Nancy Howes Pierce, a longtime school administrator and teacher of Derry, NH, died Friday, January 14, 2022, at her home after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 76.
Born on March 27, 1945, in Hyannis, MA, she was the daughter of Harold D. and Dorothy (Canning) Howes of Dennis, MA. She graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in 1963, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Bridgewater (MA) State College in 1967 and a master’s in education for school administration from Rivier College in Nashua, NH, in 1981.
Nancy retired in 2007, having worked for eight years as assistant principal of Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School in Manchester, NH. She also led the English Department for 14 years at Windham (NH) Middle School, where she taught English and French. Before that, she was the chairman of the English and Reading departments and taught English, reading and social studies at Hudson (NH) Memorial School and Alvirne High School from 1969-1985. She also taught summer school English at Pinkerton Academy in Derry and started her teaching career at Hanover (MA) High School in 1967.
She was a three-time finalist for the NHASP Assistant Principal of the Year award for the state of New Hampshire and received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement. Among her numerous leadership positions, she served as president of the Windham Education Association, secretary of the Manchester Association of Principals, and was the chairperson of the Career Education and Communications committees and the school to careers coordinator for the Windham School District.
Nancy was deeply involved in community service and volunteer work. She served in several capacities for the Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, VFW Post 1617 of Derry, Derry Police Department Senior Advisory Board, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Rivier College Alumni Association, and was an election official for the Town of Derry.
She loved animals and provided a forever home to more than 30 pets, many of which were old, sick or unwanted. She was known to see a distressed or emaciated stray on the side of a road or at a gas station and immediately spring into action to find a veterinarian at her own expense, and a good home after networking with local organizations. She was a voracious reader who loved historical novels and biographies, a dedicated daily reader of local newspapers and a plethora of periodicals, and did crossword puzzles every day. She loved traveling, sailing, music, and was passionate about her community, her country and public service. She believed you never stopped learning, and she knew in her heart that education could change everyone’s life for the better.
Nancy was the beloved wife of Rodgers E. Pierce of Derry and is also survived by her sons, David E. Pierce and his wife, Dana, of Nashua and Eric R. Pierce of York County, PA; grandchildren Andrew, Ryan, Michael, Emma and Elizabeth; her brother, David L. Howes of East Dennis, MA; her sisters-in-law Judith (Pierce) Livingstone of East Dennis, MA, and Carol (Pierce) Lindop and her husband Jim of Cornwall, England; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents.
Visiting hours will be held Tuesday, January 18, from 4-7 p.m. in the Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium, 15 Birch St., Derry with cremation to follow. Due to the current COVID-19 conditions, masks are required for the calling hours. A memorial service and celebration of life will be planned for the spring, with burial to follow at the Forest Hill Cemetery in E. Derry.
In lieu of flowers, Nancy wished that donations be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or to your local humane society.