Nancy Ann Lazar

Nancy Ann Lazar had faced cancer with such grace over the past four years that her family tried to convince her to write a book titled “Top 10 Ways to Look Hot While You Have Cancer” to share what they called “her recipe for success.”

Her secrets: “Get your hair done, dress fashionably, walk three miles every day, always have a pedicure, go to China because you want to, dance on New Year’s, spend every Thursday night on the beach with friends, and wake up every morning to say to yourself in the mirror, ‘You’re beautiful. I love you.’ ”

Ms. Lazar, who lived on Aberdeen Lane in Sag Harbor for 27 years, died on Aug. 14 at the age of 57.

“Nancy was equally as tough as she was warm-hearted,” her family wrote. “She was strong, and brave, and caring,” they said, adding that she taught many to confront cancer with the same attitude. 

She was born on May 18, 1957, in Queens to Joseph Szukalewicz and the former Ann Gudonis, both of whom died before her.

She “was notorious for starting food fights, waking people up early on their birthday, staying up late to watch thunderstorms, and jumping out of a closet to scare you,” her family remembered. A graphic designer, she was creative and pursued her career with “unfaltering self-confidence and knowledge of her own self-worth.” Her two daughters said she was a role model for them. She was also a dedicated gardener who spent hours “growing vegetables that she used to prepare huge and delicious meals.”

Ms. Lazar is survived by her husband, Peter Lazar, her son, Chris Lazar of Duxbury, Mass., and her daughters, Jen Lazar of Richmond, Vt., and Morgan Lazar of Sag Harbor.

A wake was held on Friday evening at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor, and a Mass was said at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Sag Harbor on Saturday morning, followed by burial at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale.

During the last year of her life, Ms. Lazar and her family received support from Lucia’s Angels, a foundation that supports women and their families through the late stages of terminal cancer. Her family suggested donations be made in her name to the foundation online at luciasangels.org.