February 15, 1949 — February 17, 2022
Nancy Pinto-Orton, beloved wife of Brian Pinto, beloved mother of Claire, Alex (Camille Schmah) and Alma (James Weber) and adored grandmother of Linden, Hugh, Nyssa and Lina, went to heaven on Thursday February 17. She had experienced many illnesses over the past two years, including cancer, but was still cheerful and optimistic.
Nancy was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, to Clifford and Ruth Orton. She was the sister of Patsy (Ramon Johnson) and Cliff (Andrea Orton). She received an AB from Barnard College, New York, with a major in anthropology in 1971, followed by a master’s degree in education from Kansas State University in 1974 and finally a doctorate. in anthropology, majoring in archeology, from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 2001. She was a pioneer in online education, being the first adjunct professor to teach cultural anthropology and the anthropology of language in online at the University of Maryland, University College, 2004-07. She also taught a course on medicine, health and culture. She developed and taught a distance learning course, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, at Widener University, 2002-07.
Nancy had a passionate interest in fieldwork in archaeology. Highlights include participation as excavator and trench supervisor at Defense Underwater Excavation, American Revolutionary War privateer, Castine, Maine, 1977-78; Senior Researcher, Ethnographic Survey of Traditional Maritime Communities and the Wooden Shipbuilding Industry, Gujarat Coast, India, 1980; Ceramics Specialist, Kantarodai Ceramic Collections (ca. 300 BC-500 AD), Jaffna, Sri Lanka, 1984; and Laboratory Director, Temple of Isis, Cumae, Italy, in 2000 and 2001, where she led the preservation of artifacts from the Roman period.
Nancy met her husband, Brian, at the University of Pennsylvania in January 1981. It turned out to be the winter of their content. They married at Holy Family Catholic Church in South Ogden on August 17, 1982 and would have been married for 40 years next August. Nancy was then pursuing her doctorate. in anthropology at Penn but suspended his studies to raise their children. She was the backbone of her family and reveled in all their accomplishments, always putting herself last. Nancy completed her thesis 17 years later and earned a doctorate. in 2001, testimony to his dedication and perseverance.
Nancy was imbued with a strong sense of what really mattered in life. His priorities were deeply etched in a sense of love, kindness, compassion and sharing with those less fortunate. She was a beautiful, sophisticated and elegant woman with a light-hearted sense of humor and a subtle artistic sense, with a passion for classical music, opera, reading and gardening. She enjoyed playing Bach’s Inventions and Chopin’s Preludes and Mazurkas on the piano, and taught Brian to read music so he could improve his church choir singing. She was an intellectual and cultural explorer who loved to travel and throw herself headlong into unknown situations. Typical was a trip to Macedonia in September 2015 for a friend’s wedding. Nancy was determined to make the most of it and went online to plan a two-day hike through the mountains. This was followed by a road trip along the Via Egnatia, built by the Romans in the 2nd century BC to connect Rome with Byzantium (now Istanbul). They were accompanied by an intense guide, exceeded in her enthusiasm only by Nancy, who spared no effort to share all the cultural, musical, historical, archaeological and religious highlights of the places we visited. On the way back to Ogden, Nancy and Brian stayed at the Forum Hotel in Rome, overlooking the ruins of the Forum with a view of the Colosseum in the distance. Brian gladly accompanied Nancy to museums and an archaeological site outside of Rome.
Suffice it to say, Brian’s life would have been pretty mundane without Nancy. With his encouragement and support, they lived in Poland, Russia and England, taking every opportunity for long journeys. They even learned to ski downhill after moving to Ogden in 2015!
Nancy loved the outdoors and she and Brian ventured on many memorable hikes in Utah’s beautiful wilderness and national parks. After Nancy’s cancer treatment ended in March 2021 and after the two were double-vaccinated against COVID-19, they spent a week each in Moab and St. George. The overwhelming grandeur of nature has done much to soothe and put life’s difficulties into perspective.
Nancy’s greatest joy was her grandchildren. She looked forward to every opportunity to spend time with them, whether it was a visit to the park, a visit to the museum, or a hike. She started an annual tradition of baking Christmas cookies with them and never missed an opportunity to buy them a new toy or a new piece of clothing through Nordstrom Rack or Costco. Nancy proudly wore the title “Nana” and made all holidays special, especially Easter and Christmas, with beautiful decorations and maintaining religious and cultural traditions.
After moving to Ogden in 2015, Nancy devoted her time to The PEO Sisterhood, a philanthropic organization providing scholarships to needy women to complete their college education. and Onstage Ogden, a non-profit arts organization promoting classical music and dance, whose term as board chair (June 2020-January 2021) was cut short by cancer, although she continued to serve on the board. board of directors.
Nancy’s end was peaceful. Prayers were said by Fr. Charles Cummins and the Reverend Gerson Annunciacao, Presbyterian chaplain to the hospital. The reunited family sang a few hymns, including Be Not Afraid, The Lord is My Shepherd and Just a Closer Walk with Thee. Families from all over the world, including India, called to say goodbye to Nancy. She received a warm and affectionate send-off. She is now in heaven with their daughter Claire and their terribly missed grandson Baby Sullivan.
A celebration of Nancy’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 4 at the Leavitt Mortuary, 836 36th Street, Ogden, Utah 84403, with an opportunity to meet Nancy’s family beginning at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to one of three charities in Nancy’s name: Onstage Ogden; The PEO Sisterhood (FUT chapter); or the Ogden rescue mission. The family expresses their gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Condolences can be shared with the family at www.leavittsmortuary.com