Nancy Means

Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Monday, June 26, 2023
St Marks Church
111 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, Connecticut, United States

Obituary of Nancy D. Means

Nancy Downes Means

Nancy Downes Means, a long-time resident of New Canaan, passed away on Wednesday, June 7, at
the age of 93.

Nancy was born on April 26, 1930, in Alexandria, Virginia, daughter of Kenneth McIntyre Downes and Rose Newberry Downes. She graduated from St. Agnes Episcopal School in 1948, and Smith College in 1952, where she enjoyed singing with the “Smithenpoofs” a cappella group. Upon graduation, she married her long-standing beau, David Hammond Means, Amherst ’50. They moved to Rosemont, PA and then to St. Davids, PA, where they would raise an active family of four.

Nancy worked in administration at Eastern Baptist College, and was very involved in charitable and volunteer organizations in the area. She was a docent at the Philadelphia Art Museum, helped restore Philadelphia’s Free Quaker Meeting House as a member of the Junior League, and joined the National Society of Colonial Dames.

In 1974, Nancy and Dave relocated to New Canaan, where she lived until moving to Atria Darien in 2018. They were long-time members of the Country Club of New Canaan. Nancy ran the Smith Club Book Sale in New Canaan for many years, a major fundraising event for the college. She was deeply involved in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, where she served on the Vestry, was a member (and former chairman) of the Flower Guild, acted as a greeter, and served as a docent, giving tours about the church’s architecture and history.

Nancy was a member of the New Canaan Garden Club, served in various positions on their Board, and arranged flowers for Waveny Care Center. She was also a member of the Garden Club of America. She won many GCA show awards, and served as an Artistic Design Judge.

Nancy’s beloved Dave died in 2008. Throughout their 56 years of marriage, Nancy and Dave remained wholly in love, reveling in their ever-growing family, and enjoying extensive travel over six continents, with “a toe in every ocean.” After Dave’s death, Nancy emerged on her own as a kind and spirited matriarch. Above all, Nancy loved her family and especially enjoyed time with her
grandchildren and great-grandchildren who each adored her.

Nancy is survived by her sister, Mary Reitler of Fullerton, CA (Paul Reitler); her daughter, Susan Means Drake of Darien (Daniel K. Drake), and son David Hammond Means, Jr., of New Canaan. Nancy was pre-deceased by two of her daughters, Emily Means Whalen, and Elizabeth Newberry Means (Stephen H. Gardner). Nancy endured these tragedies with grace and a firm resolve that life moves forward, providing a model for grieving that comforted all.

In addition, Nancy is survived by her nine beloved grandchildren: Elizabeth D. Gardner (Theodore Wiles), Kenly M. D. Voght (Tobler Voght), Caroline H. Gardner-Williams (Kevin Williams), Sarah M. D. Bernhard (Kevin Bernhard), David M. Gardner (Margaret Burrus), Margaret N. D. Bennett (Theodore Bennett), David H. Means, III, Katherine B. Means, and Julia N. Means, and nine great-
grandchildren, with a tenth due in July.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 111
Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840.

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