Nancy S. (DerGiragossian) Craig of Northampton, and a longtime resident of Amherst, died Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, after a short illness at CareOne of Northampton with her daughter by her side and Frank Sinatra playing in the background.
Born Jan. 27, 1937, in Northampton, she was the daughter of the late Archie and Christine (Bodourian) DerGiragossian.
Nancy was a 1954 graduate of Northampton High School and also attended Northampton School for Girls, Holyoke Junior College and the University of Massachusetts.
She was a 20 year employee of UMass, lastly with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, retiring in 2007. Before that, she held a variety of administrative positions in and around Northampton, and had also worked in 1960s New York City for the Public Broadcasting System and the Young and Rubicam Advertising Agency.
Nancy was someone who drew people to her because of her empathetic nature and her keen desire to understand the human condition. Everywhere she went, whether it was her favorite Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or just on Main Street, she kindled interesting conversations and friendships with long-lost and new friends. She was known amongst family and friends for her creativity. A lifelong artist, she painted and sketched cityscapes and landscapes of Northampton and Amherst, memorializing sites such as St. Mary’s Church, Main Street, Northampton, the apple orchards of Atkins Farms, and the waterfall at Paradise Pond. One of her pen and ink drawings of pine trees was used in 1980 by the then Simon’s Rock Early College of Great Barrington, as its official holiday card. Additionally, Nancy wrote a column that reviewed and promoted various local businesses, “Consumer Carousel,” for her family’s 1970s regional magazine, Hampshire County Illustrated. She also used her creativity and people skills to assist her former husband, Paul Craig, in his bid for Mayor of Northampton in 1973.
Aside from her love of art, Nancy was a free spirit who adored the beach. Annual childhood family summer vacations in Narragansett, Rhode Island, began this love, and in later years she was fortunate to spend many holidays in Jamaica. A jazz lover, she combined this with her love of an ocean setting by attending the Newport Jazz Festival when she could. In 2007, she explored the beaches of Sydney, Australia, visiting her daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, and snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef.
She is survived by her daughter Jennifer Craig Fletcher and son-in-law Thomas Fletcher of Sydney, Australia; four grandsons, William, Benjamin, Thomas and Theodore, also of Sydney; her sister Dawn C. Baker of Northampton; her brother William V. Derian of Deerfield Beach, Florida; her niece Christine D. Baker, M.D., of Northampton; her great-nephew Jay C. Anderson of Northampton; her former husband Paul M. Craig of Northampton; and several adored nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews of Maryland, Virginia and Florida.