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NANCY BREWER (BLACKALL) THOMPSON


1929 - 2019
NANCY BREWER (BLACKALL) THOMPSON Obituary
THOMPSON, Nancy Brewer (Blackall) 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 2 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 then 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 live. She loved adventure and fun while helping those less fortunate. She made a difference to so many.

Nancy is 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, John Read of Mystic, CT, and eight great-nieces and nephews.

A Service to Celebrate Nancy's Life will be held on Saturday, June 22nd, at 5pm at the Square Caf? in Edgewood, (1137 South Braddock Avenue, 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.
Published in The Boston Globe from May 17 to May 19, 2019
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