BEVERLY HILLS—Nancy Sinatra Sr., 101, passed away on Friday, July 13 at her Beverly Hills home. Sinatra was a charitable, family woman and the first wife of late singer Frank Sinatra Sr.

Before marriage, Nancy Sinatra was born Nancy Barbato. Barbato was born in 1917 in Jersey City. She met Frank Sinatra when she was 17 and the two soon started dating. Five years later in 1939, the two were married and living together in Jersey City. During this time, Nancy worked as a secretary.

Nancy was dedicated to helping her husband succeed. According to the New York Times, that included sewing, cooking and answering fan mail for him. Frank Sinatra Sr. became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood as he began to star in movies. Frank had an affair with fellow Hollywood star Ava Gardner, which led to Nancy leaving Frank. She was married to her ex-husband for 12 years before they divorced. During their marriage, they had two daughters (Nancy Jr. and Tina) and one son (Frank Jr.) together.

After their divorce, Frank Sr. married actress Gardner. Despite being married to Gardner, he continued to confide in Nancy on long telephone calls. 

In a 2015 interview on CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood, Nancy Jr. told Mo Pocca, “I asked him [Frank Sinatra Sr.] once, if he had it to do all over again, would he leave mom for Ava? And he said no.”

Nancy Sr. never re-married, as Frank was “the love of her life,” Nancy Jr. told CBS. Following her separation, she spent her time with her family and performing charitable work. 

Nancy Sinatra tweeted after her mother’s death, writing, “My mother passed away peacefully tonight at the age of 101. She was a blessing and the light of my life. Godspeed, Momma. Thank you for everything.”

Written By Madison McKesson