In Memoriam

Nancy Donahower (Miller)

Nancy Donahower (Miller)

From Fall 2012 Class Notes:


With sadness, we report that Nancy Donahower Miller died of a heart attack on May 29. She served MHC in many capacities, especially as class agent, 35th reunion gift chair, and treasurer of the MHC Club of San Diego. Nancy's remarkable adaptability was inspiring. An English major with no exposure to computers during college, she pursued the exploding field of information technology. Despite the many barriers to advancement faced by women in her field, Nancy excelled. With an MS earned after her two sons were born, she advanced to senior principal engineer at Orincon, Inc., where her highly technical and successful proposals helped the firm proper. Her achievements included developing a computer system vital to Desert Storm's defense efforts. Among her dorm mates for several years were Sally Donner, Phyllis Rutter Ellickson, and Peggy Ferry Houston. [She is survived by her] husband, Dr. James Miller of Carlsbad, CA.



Nancy Donahower Miller (01-19-1942 – 05-29-2012) died at the age of 70 on May 29, 2012, and was buried at Miramar National Cemetery in San DiegoCA.


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02/19/13 11:56 AM #1    

Alice Godfrey (Andrus)

What a blow to lose Nancy.  My memory of her is mostly from college.  She was a wise leader; calm, cool and collected. I respected her so much and often tried to emulate her style.  


To hear of her accomplishments through the years left me little surprised.  As a retired executive search/recruiter, I know that English majors make wonderful computer scientists.  She was at the advance of the field for women.  As I hear my "granddaughter" Jessie Hamelin '13 talk about her major and share her news of her new career starting in California, some how I feel a link has been established..between the past and the present...Nancy, you are greatly missed and are much remembered by your classmates. 


Alice Godfrey Andrus

136 West Canton Street

Boston MA 02118

03/22/13 08:09 PM #2    

Marjorie (Vandy) Stissel (Humphrey)

Nancy was my freshman year roommate, kind, funny, wise, easy to live with in small quarters with a large steamy radiator in Pearson. In winter, we buried ice cream in the snow on the roof and ate it before all of it defrosted.  In the spring we sat on the roof together and looked down on the president's residence.    I think the start of college and all the changes and challenges were made easier and more fun by having Nancy as a roommate, and I enjoyed it immensely, as I did all our encounters after that. 

Vandy Stissel Humphrey

49 Sagamore Drive, Rochester, NY 14617

03/24/13 12:35 PM #3    

Marion Colton (Inglis)

I knew Nancy in high school and always enjoyed her humor and perspective. So sorry  not to be able to catch up.


Marion Colton Inglis

325 Newell St

Walla Walla, Wa. 99362

05/15/13 05:53 PM #4    

Phyllis Rutter (Ellickson)


I had just written Nancy a note when her husband told me she had died suddenly.  How I wish we had made good on our promise to get together again!  We kept in touch over the years and I watched with admiration and delight as Nancy transformed herself into a computer expert and moved through the ranks at Orincon.  A far cry from the Cambridge years when we traded advice on how to avoid being the “coffee girl” during meetings.  Nancy met adversity with grace and determination to persevere.  And she inspired others to do the same.   I miss her. 

Phyllis Rutter Ellickson, 18409 Wakecrest Drive, Malibu, CA

05/17/13 06:27 PM #5    

Elizabeth Tacy (Kubick)

One of my ongoing MHC friends from the beginning, Nancy--with then-roommate Pat Farley Hunt, hosted a weekend gab fest during our junior year sojourn in Pearsons.  It was winter, we were all juniors and graduation, followed by real life, seemed very far away.  Pat Farley (to be Hunt), Peggy Ferry (to be Houston) and several others whose faces have slipped from my memory's file were there.  Several of us, as English majors, were taking Chaucer that year; so when the topic of who we might be likely to marry came up, those of us who were not yet "in a relationship" were trying to imagine who that might be.....

Nancy, when it was my turn in the spotlight, lolled back on her dorm bed and started laughing: "The Clerke", she said, with that twinkling grin that she so often wore.  I asked what she meant, and she said "It's Chaucer's Clerke; that's who you are going to marry. "  (As many of you will remember, the Clerke is threadbare, penniless, has his pockets full of books, rides a skinny old horse, and reads as the pilgrims make their way along the road telling stories.)  "Gladly woulde he lerne, and gladly teche", Nancy added.

As she was so often, Nancy was spot on: I married him three years later, and Nancy was one of the first guests in our garret apartment a block from the White House.  We saw each other a number of times over the years, staying in fairly steady touch by occasional "real" letters and fairly faithful Christmas card updates; and we were roommates at one of the two previous reunions that we both attended.  I will deeply miss her breadth of mind, her amusement--and occasional amazement--at human foibles, and her fairly wondrous intelligence that could even discern, in my case, the future.

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