Monday, February 10, 2020

Nancy Ingram Nooter

I met Nooter for coffee while we were in Washington DC. His mom passed away last week.

Nancy Ingram Nooter, 92, noted African and Native American art scholar, collector, teacher and artist, died peacefully at her home in Washington on February 4, 2020 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.

She and her husband of 72 years, Robert H. Nooter, have been longtime supporters of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and many of their works of art are on display in both museums. She conducted field research in Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania on the art of the Swahili Coast, prehistoric rock art, silver jewelry and the carved doors of Zanzibar.

She co-authored, with Warren Robbins, “African Art in American Collections” in 1989, one of the most comprehensive books on the subject. At the National Museum of African Art she curated exhibitions and wrote and edited catalogues and display captions, organized the first docent program and established the Summer Institute for young African art scholars and instructors. She also taught classes on African art at American and Georgetown Universities and at the Smithsonian Institution.

Nancy was also an artist in her own right. She studied under Gene Davis in Washington and Fred Conway in St. Louis, Missouri. Her works have been exhibited at the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, the Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock, Ark. and many are owned by collectors in the U.S., Europe, West Africa and South America.

Born as Nancy Lane Ingram in Jeffersonville, Indiana on November 30, 1927, she was one of three children of Marion Lane and William Austin “Navy Bill” Ingram, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973 for his accomplishments as a football player and head coach at the US Naval Academy and three other universities. She grew up in Los Gatos, California and attended UC Berkeley where she met Robert H. Nooter. They married in 1947 and moved to St. Louis, Missouri and later lived in Uruguay, Liberia, Tanzania and Washington, DC during her husband’s career with the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank.

She received her BA and MA from George Washington University in cultural anthropology. She was a Member of the Board of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, a Council Member of the Society of Women Geographers, and a member of the Cosmos Club. She is survived by her husband, Robert H. Nooter and four children and their spouses, Thomas H. Nooter (Alice Schlesinger) of New York City, Anne N. Ruch (Scott) of Kansas City, Missouri, William W. Nooter (Elissa Free) of Washington, D.C. and Robert I. Nooter (Barbara) of Potomac, Maryland, as well as son-in-law, Dr. Allen Roberts of Los Angeles, California, husband of Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts who died in 2018. She is also survived by twelve grand-children and nine great-grand-children.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that gifts may be made in her name to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

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