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Obituary: Nancy Cronyn Knox

Nancy Cronyn Knox of Darien, CT passed away on Aug. 12, 2010 after a brief illness. She was 91. Nancy was born in Flushing, Queens on June 6, 1919, the daughter of Chita (Kraft) and Thoreau Cronyn. She grew up in Plandome and attended Manhasset public schools. She attended Mt. Holyoke College and took classes at the New York School of Interior Design. During WWII, she worked for the Maxon Company in New York City, making hand tools in a “Rosie the Riveter” role.

Nancy married Cornelius V.S. Knox, Jr. on May 15, 1943 at the family home in Plandome, NY. They went to Fort Bragg prior to Cornelius’ tour of duty overseas. After he left for the war in Europe, Nancy returned to Long Island to live with her mother and raise Wendy, their first child.

Once Cornelius returned home, subsequent moves occurred in rhythm with their growing family, all of which Nancy handled with grace and good organization. They moved first to Princeton, NJ, where Cornelius completed his college degree, and where their daughter Holly was born. Next came Levittown, NY, and the arrival of their son Scott, followed by a few years in South Salem before Cornelius’ business sent the family to Birmingham, Michigan, where daughter Nancy was born. Four years later, Cornelius’ job took him back to New York City and the family resettled in Darien, where they lived for nearly 50 years.

Once her children were older, Nancy completed her BA degree at Norwalk Community College, where she studied things she loved and was curious about: art history, anthropology and language. She worked as a real estate agent for several years.

When Cornelius retired, they traveled, visiting England, France, Italy and Eastern Europe. They frequently visited family. In 2007, they sold their house and moved into Atria Darien, where Nancy found new and old friends.

Nancy was passionate about many things—good food, good design, words and language. She loved to read, play Scrabble and do crossword puzzles. She worked on the daily NYT crossword puzzle right up until her last days. She was a gifted writer; at Atria she wrote a monthly newsletter column—“Getting to Know You,” profiling a different resident each month.

She was a keen observer of nature and delighted in the antics of squirrels and birds, and in the beauty of wildflowers and gardens. She loved the rural New England landscape she had come to know as a summer camper. She loved to ski, swim and sail—especially sailing on Long Island Sound on the Nancy Belle. Beach walking was one of her favorite activities; she loved to collect shells and “beach glass.”

An avid urban people-watcher, she loved New York’s cultural scene, especially its museums. She had a special love for California, and was especially proud of her family roots there. She made many trips to visit her children and grandchildren living there over the years.

Her family was the core of Nancy’s life. She was the matriarch, presiding over many a family dinner at the family’s Vermont house, or at home in Darien, especially for holiday meals. She loved to research genealogy and to solve puzzles about family ancestors.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Richard Rosenthal Hospice Residence for their wonderful and compassionate care of Nancy and her family in her final days.

Nancy is survived by her husband of 67 years, Cornelius V.S. Knox of Darien, and her four children: Wendy Knox Bulkowski and her husband John of Newark, DE; Holly Knox and her husband Bruce Adkins of Charlotte, NC, Scott Knox of Franconia, NH and Nancy Knox and her husband Thomas Porter of Burlington, VT. Survivors also include six grandchildren: Brian Bulkowski, Julia Bulkowski, Jennifer Knox Hastings, Wyatt Knox, David Porter and Ian Porter, and a nephew, John Parrott of Dousman, WI. Nancy was predeceased by her sister, Polly Cronyn Parrott and her brother, Theodore “Ted” Cronyn.

A celebration of Nancy’s life will take place on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Darien, 14 Brookside Road.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Nancy’s name to either Person-to-Person, 1864 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820 or to the Richard Rosenthal Hospice Residence, 100 Shelburne Rd, Stamford, CT 06902.