Nanette Groat, wife of Rod Wood, passes away after long battle with cancer

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The family of WSYR-TV has some sad news to pass along.  Nanette Groat, wife of NewsChannel 9 anchor Rod Wood, died after a long battle with cancer.  Nanette Groat was 73 years old.  Rod and Nanette recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rod and his children Chris, John, Elizabeth, Rebecca and Priscilla, and their nine grandchilden.

Nanette Ann (Nicholas) Groat, 73, of Syracuse, was called home to the Lord on Monday, May 25th, 2020 Memorial Day, after a courageous nine-year battle with cancer. A native Syracusan, Nanette was the oldest of seven siblings in a Lebanese and Italian family. She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Elaine (Mercurio) Nicholas and the granddaughter of Habib and Susie (Monsour) Nicholas, as well as Antonio & Grazia (Molinari) Mercurio. She was predeceased by her brothers Jack and Thomas and her sister Susan.

It is said that behind every great man is a great woman; and, if that woman is a wife and mother, he is twice blessed. Nanette was that blessing. She filled those roles and then some. She passed away on her 52nd wedding anniversary and is survived by her loving husband Roderic Woodruff Groat, better known as longtime television news anchorman Rod Wood. She is also survived by sons John (Katie) Groat and Christopher (Lindsay) Groat of DeWitt; daughters Elizabeth (Robert) DiNardo of Webster, Rebecca (Kate Liddle) Groat of Baldwinsville, and Priscilla (Mike) Allen of Syracuse; as well as brothers Richard (Wen) Nicholas of Liverpool, Robert (Nancy) Nicholas of Onondaga Hill, sister Deborah (Nicholas) Spencer of Charleston, SC., and brother-in-law Hall Groat of Manlius; as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins, including cousin and lifelong friend, Patti (Nicholas) Rusczyk.

Nanette was an adoring and doting grandmother to her ten grandchildren including Enzo, Madison, Mya, Taylee, Jace, Cooper, Hudson, Willem, Holland, and Pierce.

A woman of true Christian devotion, Nanette’s faith was nurtured early on at Most Holy Rosary and St. Anthony’s parishes. As an adult, she found a deep connection with the Lord as an active member of Church of the Resurrection of East Syracuse, and later as a communicant of Abundant Life Christian Center.

A lifelong Southsider, Nan attended Most Holy Rosary and St. Anthony’s Schools in her youth. She was a member of the last graduating class of Onondaga Valley Academy in 1965, where she enjoyed participating in the Chorus and Glee Club. She so loved “Valley”.

She made sure her home was always filled with song and singing, with everything from The Beatles to Broadway cast albums…to her own piano playing…and an ever-present kitchen radio. She was a member of the chorus of the Pompeiian Players and appeared in productions including “Fiddler on the Roof” and ironically, “No, No Nanette”.

Before starting a family, Nanette worked at Farmers & Traders Insurance in administrative work; at Memorial Hospital as a medical transcriptionist; and at WNDR Radio as a receptionist, where she met her future husband. Upon the birth of their first child, Nan stayed home to care for her growing family. That care included daily “from scratch” home cooking. So very talented in the kitchen, Nanette learned at the apron strings of her mother. Suppertime meant friends and extended family were always welcome and a kitchen full of Italian, Mediterranean, and American culinary delights awaited. Nan cooking a heaping pot of homemade sauce and meatballs that had been simmering on the stove all-day, or making hand-rolled grape leaves that she herself had freshly-picked, were both commonplace sights and examples of everyday occurrences at the Groat house. She put great love and care into feeding her family and friends.

A kindhearted soul, she was quick with a smile, had a contagious laugh, and was slow to anger—all positive attributes with five children at home. Nanette loved Jesus and promoted a home of faith, care for family, and community. She was a longtime school lunch aide and volunteered for a time at Teen Challenge and Community Hospital.

Nan had an eclectic personal style and loved to dress to the nines. She was giddy to have her nails done or to have her naturally curly black hair tended to. She enjoyed her perfumes! She was a fan of Syracuse University basketball and the New York Yankees—a woman of good taste! She was the family cheerleader and championed the endeavors of her husband, children, grandchildren, and extended family.

Nanette is irreplaceable, the hub of our family, an absolute original…. She will be missed beyond measure. Each Memorial Day will now take on special meaning in our family.

We extend a heartfelt thank you to the doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who assisted in her care with extra special thanks to her “dream team” of Drs. Jeffrey Bogart, Barbara Clayton, Ajeet Gajra, and Anil George, the staffs of the Upstate Cancer Center and The Cleveland Clinic.

All are invited to calling hours to be held from 4-8 pm on Thursday, June 25th, 2020 at THOMAS J. PIRRO JR. FUNERAL HOME at 3401 Vickery Rd., (corner of Buckley Rd.) North Syracuse. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held the next day, Friday June 26th, 2020 at 12:30 pm at Holy Family Church, 127 Chapel Dr. in Fairmount, with burial to follow at Onondaga Valley Cemetery.

Donations in Nanette’s honor may be made to: The Nanette Groat Music Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 49, Syracuse, NY 13214. Please sign the guestbook at:

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Nanette Ann (Nicholas) Groat please visit the Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home Sympathy Store.

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