Nancy C. Pierce

Published: 1/10/2020 8:54:25 AM
Modified: 1/10/2020 8:53:46 AM

ETNA, NH — Nancy Crawford Pierce passed away on December 17, 2019 at 93 years old. Nancy lived in the Upper Valley since 1971 when she and her husband Reg became the innkeepers of Pierce’s Inn in Etna, NH. Nancy spent her last years living at Wheelock Terrace where she was cared for by a wonderful team of people. Nancy was a practicing Catholic her whole life and found peace attending weekly services at St. Denis in Hanover, NH.

Nancy grew up in White Plains, NY. She attended White Plains High School and graduated from The Knox School in Cooperstown, NY. As an avid dater in high school and college, Nancy was famous for having two dates in one day on a few occasions. Nancy didn’t take any of her suitors too seriously until she met Reg Pierce during her senior year at Smith College. Nancy graduated from Smith in 1948.

Nancy and Reg were married on February 26, 1949, and their first of many children arrived in December of the same year. They lived in a two-bedroom house in Cos Cob, CT until it was clear that their growing family would require more space. They soon added a wing to their new house on Maher Avenue to make enough room for their seven children, as well as the rotating collection of neighborhood kids Nancy welcomed into the mix. The only requirement for guests was that they had to help empty the dishwasher.

During their stint in Greenwich, Nancy served as a member of the Greenwich Junior League, helped run the annual Brunswick School Fashion Show, and remained intimately involved with the Indian Field Nursery School. She also played bridge and tennis regularly. Never one to enable her husband (or kids!), Nancy once told Reg, “If we are going to have all these kids, you need to help out.” Reg was proud to be teased at Compton Advertising for being the only guy who changed diapers. Nance and Reg were co-parenting long before it was a thing.

Throughout the 1960s, the older Pierce kids attended Ski School at Keene’s Lodge and Ashley House in Etna, NH. During the winter of 1970, Winston (#5) returned from ski camp to announce that the Ashley Family planned to sell the Inn and thought Reg and Nancy would be great innkeepers. Reg had been looking for a chance to leave Madison Avenue and spend more time with his family, but he wasn’t entirely sure they were equipped to be innkeepers. Nancy was bold and game for the challenge. After some consideration, they decided to make the leap. Coworkers, friends and relatives were discouraging and doubtful, but the couple dove in with gusto, even with four kids in college during their first year at Pierce’s Inn. Nancy took Reg’s desire to “spend more time with his kids” seriously and handed over a lot of the parenting duties to him.

Nancy and Reg approached innkeeping as they did parenting - as a team. Over the years, they settled into their specific duties. Reg took care of reservations, did the housekeeping and took care of the facilities while Nancy shopped, managed the kitchen, and handled the books. When anyone reported a clogged toilet or a leak in the roof, Nancy waved them off and told them that those situations were in Reg’s department.

In the later 1970s, Nancy took over all the cooking duties and found that she enjoyed working back in the kitchen while Reg chatted with the guests as “the front man.” She thought it was hilarious that Reg was praised for being an attentive host and his ability to prepare delicious food. Nancy and Reg benefited from their constant exposure to young people who were guests at the Inn or worked for them. Simply put, Nancy and Reg were interested in understanding the lives and experiences of all kinds of people, which is why they kept evolving even in their final years.

Nancy stayed socially active in the Upper Valley through her tennis groups, bridge games, the Five-College Book Sale team, and connecting with her many friends. Her biggest social delight was shopping at the Hanover Co-op. The blend of work and socializing appealed to her as a practical, efficient person. While shopping, Nancy would run into numerous people she knew, but her friendships with the staff members were some of the most lasting and meaningful. The friendly, interesting people who work at the Co-op brought joy and light to her days.

Weekly hair appointments at Otto and Otto in Greenwich and Hilde’s Salon in Hanover were joyful times for Nancy. Almost nothing would or could get in the way of her hair appointments; she relished every minute to unwind, relax and be away from her responsibilities as a mother and innkeeper.

Nancy calmly prepared meals for Pierce’s Inn groups of more than sixty people on a regular basis until she was 76 years old. When Nancy and Reg retired in 2002, they moved to the Chalet next door and handed Pierce’s Inn over to their youngest daughter Cindy and her husband Bruce. Determined to stay engaged, Nancy joined several bridge groups and continued to play tennis regularly. Though she no longer had to feed large groups, she was able to make occasional visits to the Hanover Co-op, soaking up the kindness the staff had shown her since 1971.

Nancy passed away surrounded by some of her children and several caregivers from Wheelock Terrace. Nancy is survived by seven children and their families: Reginald III and KayC Pierce (West Chester, PA), Crawford and Liv Pierce (Vail, CO), Polly Pierce (Saratoga, NY), MacGregor and Lynn Pierce (Freeport, ME), Winston Pierce (Loveland, CO), Sarah and Dru Beguelin (Concord, MA), Cindy Pierce and Bruce Lingelbach (Etna, NH) and her 20 surviving grandchildren: Schuyler (& Chris) Torney, Reginald (& Leona) Pierce IV, Travis Pierce, Max Pierce, Cory (& Liz) Clechenko, Jamie (& Rachel Morgan) Clechenko, Kelsey Clechenko, Stoddart (& Paige) Pierce, Molly (& Tom) Daniels, Erin Pierce (& Matt Vaughn), Brooks Goff, Raquel Delgado, Adelaide Beguelin, Eleanor Beguelin, Ranger Beguelin, Pierce Beguelin, Henry Beguelin, Zander Lingelbach-Pierce, Sadie Lingelbach-Pierce and Colter Lingelbach -Pierce and her 10 great-grandchildren. Nancy’s husband Reginald Pierce, two children (Angus and Rodney) and grandson, Zeke Pierce predeceased her.

A summer 2020 gathering to celebrate Nancy’s life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Upper Valley Haven Valley Haven, 713 Hartford Avenue, White River Junction, VT. 05001 or online:

To view an online memorial and or send a message of condolence to the family, please visit,

Arrangements are under the direction of the Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, NH.

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