This summer our Crow Canyon family lost our beloved former Board Chair, Nancy Clark Reynolds, 94, when she passed away on May 23rd, 2022, in Santa Fe. Since then, many high-profile tributes to Nancy have been published that remind us how lucky our little organization was to have the guidance, love, and support of such an extraordinary human.
Nancy Reynolds Obituary (1927 – 2022) – Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe New Mexican (legacy.com)
Nancy Clark Reynolds, a Player in Reagan’s Washington, Dies at 94 – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
A celebration of Nancy’s life will be held in Santa Fe on September 28th, 2022. For more information, please contact Dottie Peacock at [email protected].
Of course, Nancy would never for a moment have considered us “low-profile” or in any way undeserving of her labors on our behalf. Her humility was utterly natural, taking the form of enthusiastic gratitude for the interesting people and experiences in her life. She first encountered us through a shared love of and respect for American Indian artists at a fundraiser in 1991. It was clear that she generated her own magical atmosphere that captivated anyone fortunate enough get close to her. With Nancy as an advocate, the possibilities were limitless. When Nancy agreed to serve as the Chair of the Crow Canyon Board of Trustees in 1998, we were forever changed for the better. The years immediately prior to her tenure as Chair were challenging for our organization. We were grappling with life after our first decade of existence, trying to create financial and leadership stability.
Nancy’s innate positive energy, talent, wisdom and outsized skills and knowledge transformed Crow Canyon. It’s difficult to imagine what we would be like today without the seeds she scattered in every nook and cranny of our world. Sharing freely her experience, she elevated our sophistication and savvy, attracting diverse trustees from different walks of life to our board. Raising $11 million in the campaign she launched added substantially to the endowment that continues to fund our mission today. Our campus was 70 acres in size when Nancy assumed leadership. Recognizing the critical importance of a protected natural outdoor landscape to our mission, she drew on her abilities and relationships to help us expand our continuous space to 170 acres. On our enlarged campus she built a new experiential outdoor classroom called the Pueblo Learning Center, which continues to be a key resource for impactful, experiential learning. She successfully tackled and completed many capital improvements and deferred maintenance projects that would have been easy for a different kind of leader to overlook.
Many of our Crow Canyon family members probably remember Nancy best as our most adventurous, dynamic, and fearless traveler. She was an assiduous supporter and cheerleader of our Cultural Explorations programs. Should we have had a need to fill any open spots on our trips, letting it be known that Nancy would be going was sufficient advertising to create a rush on the program.
One of the last events we held indoors at our campus before the pandemic hit was an awards reception for Nancy. She and her longtime companion, Bob Kemble, traveled with friends to Cortez so that we could present her with the 2019 Honor Award in appreciation of her leadership as Board Chair and 27 years of friendship and support for Crow Canyon. We also announced that one of her dearest friends, Ken Cole, had initiated a fund in her honor with a significant inaugural gift to Crow Canyon. It was a wonderful event, filled with stories, hugs, and tears. I had no idea then of the importance of the timing of the event – that the ability to hug and kiss Nancy and share food and drink was about to be severely constrained. Nancy’s magic undoubtedly played a role.
A couple of weeks after the event, I spoke on the phone with Nancy about our plans to use her fund. We discussed new programs about diverse Indigenous practices, histories, and languages to educate students about the value of the Native cultures that persevere today. Nancy was thrilled to have her fund support those efforts, as she was a tireless supporter of Indigenous communities, people, and friends.
We will always remember all you have done for us, Madame Chair. Thank you for the magic you left behind.
Contributions can be made to the “Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Fund in Honor of Nancy Clark Reynolds,” 23390 Road K, Cortez, CO 81321, www.crowcanyon.org.