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Raymond J. D. Reeves
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470 Massachusetts Avenue
PO Box 882
Acton, MA 01720
Phone: 978-263-5333
Fax: 978-263-8193
Nancy Clark-Chiarelli

Nancy Clark-Chiarelli

Monday, July 15th, 2019
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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

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:

The Nature Conservancy:

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund:
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, July 21st, 2019 | 1:00pm - 5:00pm
    Sunday, July 21st, 2019 1:00pm - 5:00pm
    Acton Funeral Home
    470 Massachusetts Avenue
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, July 22nd, 2019 | 11:00am
    Monday, July 22nd, 2019 11:00am
    Acton Funeral Home
    470 Massachusetts Avenue
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Deacon Gregory Burch


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Private Condolence

Nathalie Louge

Posted at 08:54am
I had the privilege of working with Nancy at EDC. She took me under her wing and sought to teach me about teaching children to read. She was generous with her time and frequently made me laugh. Her memory and legacy will live on for years to come through those she's touched in her work thanks to her gregarious and dedicated spirit. You are so missed, Nancy.

Leigh Peake

Posted at 08:35pm
My favorite memories of Nancy from our days together at EDC are trading thoughts on best children's books. Every year as new ones came out we'd compare notes and almost certain boost sales of one another's picks immediately after the conversation. I am so sad at this news, but so grateful for time spent together and to have known someone with such devotion to increasing literacy around the world.

Chantal Uwiragiye

Posted at 10:24am
I had a very great opportunity to have Nancy as a trainer on literacy in Rwanda. I learned a lot from her and I am really thankful of her contribution in creation a generation of literacy experts in my country. The seeds she planted in us have grown up and are being expended in the Rwandan teachers and also in teachers from other countries. May her soul rest in peace!

Norma Evans

Posted at 01:40pm
I had the pleasure of working with Nancy in Rwanda and following her work in Pakistan and Nigeria. She was an amazing teacher and researcher, able to present new concepts in an engaging but thorough manner. The preservice course she developed for Pakistan remains, for me, the “gold standard” for preservice reading courses. She was also a delightful colleague to work with, quick to laugh and with a wonderful sense of humour. I will miss her.

Fwanshishak Daniel

Posted at 11:01am
You were a great teacher, a friend and a mentor. Thank you for the good times and the memories, the music and pictures with my family. You remained forever green in our memories.

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