within the last week. “My experience at Brandeis just would not have been the same without Nerva. His kindness, genuine interest in others’ wellbeing and generosity were truly remarkable. He always gave the best advice and maintained a great sense of optimism. Nerva touched so many lives for so many years, and I am so grateful to have known him,” wrote Agape Niyobuhungiro ’20.  

“Nerva was such a light at Brandeis,” Elizabeth Dabanka ’20 wrote in the memory book. “He is going to be truly missed by the students there. Nerva always made time to chat with me and to say encouraging words or just to check in and ask how I was doing. He was a very caring and sweet man and someone who had an impact on a lot of people.” 

Menu Title