Driving Transactions
Sunday, April 21, 2024

The entire CD team extends our condolences to the families and loved ones of two strong, powerful, beloved women whose impact on our industry and hearts will not soon be forgotten.

Nina Parson Memoriam

In Memoriam: Nina Parson of Company Car & Limousine (1982-2024)
Nina Parson, director of sales and marketing for Company Car & Limousine in Ohio, passed away on January 13, 2024, while recovering from an eight-month illness. She was 41.

Nina’s infectious positivity, indefatigable spirit, and can-do attitude made her a perfect fit for the nonstop nature of the hospitality industry, which she joined upon graduation from college in 2004. Cool under pressure and with a wicked sense of humor, she always made everyone she worked with smile a bit more.

Nina Parson

After working in the hotel and tourism sector for several years, she made her way to luxury transportation in 2015, first with A Touch of Class Limousine and then Company Car & Limousine (both based in Ohio). She was the director of sales and marketing for both companies, and she was immediately embraced by everyone who worked with her. Known for her larger-than-life personality, she was beloved by clients and affiliates alike. Once you knew Nina, you were fast friends.

Nina Parson

Nina was also a speaker for several industry events including the CD/NLA Shows—even speaking with a broken foot!—and served on the CD/NLA Show Education Committee, which is responsible for developing and coordinating all of the seminars and workshops for the various events.

CD President Chris Weiss had the pleasure of working with her on the Committee: “It's an extremely sad day for our industry and the planet. Today we lost a special person, a true go-getter, and a rare breed—Nina Parson. Nina was always the first to pitch in and roll up her sleeves. She was selfless, extremely creative, and a huge asset to the CD/NLA Show Education Committee. She will be missed.”

Nina Parson

In mid-2023, she was hospitalized for an infection that led to multiple organ failure and a mild stroke. During her road to recovery, she was surrounded by the love of her friends and family (including her industry family) as they organized numerous fundraisers to help her with her mounting medical costs, and, of course, visited and shared some laughs as she healed and continued her rehabilitation. She was again hospitalized for pneumonia in early January and sadly succumbed to the illness.

Funeral services: Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, January 17 from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at the Ripepi Funeral Home in Parma, Ohio, followed by the funeral service on January 18 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Elias Church in Brooklyn, Ohio.

Social media remembrances and tributes:

“Indeed an extremely sad day. Nina was an amazing woman,” says Jason Sharenow of Broadway Elite Worldwide and co-chair of the CD/NLA Show Education Committee.

“She was such a loving and down to earth person, who I adored for her natural abilities to kill it professionally and also just connect with anyone on a human level. She always dedicated herself to service. She was so funny, and unapologetically raw and true to herself,” says Christina Zanone of Beau Wine Tours.

“Big prayers for her family! She was one of the very best! She will truly be missed!” says Kathy Walsh Baker of Urban Worldwide.

 


In Memoriam: Barbara Chirico of Gem Worldwide (1943–2024)
Gem Worldwide Ground Transportation Service founder and industry pioneer, Barbara Chirico, died January 16, 2024. She was 80.

In 1976, Barbara started Gem Limousine out of her family home, at a time when woman-owned businesses were rare. It began with the purchase of a few stretch limos as a trendy, celebratory, and status-filled service offering. However, one unforgettable night at a local diner changed everything.

Barbara Chirico

A Gem chauffeur overheard an executive assistant from a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company sobbing because their limo had left their CEO stranded. This incident marked a turning point for Gem, as the company shifted its focus to the corporate transportation sector. Barbara attended the most important meeting to date, and the rest is history. To this day, Gem still works with the same pharma company, a lasting partnership of more than 40 years.

Barbara Chirico

Over the years, the business grew, and Barbara's daughter Deanna and her husband Joe Gulino joined their mother in their venture within the travel industry. Gem became a one-stop shop for ground transportation in corporate America, servicing clients on a national and global scale.

She is also survived by her stepchildren Lauren Kall, Dina Pellinger, and John Chirico and their children, as well as grandchildren Joey Jr. and wife Lauren Gulino, Nicole and husband Kevin Stankewicz, and Gina Gulino, many of whom work or have worked for Gem over the years. Her husband John passed away in 2016.

Barbara Chirico

A long-time supporter of industry associations, Barbara was a past president of the National Limousine Association, and was treasurer for the Limousine Association of New Jersey, who presented her with a lifetime achievement award. Similarly, she was recognized by Chauffeur Driven as a member of the magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame inductees in 2019.

When profiled in the October 2017 issue of CD, she reflected on her time in the luxury ground transportation industry.

“The best thing for me is having my kids and grandchildren here; every morning they come into my office and give me a kiss. What could be better than that? Life is good.”

Funeral arrangements have not been announced and will be updated once available.

Social media remembrances and tributes:

“She was the rock of our family, an angel whose kindness and love touched everyone she encountered,” says grandson Joey Gulino of Gem Worldwide.

“She was my dear friend for over 40 years. I will always cherish our friendship and remember Barbara for the incredible, kind, and caring person she was,” says Bruce Cirlin of Complete Fleet Livery Sales (retired).

“[I am] heartbroken to hear this. She was a classy lady, brilliant businesswoman, industry leader, and down-to-earth friend. Prayers for comfort to her family and all who knew her,” says Ron Stein of Exclusive Sedan.

“Barbara was a trailblazer for our industry. A true class act that all women could admire. She will be missed,” says Deanna Ballard of Signature Transportation Services.

 

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