Floral 30
Official Obituary of

Ann "Nancy" (Gannett) Hurlbut

February 4, 1939 ~ March 6, 2024 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Ann Hurlbut Obituary

Ann Gannett Hurlbut (Nancy), 85, was a great friend, lifelong educator, scholar, creative spark and loving wife, mother and grandmother. Her radiant smile made all feel welcome and appreciated. She died peacefully on March 6, 2024 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

A resident of Cambridge Massachusetts, Nancy grew up on Mainstone Farm in Wayland, the daughter of Ann Cole and Thomas B. Gannett. She attended Meadowbrook School, Winsor School, Vassar College and Harvard Graduate School of Education. At Vassar she majored in drama and then married Bob to start their life together in Antigua, West Indies where he was stationed in the Navy. She soon found her first teaching job there as principal of Sunnyside Elementary and began a career in education that spanned decades. When they returned to the Boston area, Nancy worked in the library at Winsor School and then as librarian and English teacher at The Park School in Brookline. She brought audio visual materials and new media to the library and encouraged young people to read what interested them. She shared her love of music and singing with the students at monthly birthday celebrations when children could sing out their names accompanied by Nancy’s guitar. After Park, she taught at the Cambridge School of Weston, Noble and Greenough School and South Boston High School where she worked with students on writing and anthologies. 

Nancy was also a gifted actor and playwright. She performed with the Revels in Cambridge as a soloist and chorus singer and acted in numerous local theater productions. Her one-woman
play titled Surly Girl, was produced at Boston University Theater, Vassar College and The Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center. The show depicted home life during and after WWII when the pain of war impacted family relationships. She used her own experience to create art that she hoped would reach a broad audience and inspire healing.

Nancy believed that the journey, not the destination, mattered most. She loved traveling with family and friends and she loved the outdoors. She planted beautiful spaces in her yard and also created gardens by the Charles River for everyone to enjoy. Her sense of artistry took many forms that were both personal and public. She changed the scenery at home with colorful arrangements of books and art, and for friends she wrote lyrics to classic songs in their honor. She had a way with words. She also loved the Red Sox and listened to games on the radio. When they won the World Series, Nancy made sure all the grandchildren received special Red Sox t-shirts.

Nancy was an elected member of the Brookline Public Library Board of Trustees and served with many volunteer organizations in Cambridge, including The Cambridge Homes where she led play reading activities for the residents. She wrote and recorded radio stories about issues facing teens that were aired on American Public Radio, and in 2010 she was honored with the Cambridge YWCA Woman of Distinction Award.

She is survived by her husband Bob, of 64 years, her daughter Angie; sons, Rob and Sam; and their spouses, Andrew Nyhart, Amy Hurlbut, and Maria Blanco; and eight grandchildren, Byron,
Noah, Isabelle, Gracey, Lucy, Caleb, Susannah and Vivianne; also her sister Deborah Brooks and brother Peter Gannett. Her brothers, Tim Gannett and Ben Gannett, predeceased her.

The family would like to thank Barbara Flynn and all the loving caregivers who made Nancy’s final years so peaceful. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 8 at 11 am at Harvard
Memorial Church. Donations may be made in Nancy’s honor to The Park School Nancy Hurlbut Visiting Authors’ Fund, www.parkschool.org/give.

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Memorial Service
June 8, 2024

11:00 AM
Harvard Memorial Church
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