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Nancy (Cutbirth) Small

Dec. 3, 2009

Dr. Nancy (Cutbirth) Small, a local environmental advocate and former Western Michigan University faculty member, died Nov. 27 in Kalamazoo. She was 69.

Small joined WMU's faculty in 1971 and retired as an associate professor emerita of English in 1996 after 25-1/2 years of service to the University. She taught a variety of subjects and edited the Anthony Powell Newsletter, an international literary journal.

It was at WMU that Small met her future husband, Tom, who also retired in 1996. The two English department colleagues co-directed the annual WMU Shakespeare Festival for several years and team-taught an undergraduate Shakespeare course.

Even before their retirements, the Smalls were devoted to saving and restoring the degraded and lost biodiversity of southwest Michigan. They were founding members of the Stewardship Committee of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, for which Nancy served on the board of directors. She also was a member of the Journal of the Wildflower Association of Michigan Board of Directors and a founding member of Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War.

Together with her husband, Small traveled the continent with the Friends Committee for Unity with Nature, the Quaker environmental organization for the Americas, and in 1999, co-founded and became co-president of the Kalamazoo Area Chapter of Wild Ones, a national organization devoted to natural landscaping.

A memorial celebration will be held at a future date by the Quaker group, Kalamazoo Friends Meeting. Small also will be celebrated in the spring at the Wild Ones annual plant exchange, an event she began 18 years ago.

Memorial contributions may be made to:

Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
P.O. Box 20324
Kalamazoo MI 49019

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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