In 2009, we lost my mother Nancy Chinn to leukemia (AML). This year a team of 50 plus across the country plan to participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend on December 7th and fundraise $100K for the kids of St. Jude. Join us or donate to one of the team members listed!
Join our team and help us reach our $100K fundraising goal for the kids and families of St. Jude in memory of Nancy.
Nancy Louise Chinn
January 5, 1950 – May 17, 2009
Nancy Chinn, 59, wife, mother, daughter, sister and Baylor professor of American literature, died early on Sunday morning, May 17, 2009, in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Her memorial service was on Saturday, May 23, at Lake Shore Baptist Church.
Nancy fought a year-long battle with leukemia, and at the end, death came as a friend. Her son, Nathaniel, who graduated from Trinity University on Saturday morning, was with her on Sunday morning. While this illness kept her from a job she loved, she was supported through these often grueling months by a gathering of friends, family, and colleagues she had collected over a lifetime, who hoped and prayed for her recovery and now mourn her passing. She leaves a legacy in the lives of the Baylor students, graduate and undergraduate, she taught for over twenty-seven years in the English Department.
Nancy was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia to James T. and Louise Hawkins Chinn, the second of four daughters. She graduated from the Lafayette Elementary and James Monroe High schools in Fredericksburg, and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Radford University. She taught high school Latin in Tazewell, Virginia, before entering Florida State University to complete a doctorate in Modern American Literature in 1982. She wrote her dissertation on the use of music in William Styron’s novel, Sophie’s Choice, but her subsequent research and teaching led her to the works of a number of American women writers, including Zora Neale Hurston and, most especially, Willa Cather. Nancy joined the Baylor faculty in the fall of 1982 as a lecturer, and rose to an associate professorship, eventually serving as her department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. She saw the annual Beall Poetry Festival, which she directed, as a special opportunity to introduce the community to contemporary American poets and verse. She married a fellow professor, David Longfellow of the History Dept., on Bastille Day, 1984 and their son, Nathaniel (Longfellow) was born in July 1987.
Nancy loved to travel at home and overseas, and spent happy months with her family and colleagues in England and France, but she was never more content than when she could sit and read in the family cabin on Lake Cathance, Maine, listening to the water lapping on the rocks, the wind rustling through the birch trees, and the occasional cry of a loon on the lake.
Elysium is as far as to
The very nearest Room
If in that Room a Friend await
Felicity or Doom–
What fortitude the Soul contains,
That it can so endure
The accent of a coming Foot–
The opening of a Door–
She is survived by her husband, David; and son, Nathaniel; as well as her parents and sisters, Margaret (Peggy) Hartsell of New Bern, NC, Susan Busch of Richmond, VA and Annette Schaul of King George, VA; as well as their husbands and children.
The family thanks Dr. Brian Berryman and the entire staff at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit for the manifold kindnesses and care they showed Nancy during her treatment.