Friend, chairwoman, traveler, cook, presenter, sister, mother and grandmother, teacher, world citizen, seamstress, wife, writer: Nancy Anne Neef van Ravenswaay assumed all these roles during her 85 years, fulfilling all of them with grace, skill, humor, and clarity. Nancy passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 14 in her home in Tiburon, surrounded by her devoted family and her dachshund Button.
Born in Cooper County, East of Boonville, Missouri on April 5, 1927 to Henry Carl and Annie Laura Neef, Nancy graduated from the University of Missouri and married Dr. Theodore van Ravenswaay in 1950. Her children, Dr. Paul van Ravenswaay of Washington, D.C. and Carolyn van Ravenswaay of Jackson, CA, were born in 1952 and 1953 respectively. Nancy leaves her two children; her sister Carolyn Koerner of Boonville, MO; her beloved grandson Nicholas Paul Donovan of Jackson, Tiburon, CA; extended family; sorority sisters in Delta Delta Delta, and many friends and colleagues.
Nancy’s career ranged from librarian at a bank in St. Louis (1950-1952) to social studies and English teacher at Del Mar in Tiburon (1963-85), to a presenter and trainer in global education, social studies and international studies curriculum. Nancy participated in wide range of civic, political and educational organizations, including the League of Women Voters, the Tiburon Landmarks Society, World Affairs Council, Bay Area Writing Project, Bay Area Global Education Project, National and California Councils for the Social Studies, Western Regional Project on Japan, California Teachers Association, and the California Association of Teacher of English.
Nancy’s professional activities and her late husband’s education and training took her all over the world, with residencies in Amsterdam and London, and shorter trips to New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan, Egypt, Greece, and Haiti. She sailed the canals of France and explored the rice paddies of Indonesia.
What truly made her happy were the simple things such reading the New York Times, enjoying the view from her deck overlooking Raccoon Strait and cooking gourmet meals for people she loved. She never missed an opportunity to travel to be with them, eat with them and spend time with them. Nancy’s twinkling eyes, far-reaching compassion, cogent observations and sharp insights will be missed by all who knew and loved her.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial donations sent to the Evangelical United Church of Christ, 416 7th Street, Boonville, MO, 65233, or the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038.