VIRGINIA BEACH – Nancy Stuart Maxwell Guarnieri, 90, PhD, Prof. Emeritus, went to be with the Lord on Oct. 2, 2023. Born Mar. 2, 1933, to the late Rev. John Stuart Maxwell and Martha Maxwell. Nancy began her journey as a lifelong educator in 1949, starting her Bachelor’s degree at Allegheny College with a major in Education and minors in speech and German language. She made her first contribution to the educational community two years later, where she hosted the Children’s Literature Radio Show on WMGW and subsequently wrote scripts for the WILK radio station in 1953. She started her teaching career after graduation in 1953, educating students from kindergarten to third grade in numerous public schools. In 1957, Nancy began her Masters in Education and Group Dynamics at Temple University, where she met the love of her life, Lewis. She then continued her career as an educator by serving as a Professor at the University of Virginia. Nancy’s passion for teaching children eventually led her to serve as a Professor in Early Childhood Education at Tidewater Community College in 1971. She supported child development both at home in Virginia Beach and abroad as a Montessori Representative for St. Nicholas College in London, England. She proudly served as President of the American Montessori Society.
One of her proudest accomplishments was the key role she played as founder and program head of the Child Development Lab and Montessori School in Virginia Beach. Yet another dream of Nancy’s was realized when her daughter, Nancylew Guarnieri O’Donoghue, joined Tidewater Community College as an instructor in 2002, where Nancy felt at home leading the Child Development Lab with her daughter teaching Psychology and Child Development just a few doors away. She officially retired in 2007, shortly before her husband, Lewis, went with the lord in heaven.
Nancy constantly looked for ways to give back to her family and local community. She worked with her oldest son, Dr. Johnstuart Guarnieri, managing his surgical practice. She also served as a President of the Virginia Beach branch of the American Cancer Society. Nancy was an active member of Old Donation Episcopal Church where she served as a vestry member, a lay reader and a chalicer.
She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and godmother. A passionately spiritual woman, she left smiles and good humor behind her wherever she went. Left to cherish her memory are her dear family and loved ones, Dr. Johnstuart Guarnieri and his wife, Dr. Deborah Giorgi-Guarnieri, Nancylew Guarnieri O’Donoghue and her significant other, David H. Armstrong Jr., and Stuart Guarnieri and his wife, Lisa Guarnieri; grandchildren, Brendan, Bryan, D’Elia, Grace, Asher, and Aymeric; and all those whose lives she touched with her loving ways.
The memorial service will be officiated by Father Bob Randall. She will be put to rest next to her husband and soulmate, Lewis Guarnieri. The service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, at Old Donation Episcopal Church, 4449 N. Witchduck Road. Flowers, gifts, or memorial donations may be made to Old Donation Episcopal Church, a place Nancy loved to be with her husband, family, and friends.