• NANCY BREWER (BLACKALL) THOMPS...

NANCY BREWER (BLACKALL) THOMPSON
Died Monday, January 14, 2019, at the age of 89, at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh. Nancy was born October 18, 1929, to Robert Murray Blackall and Dorothy Evans (Brewer) Blackall, both of old Cambridge, MA, families. Nancy grew up in Milton, MA, and graduated from the Milton Academy in 1947. She continued her studies at Skidmore College for two years, where she "studied boyfriends and bridge" and did not receive a degree, but her education certainly didn't stop there. She worked as a secretary and graduated from the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in 1953, the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration in 1960, and George Washington University in 1961, with a BA in Political Science. In 1972, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master's degree in Counselor Education. She was a lifetime learner, auditing many courses over the years at Pitt. After graduating from George Washington, Nancy took a job on Capitol Hill working for a congressman, but her true life's work was focused on helping others. She left Washington, DC, to join C.A.R.E., a leading humanitarian organization focused on providing relief to poverty stricken areas, and raised money for that organization throughout the state of Virginia. When C.A.R.E. needed a woman on staff to get a contract from the government to run a Peace Corps program in Colombia, South America, they chose Nancy. She truly enjoyed learning about other cultures and calls her two years with C.A.R.E. and the Peace Corps the "best experiences of my life." After leaving C.A.R.E., Nancy took a job as the student counselor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. A high percentage of students enrolled in the GSPIA program at that time were international and had some difficulty navigating the campus. Nancy was fluent in French and Spanish, so she was able to help a lot of those students find their way. She was later promoted to Coordinator of Student Services at GSPIA, but she found that she spent more time working with paper than she did with students. So she enrolled in night school and received her Master's in Counselor Education. Nancy frequently hosted foreign exchange students in her home and greatly enjoyed the cultural interchange during each student's stay in Pittsburgh. After earning her Master's, Nancy was hired by Allegheny East Mental Health and Mental Retardation as a community worker, running programs for young mothers and children. After four years there, she became a family therapist at Family Services of Western PA in Pittsburgh, where she worked until her retirement in 1994. Throughout her life and her retirement, Nancy enjoyed politics, playing tennis, walking, painting, and singing with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh for many years. She found the arts to be a great outlet for emotion, friendship, and creativity. She traveled extensively in the US and abroad including our national parks, Great Britain, Holland, the Middle East, and other Latin American countries, in addition to Colombia. She was fascinated with how other cultures lived. She loved adventure and fun, while also helping those less fortunate. She made a difference to so many. Nancy was predeceased by her two sisters, Eleanor (Blackall) Read, of Mystic, CT, and Elizabeth (Blackall) Porter, of Concord, MA; and her niece, Peggy (Read) Fry, of Concord, MA. She is survived by nieces and nephews, Terry Porter, of Topsham, ME, Judy (Porter) Muller, of Harpswell, ME, David Porter, of Westwood, MA, Penelope (Read) Stevens, of Redding, CT, and John Read, of Mystic, CT; and eight great-nieces and nephews. A service to celebrate Nancy's life will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 5 p.m. at the Square Café in Edgewood, 1137 South Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15218. At her request, her ashes will be scattered in some of her favorite places in New England at the convenience of her family. Contributions may be made in her memory to her favorite charities, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, the Brother's Brother Foundation, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and WQED.
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PostedMay 20, 2019