Nancy Goessel remembered as graceful, generous patron of arts

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LENOX >> Nancy Goessel was remembered on Friday as generous, funny, classy and a baker of outstanding peach pies.

"She was one of the most elegant women in the Berkshires," said Kate Maguire, artistic director and CEO of the Berkshire Theater Group.

Goessel, 88, died in a car wreck in downtown Lenox on Wednesday in a vehicle driven by her husband, William, also 88. William Goessel remains in stable condition at Berkshire Medical Center.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Maguire said the couple, who spent their time between the Berkshires and Florida, were longtime patrons of the theater.

Nancy especially loved musicals and comedies, Maguire said.

"We're going to miss her," she said.

Maguire said the Goessels were one of the first couples she met through the Berkshire Theater Festival and were longtime donors who had been very generous with both their time and finances to many organizations in Berkshire County.

"You knew you were around a very classy lady," Maguire said.

Laurie Norton Moffatt, the director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, said the couple was an essential part of the development of the new museum.

Norton Moffatt said the couple's fundraising efforts and belief in the project helped it come to fruition.

"She carried herself with grace and generosity," Norton Moffatt said. "We're all so sad."

The Rev. Natalie Shiras, retired pastor of the Church on the Hill in Lenox, said Nancy had a deep love for the members of the congregation and for the church building itself.

"They are both pillars of the church," Shiras said of the couple. "They loved Church on the Hill; they loved the people."

Nancy's participation in the church extended to her participation in its annual craft fair, including baking peach pies for which Shiras shared a particular fondness.

"She had a wonderful way of telling stories," she said. "It was wonderful fun to be with her."

"She was giving of her time and talent and treasure," Shiras said.

William Reid, a close friend, said he and his wife, Janine, had dinner with the Goessels last week.

He said the Goessels were active members of the Lenox Club.

During Thursday evening's buffet, he said those gathered paused for a moment and raised their glasses to say goodbye to Nancy.

"We loved her," he said. "They are very wonderful people, and this is a terrible tragedy for all of us."

Janine Reid said Nancy loved Christmas and she would elaborately decorate their Lenox home prior to traveling to Florida, where they also had a home, so they could return for the holiday to a house already festooned for the occasion.

William Reid noted Nancy's dry wit and recalled having conversations with her that would go on for some time before realizing he was being gently teased by his friend.

Frank Newton, owner of the Summer White House Inn in Lenox, is a longtime friend who spoke to Nancy's generous spirit.

In addition to the other institutions she supported, Newton said, Nancy was especially appreciative of Hancock Shaker Village and the Lenox Library.

"The kindest person anyone could come across," he said. "She was loved."

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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