Nancy Yanoshak, 68, of Great Barrington, history professor at Simon’s Rock

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By Tuesday, Feb 28 Obituaries

Great Barrington — Dr. Nancy A. Yanoshak, 68, died peacefully at home on February 25, 2017, after a 16-year struggle with cancer, with her loving spouse of 21 years, Sandra S. Smith, at her side. A professor of history, Nance taught at Bard College at Simon’s Rock for over 30 years. Besides history, she taught gender studies and critical theory.

Nancy Yanoshak

Nancy Yanoshak

Nance was born on September 2, 1948, in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., to Stephen and Mary (Bezek) Yanoshak. She attended public schools in her hometown and earned her BA and MA at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Russian history at Georgetown University in 1981. She began her teaching career as a teaching fellow and then a lecturer at Georgetown. She came to Simon’s Rock in 1982 and became a leader among the faculty. Nance developed the school’s early college pedagogy in her role as co-director of the Early College Teaching Seminars, which brought educators to Simon’s Rock from all over the country. She taught at Bard Smolny, Russia, in Spring 2002. Nancy chaired the Social Studies Division for nearly a decade, and in the last years of her career mentored newly hired faculty.

Nancy Yanoshak wrote many scholarly papers and essays. She was deeply devoted to the college’s ideals, leading her to edit the book, Educating Outside the Lines: Bard College at Simon’s Rock on a “New Pedagogy” for the Twenty-First Century (Peter Lang 2011). Nancy was selected for the college’s John A. Glover Award in 2001 and the Richard C. Drumm, Sr. Award in 2010, both bestowed by the senior class for her excellence in teaching and service. She was named Emily H. Fisher Faculty Fellow from 2007-9.

Nance was an autodidact in classical music and the writings of Michel Foucault. She loved Shakespeare and fine dining as well as watching Penn State football and eating kielbasa. She delighted generations of college students with her brilliant teaching and erudition, her ability to make history come alive — even teaching flamboyantly through her occasional imitations of Queen Victoria or the witches in Macbeth.

The company of family meant a great deal to Nancy. She looked forward to spending the holidays at her hometown in northeastern Pennsylvania; she particularly enjoyed summer family reunions and Ukrainian Christmas traditions such as Holy Supper and Divine Liturgy with her extended family. Nance shared those traditions: she led a Ukrainian Christmas choir at Simon’s Rock for several years. She loved being part of the Simons Rock community and considered a number of colleagues as family. Nancy found great satisfaction in cooking and for years she and Sandie relished hosting holiday meals for close friends and family.

An only child, Nance is survived by an extensive family network. She has two brothers-in-law, Scott F. Smith of Pocatello, Idaho, and Denison F. Smith (Kathy) of Newington, Conn., and their daughters (Kelly, now travelling in Bolivia) and Courtney Shea (Matt) of Cromwell, Conn. Besides her spouse, survivors also include her paternal uncle and aunts, Tex Kulmatiski, Marge and Louise Yanoshak and numerous cousins from the Yanoshak and Kulmatiski families. She leaves her best friend Joan DelPlato (Bryan Goodwin) and her best friend from junior high and high school, Andrea (“Ange”) Campbell. Nance leaves to Sandie’s loving care their Golden Retriever Stella and tuxedo cat Blanche.

Nancy was predeceased by her parents, her parents-in-law Philip H. and Geraldine D. Smith, her dear Aunt Helen Markford (Robert) and her paternal uncles and aunts: John Yanoshak, Russell Yanoshak, Harry Yanoshak, Stephen Kull, Andrew Kulmatiski, Mary Brownlee, Anne Maday and Helen Heylek as well as several first cousins and their families.

Nance will be remembered for her wit, her gentleness, her compassion, and her generosity.

The funeral service for Nancy Yanoshak will be held on Saturday, March 4 at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St., in Great Barrington.

The family will receive friends on Friday, March 3rd from 4 – 7 p.m. at FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230.

Gifts of remembrance may be made to the Nancy Yanoshak Scholarship Fund, Bard College at Simon’s Rock through FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main St., Gt. Barrington, MA 01230 or online at To send remembrances to her family or sign the guestbook go to


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