Remembering Nancy Coley

Nancy Coley — an active Westporter and (among other things) the first female president of the Westport Horticultural Society — died on February 26 in Branford. She was 89 years old, and had battled pneumonia and other complications.

Born in Norwalk to James E. Coley II and Kathleen Coley, she graduated from Staples High School, then earned a BS degree from the New York School of Fine Arts.

Nancy had a fulfilling career as a technical illustrator with Sikorsky Aircraft and Norden Systems, where she served as director of technical art.

Nancy was a longtime member of Westport VFW Post 399 Auxiliary, including senior vice president from 2001 to 2016. She created memorable Memorial Day parade floats.

Besides her love of gardening and Horticultural Society activities, she was involved in Sportsmen of Westport and was a member of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Nancy loved sailing, cruising and fishing on Long Island Sound with friends and family, and is remembered as an excellent artist, social activity coordinator, boater and homemaker.

She is survived by her brother James; nephews Andrew, Thomas (Bonnie), Michael (Heather) and Christopher, and their children.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Nancy’s name  can be made to Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 75 Church Lane, Westport, CT 06880, or Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06413,

3 responses to “Remembering Nancy Coley

  1. Jack Backiel

    Dan, Nice tribute to Nancy Coley. My mother, who would have been 97, actually worked for Sikorsky around 1942 as a drafts person. She was the only female in a room with all men, so Sikorsky put her desk next to his door so he could keep an eye on her and make sure no one bothered her. My mother was 50% Russian and he favored hiring Russians back then.

  2. I was in Nancy’s class at Bedford Elementary in 1936and with her in 1949 for our graduation from Staples. Nancy was, as I remember, a kind and caring person always.
    My sincere condolences to Nancy’s family.

    Fred Hyman

  3. Nancy was a good friend to our family. Beneath the seemingly crusty skin of an old-time Connecticut Yankee was a warm heart, a love for her friends, and a wicked sense of humour. Each year she quietly showed her artistic talent to her friends, drawing her own Christmas cards whimsically offering the joys of the season. Her dedication to float construction with the VFW Auxiliary was legendary, and over the years she designed and built some of the most remarkable floats in Westport’s Memorial Day parade, with help from anyone she could dragoon into the work. And it was hard to say no to Nancy, so our household pitched in when asked. She will be greatly missed.