A funeral mass was offered Jan. 2 at St. Augustine R.C.C., Union City, for Rafael Esses, 83. He passed away suddenly on Dec. 24th in his home in North Bergen. Born in Habana, Cuba he emigrated to the United States in his early twenties. Rafael met Ana Rosa (Conde) at a New Year’s Eve dance in NYC- their first dance was to “Strangers in the Night”; they married on July 18th, 1964. Ana Rosa passed away in 2002 from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis- loving and dedicated spouse, he cared for her diligently. Rafael was of Syrian Jewish descent, the eldest of three born to Salomon and Fortuna (nee Silvera). He converted to Catholicism on Easter 1999 and is affiliated with St. Augustine’s Church, Union City. He remarked that a reason for his conversion was to “make sure I’m with Ana Rosa in Eternity”. Surviving are his siblings, Luna Esses, spouse Rafael and their 2 children, Moises Esses, spouse Julie and their 4 children; daughters, Anita (“Ceci”) Esses Fernandez and spouse, Waldo, Isabel Perez-Ralston and spouse, Thomas; grandson Anthony Ralston and spouse Jacqueline, great-grandchildren Joseph and Isabella Ralston; nieces Anita Benitez, Lourdes Osorio, spouse Louis and their two children; and cousin Mercedes Rodriguez. Rafael was a devoted husband, loving father and doting grandfather. He was a caring, fun-loving family man who loved to dance – family and friends fondly remember how he loved to lead the Conga line twirling the Farola, fill his plate to the brim at buffets, serve Ana Rosa (and go for seconds), play dominoes, laugh at old jokes and taunt family members with goofy pranks – his silly antics and loving nature will be missed dearly and special, personal memories clinged to fondly. Services arranged by the Leber Funeral Home, Union City.