WEST CHESTER, PA. 

Nancy B. Schmitt


Nancy B. (Blackstone) Schmitt, 73, died peacefully on Nov. 22, 2013, at Neighborhood Hospice in West Chester, Pa., of lupus-related renal failure.

Born in Madison, Nancy was the oldest child of the late Herbert Lee and Jessie Anne Baird Blackstone. A 1958 graduate of Waukesha (South) High School, she attended Bucknell and Temple universities, and Immaculata College.

Nancy was the widow of Gregory M. Schmitt, who died in 1985. She was also predeceased by her brother, James Everett Blackstone, and her daughter, Deanna Thompson.

Nancy was a reporter and photographer for the Suburban Advertiser newspaper from 1975 to 1984. She handled municipal and school district news assignments as well as feature stories, obituaries, wedding and birth announcements, and theatre reviews. In addition to taking photos to accompany stories, she was a high school sports photographer for the newspaper. From 1983 to 1986, she produced articles, photos, and ads for a bimonthly newsletter for the Malvern Business and Professional Association.

From 1988 to 1993, Nancy was the information and community relations specialist for Great Valley School District.

She wrote, photographed, supervised production of, and distributed information about the district through press releases, annual calendars, handbooks, and a community newsletter. She won several state and national awards during her tenure. Although she held other various jobs, a favorite was as a cashier and waitress at The Rotisserie from 1999 to 2002.

In the community, she served on the Malvern Park and Recreation Board in the late 1970s; was a member, treasurer, and president of the Great Valley Board of School Directors 1979 to 1988; a founding member and chairperson of the Malvern Historical Commission 1983 to 1992; served the East Whiteland Township Volunteer Fire Association from 1992 to 2002 as an auxiliary member and as the association historian, treasurer, vice president, and president; member of the West Whiteland Township Historical Commission from 2004 to 2007; a judge for the Barley Sheaf Players for several seasons including many one-act play festivals; lifetime member of the Paoli Memorial Association; consultant to the Malvern Historical Commission from 2005 until her death; and a member of the Wordwrights writers’ group in Exton from 2004 also until her death.

As a local historian, she was the author of the “Malvern Fire Company Centennial History (1888-1988)”, “East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Company 45th Anniversary History (1950-1995)”, “A Century in Malvern (1889-1989)”, “Malvern Items: 1870-2006”; and the book she called her legacy, “Malvern Treasures: In the Company of Malvern Borough Women 1835-2011.” She also was a contributor of journal entries and poetry to the out-of-print national anthology “When a Lifemate Dies” (Fairview Press).

Nancy is survived by her daughters Kelly Maude Schmitt, of Exton, Pa., and Amanda Thompson, of Mountville, Pa.

She is also survived by daughter Linda Lee Thompson and family, stepdaughter Amy Schmitt Hosier (Floyd) and family, and stepson Geoffrey B. Schmitt (Lisa) and family.

Additional survivors include her sisters Barbara Blackstone of Portland, Ore., and Anne Blackstone of Oakland, Calif.; brothers William Baird Blackstone (Teresa) of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Robert Blackstone (Randee) of Seattle, Wash.; sister-in-law Deb Pierson Blackstone of Rhinelander, and brother- and sister-in-law Phillip and Marianne Schmitt of Malvern, Pa.

Included are Nancy’s numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and their families.

Nancy’s spirits were raised by amusing cartoons on health issues, reading good books, writing poetry and prose, and enjoying Broadway musicals and jazz and folk music. A lifelong fan of many sports including golf and the Green Bay Packers, the Brandywine Roller Girls WFTDA league knew her as Malvern Maven.

Always passionate about doing things in her own fashion, Nancy authored this obituary three years prior to her death.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Dec. 14, 2013, at Marsh Creek Community Church on 101 Crump Road in Exton, Pa.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to AAKP’s Renalife Magazine (2701 N. Rocky Point Drive, Suite 150, Tampa, FL 33607), the Malvern Fire Company (424 E. King St., Malvern, PA 19355), and The Barley Sheaf Players (810 N. Whitford Road, Lionville, PA 19353).