Marblehead — Nancy Atwood Stiles, daughter of Helen Knight Atwood and Byron Trafton Atwood, passed away peacefully early in the morning, Saturday, March 23, after a valiant battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family and her devoted husband of 64 years, William Stiles.
Mrs. Stiles was born and raised in Salem and Boxford, MA. She attended the Brimmer and May school and graduated from Smith College in 1948. She married her husband William later that same year and then moved to Silver Spring, MD., where she taught at the Washington Cathedral School. They lived in Silver Spring for 2 years before moving back to Marblehead where they have lived ever since. Mrs. Stiles loved traveling with her husband and dear Marblehead friends. She was a lifelong member of the Salem Sewing Circle and an active community volunteer at Peabody Essex Museum and The House of the Seven Gables where she was the first woman to become President of the Board. She also served on the board of trustees at the Riverview School, in Sandwich, MA, the Pingree School, in South Hamilton, MA, and Anchor to Windward, a local nonprofit organization which the Stileses founded together to support learning disabled adults.
Her grandchildren knew Mrs. Stiles as "Dede" and speak of her as jubilant and a loving force that has guided and supported their every endeavor. She was a tireless sports fan and advocate for them, attending plays, music performances, lacrosse and field hockey games, rowing races, and many many birthday parties for them through the years. She loved her home and the town where she lived, and she frequently was heard commenting on her extraordinary neighbors and their kindness to her and her family during her illness. When she was not in Marblehead, in her garden, on her family's sailboat, Windswept, in Marblehead Harbor, she was in Southport, Maine, at her family's cottage where she spent the summers of her life. Mrs. Stiles leaves her husband, William, and their four daughters, Julie, Katherine, Susan and Sarah, her son-in-law Michael, and her grandchildren, Hannah and her husband Noah, William and his wife Kristin, Maya and her husband Alan, Hayley and Sumner, all of whom cherished her. She was predeceased by her grandson William Shippen Bright. Along with her siblings Byron, Jane, and Betsy and their spouses, she leaves several nieces and nephews and many, many friends.