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In Memoriam: Nancy O’Boyle

April 10, 2020
Nancy Millar O’Boyle
Nancy O’Boyle, John J. Quinn (center), and Joan Quinn (right) at the 2011 McKim Medal Gala in Rome
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Nancy Millar O’Boyle, born April 1, 1931, in New York, died peacefully in her home in Dallas, Texas, on March 25, 2020. She was a longtime member of the American Academy in Rome’s Board of Trustees, serving from 1985 to 2011.

Nancy was a graduate of the Ethel Walker School and earned a degree at Smith College in 1952. Hers was a childhood of exploration, allowing for travel to lands both foreign and local, and immersion in museums, symphonies, and operas that inspired an enchantment with and devotion to the arts that would become intrinsic to her very being. In Nancy’s house, “if these walls could talk” needed no utterance. Hers spoke of a lifetime of erudition and curiosity. Their art, for which she had an enduring passion, revealed the breadth of her understanding of art history and aesthetics; of talent and taste. Their shelves were stacked with tomes that alluded to her keen intellect, from first editions of poetry to Pulitzer Prize–winning literature to an encyclopedic compendium of art and artists spanning centuries. Her humor and magnetism were such that to many artists and authors, she became not only patron, but friend.

Nancy’s dedication to the arts was not idle. She served as a longtime trustee for the Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the American Academy in Rome, where in later years she was named a Trustee Emerita. Nancy was also a former member of two AAR committees, the Committee on the Arts and the Plant, Planning, and Preservation Committee. She contributed as donor, fundraiser, and advisor to more arts institutions than is possible to list and was a member of the Shakespeare Club in Dallas, the Huron Mountain Club in Michigan, and the Colony Club in New York.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Brenda Howard Millar and Donald Gordon Millar, sister Brenda Millar Baldwin, husband John W. O’Boyle Sr., and stepson John W. (Mike) O’Boyle Jr. In 1996, Nancy was also preceded in death by her beloved son, Buck Jim Wynne III. She is survived by her daughter-in-law Katherine Wynne and grandchildren Christopher H. Wynne (Leslie) and Brendan D. Wynne; stepchildren William B. O’Boyle, Kathleen O’Boyle Scutchfield and Mary O’Boyle II; along with step-grandchildren Alfred Mendoza (Larissa), Ria Mendoza (Carter Agar), William G. O’Boyle (Laura), Acacia O’Boyle Coffey (Daniel), Sarah Scutchfield Quiroga (Gerardo), Abigail O’Boyle Gregory (Michael), Nicholas C. J. English (Jaime), Hannah J. English, and Mary Anastasia (Tess) Ross (David). She is also survived by a multitude of devoted friends.

Nancy has donated her body to the Willed Body Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for scientific research. Due to the circumstances, and per her wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial at this time. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, or the American Academy in Rome.