March 30, 1938 – January 21, 2013
After a lifetime of devotion to family, education and friends, Nancy Joan Napoli died peacefully on January 21, 2013 following a brief illness. She was 74 years old.
She was born Nancy Joan Blanchard on March 30, 1938 in Sacramento, California to Adrien and Alice Blanchard. A fourth-generation native Californian, she graduated from McClatchy High School in Sacramento and the University of California at Berkeley. At Cal, she was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and a proud Golden Bear during the Joe Kapp years. While there, she met and fell in love with her future husband, Robert “Bob” Napoli, an engineering student who was working as a “hasher” in the sorority house. In 1959 they married and moved to Marin County, where she taught second grade for four years at Santa Margarita Elementary School in San Rafael.
In 1966 Bob and Nancy moved with their one year-old daughter Alison to Sunkist Lane in Los Altos. Their son Steve was born in 1968, and over the next many years Nancy filled her life with mothering, friends (the Friday Park Group), and countless hours of school volunteering. Once the kids were older, Nancy channeled her seemingly limitless energy into starting two different small businesses and also worked as a bookkeeper in a doctor’s office. However, she soon realized her true passion was teaching, and in the late 1990’s she renewed her credential and landed a job as a fifth grade teacher at Slater Elementary School in Mt. View, where she taught for over ten years. She loved teaching 5th graders, was passionate about the 5th grade curriculum and reveled in introducing her students to new ideas and experiences.
In 2002 Nancy retired from teaching to devote time to her newest passion – her grandchildren. Olivia, James and Sophie were the lucky recipients of time, love and attention from Grammy. Never one to sit around, Nancy also enjoyed attending her thrice-weekly Jackie Sorenson aerobic dance class (of which she was a 25+ year member), getting together with her college sorority sisters and high school friends, reading with her book group, visiting her friend Judy Bell on Maui and attending the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland with Julie Grantz, Starbucks coffee mornings with Jolly, Helen and Sue, and tutoring with Reading Partners. She also loved gardening, especially growing and sharing her tomatoes and roses.
Nancy is survived by her brother, Bob Blanchard (and wife Barbara), her children, Alison Napoli Leupold (and husband Rob) and Steve Napoli (and wife Lisa) and three grandchildren: Olivia, James and Sophie Leupold. She also leaves behind countless family and friends who will miss her generous spirit, sparkling eyes, and easy smile.
A Celebration of Nancy’s Life will be held on Friday, March 22 at 11:30AM at Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Avenue, Los Altos. To honor Nancy’s passion and commitment to experiential learning and outdoor education, the family requests that contributions in Nancy’s honor be made to YMCA Camp Jones Gulch, 11000 Pescadero Road, La Honda, CA 94020.