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Ninalee Craig ‘the American Girl in Italy’ passes away…

Posted by: on February 3, 2019

Mary Engel – May 3, 2018

I am very sorry to share the sad news that Ninalee Craig (otherwise known as Jinx, as I called her) passed away yesterday at the age of 90 in Toronto. Jinx was the subject of my mother’s best known image, “American Girl in Italy” but she was much more than that to me. She was larger than life, full of energy and passionate about everything. Jinx was the surrogate mother, aunt, favorite relative all rolled into one. She was strong, smart, elegant and the female role model I craved and adored. She was interested in everything I did, and was always delighted to hear about Zac’s latest activities.

We shared many wonderful dinners, visits, openings, and attended Broadway shows. We had a marvelous week in Toronto together to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the photograph. There was a wonderful exhibit at Stephen Bulger Gallery, an amazing appearance on AM Canada, and a terrific Italian dinner party at Grano! A week I will never forget.

She loved her family, loved to travel, loved the opera, her hometown of Toronto, and of course Italy! A special bond was formed first with my mom because of the photograph and chance meeting at their hotel in Florence and the bond continued between us until yesterday…I had emailed her to show her Zac’s yearbook page and some new totes, and she emailed me back just 10 days ago, and said:

HELLO MARY…..WHAT A HOOT. THE AMERICAN GIRL TOTE BAGS LOOK TRENDY…..AND FUN. IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF THEY TEMPT TODAY’S MARKET. GO FOR IT. IT WILL BE INTERESTING IF THEY DO CATCH ON IN NEW YORK. KEEP ME INFORMED. AND I LAUGHED SO AT ZAC’S GRAD PHOTO PAGE ! XXXX JINX

Our hundreds of emails, letters and photos will always be there for me, and the photo will live on for future generations. I will miss her terribly, but the fond memories and many laughs will always remain…Condolences to Noel, Brooks and Alex and the rest of their families…Much love always, Mary ❤️

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