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With great sadness, SAR notes the passing of Dr. Nancy Owen Lewis, our longtime Director of Scholar Programs, Scholar-in-Residence, and tireless advocate, tour guide, public speaker, and prolific author. Before coming to SAR, Nancy received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Massachusetts in 1974, and taught at the universities of Maine, Alabama, and Arkansas. Over her career, she conducted fieldwork with Navajo, Paiute, and Carib communities. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of award-winning books: Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2016) and A Peculiar Alchemy: A Centennial History of SAR, co-authored with Kay Hagan (SAR Press, 2007), as well as the forthcoming The Hounds of El Delirio: New Mexico and the Dogs of World War II.
Nancy Owen Lewis (1945–2022)
Nancy Owen Lewis at SAR in 2019.
Nancy Owen Lewis (1945–2022)
Nancy Owen Lewis enjoying an event at SAR in 2015.
In the 1990s, Nancy conducted and published crucial research that led the state of New Mexico to ban drive-up liquor windows. She was also an active participant and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and served on the board of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. She was remarkably smart and committed but also equally kind. Her laugh was infectious, and her scholarly hunt for the best green chile cheeseburger in New Mexico was legendary.

The staff and board of directors of SAR extend their condolences to Nancy’s husband Paul, her children Charlotte and Jonathan, and other members of her family. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s United Methodist Church (1200 Old Pecos Trail) on Thursday, March 24th at 10:00 AM followed by a grave-side ceremony at Memorial Gardens (417 Rodeo Rd) at 11:30 AM. ¡Que en Paz Descanse, Nancy!

Obituary in the Santa Fe New Mexican, March 23, 2022

Obituary notice published by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, on whose board Nancy served