Obituaries: Ann 'Nancy' Hunter Keefe and Susan Ann Keefe, mother and daughter, former Darien residents
Ann (Nancy) Hunter Keefe, and her daughter Susan Ann Keefe, separated in time and space but together in spirit, were called by the Lord in their sleep to join husband and father Roger, and son and brother Michael. They leave Nancy’s sister Devereux Hunter Andrews; Robin, and Robert, Tory and Ann Lynch; Victoria, and Douglas and August Larson; Matthew, and Gretchen, Hilary, Brittany, Andrew and Peter Keefe; Christopher, and Anne, Dominique and Alexander Keefe; and nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends who cherish Nancy’s and Su’s wisdom, steadfast encouragement, and unselfish love.
Susan died on Aug. 7 in Norwalk. Nancy died on Aug. 9 in North Carolina.
Nancy Hunter Keefe
Nancy was born Feb. 18, 1923 to Charles Welsh Hunter and Georgina Morrill Hunter, who raised Nancy and her sister Devie in Philadelphia. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Nancy migrated to New York City where she worked in the publishing business and met her lifelong friend Aurelia (Thistle) Brown, and met and married Roger Manton Keefe, just returned from the European theater of World War II and in the banking business in Manhattan before heading the Connecticut Bank & Trust Company in Connecticut. Nancy and Roger built a house in Norwalk moved in during the ‘54 hurricane and raised six children. They welcomed their children’s friends from schools and from adventures around the world, no matter how many, nor with how little notice. August vacations on the mountains and islands surrounding Northeast harbor, at her parents’ summer house, were a special delight for Nancy.
In addition to countless glees and songs and catches for friends and family, Nancy also published two books of spiritual poetry: “Inside Out” and “Steps”. She was an esteemed volunteer at the Norwalk Hospital and was instrumental in creating and sustaining Norwalk’s Soup Kitchen. In addition to having served on many boards and councils, Nancy cherished the spirituality of St. Joseph’s church, where she was a lay minister. Nancy was also a Dame of Malta and traveled often to Lourdes attending to those in need. Nancy is remembered in her community and by her many friends and family for her goodness, her spirituality, her kindness, generosity, and never-ceasing hospitality.
Susan Ann Keefe
Susan was born in 1954, graduated from the Thomas School in Norwalk, Connecticut. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, her doctorate in medieval studies from the University of Toronto in 1981 where she met her lifelong mentor, Roger Reynolds. Before becoming a professor of divinity at Duke University Divinity School in 1988, she taught at Harvard University, Davidson College, and the California Institute of Technology. She was a noted church historian, whose work focused on Carolingian texts on baptism and the creeds, especially as they related to the instruction of the clergy. She traveled extensively throughout Europe, visiting remote libraries, churches, and monasteries to study original manuscripts. She re-discovered, catalogued and translated ancient Latin and Greek documents hitherto unknown to modern scholars.
Prime among other works, she published an effort of enormous scholarship: her book, “Water and the Word—Baptism and the Instruction of the Clergy in the Carolingian Empire: A Study of Texts and Manuscripts,” was recognized for its comprehensive study of previously unpublished manuscript materials. The Journal for Ecclesiastical History called the book “an essential tool” for the study of Carolingian manuscripts. The Medieval Review described “Water and the Word” as a book that “should be read by all liturgists, theologians and historians whose interests touch in the greatest intellectual and spiritual revival of the early Middle Ages.”
At the time of her death, Susan had just completed work on a new book entitled “Explanationes symboli aeui Carolini,” a critical edition of unpublished Carolingian commentaries on the creed. Her teaching interests included Christian writers of the fourth through ninth centuries, as well as medieval spirituality and the writings of medieval women mystics.
During her 24-year tenure at Duke, Su took real delight in helping ministers and ministers-to-be understand the central role of Christianity in the development of justice in society. Her door was always open to those seeking counsel and scholarly conversation. She is remembered by colleagues and students as a spirit of indomitable energy, selfless cheerfulness and extraordinary dedication.
A Mass in celebration of their lives was held on Aug. 12 at St, Joseph’s Church, South Norwalk.
A memorial service for Susan will be held on Friday, Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. at Goodson Chapel in Durham, N.C.
Memorial donations may be directed to Manna House Soup Kitchen, 4 Merritt St, Norwalk, CT 06854.
Magner Funeral Home handled the arrangements.