Life Story for Nancy Clark-Chiarelli
Nancy Clark-Chiarelli, 65, of Acton passed away unexpectedly on Monday, July 15, 2019. She was the loving wife of James Chiarelli Sr., mother and mother-in-law of their children James Jr. and his wife Jamie Wood-Chiarelli, Margaret and her husband Mitchell Fletcher and Elizabeth and her husband Joseph Gazarek. She was the grandmother of Josephine, Albert, Joseph Gazarek and Valen Fletcher and sister of Maureen Fitzgerald, Patricia Comjean, Susan Healy, and John Clark.
The daughter of Margaret (Fitzpatrick) and Henry Clark, Nancy and her siblings grew up in Bedford, MA. She was dedicated to education, either as a student or teacher her entire life. After teaching in the Lincoln Public Schools, Nancy earned her master’s degree and doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She joined Waltham-based Education Development Center (EDC) in 1997 and rose to the position of Principal Research Scientist. Nancy spent the next twenty-two years researching and teaching the theory and practice of early childhood education, and designing and implementing multi-scale literacy programs in domestic settings and in developing nations, including Nigeria, South Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia, Pakistan, and the Philippines. She also found the time to teach occasionally in the graduate education programs at Simmons College in Boston and at Wheelock College's programs in Boston and in Singapore.
Nancy’s passion for literacy was endowed with an intrepid sense of adventure. She described the baboons in Nigeria as considerate intruders after they would sneak into her lodgings, lick clean, and neatly stack her plates. Being on lockdown in her hotel in Pakistan during a 2012 riot at the U.S. embassy next door or witnessing a typhoon from her 55th floor apartment in the Philippines were standard work war stories. In an education career that spanned more than forty years, her commitment to giving teachers and students life-changing opportunities never wavered.
At home, Nancy enjoyed hosting gatherings with lots of family and food, old favorites served up alongside her latest discoveries. Her precise cross-stitches hang framed on the walls of her family home amidst the paintings and textiles she collected in her travels. In the last six years, Nancy loved moonlighting as a grandmother, baking and playing/hanging out with her grandkids at the water table. She is sorely missed by her family and will be remembered always for her curiosity, ambition, intellect, generosity, and her love of Van Morrison’s music, novels and movies involving submarines, and bunnies.
Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours on Sunday July 21st, 2019 from 1:00-5:00 P.M. at the Acton Funeral Home, 470 Massachusetts Ave (Rte 111) Acton. The funeral service will be held Monday July 22nd at 11:00 A.M. at the funeral home. Interment is private at a later date. Memorial page actonfuneralhome.com
Nancy loved flowers and they would be much appreciated. However, she had several charities close to her heart as well. Donations may be made in her name to:
Children’s Literacy Initiative: https://cli.org
The Nature Conservancy:
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund: