Nancy Kane, Community Activist

Dec. 5, 1933 - June 28, 2012
Nancy Kane Dec. 5, 1933 - June 28, 2012

    Nancy Kane, a former teacher whose service to the community included membership in the Springs Presbyterian Church, the Accabonac Protection Committee, the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, and an appointment to the East Hampton Town Planning Board, died at home in East Hampton last Thursday, two months after being diagnosed with cancer. She was 78.
    Ms. Kane, who enjoyed the outdoors, led more than 100 hikes for the Trails Preservation Society throughout the town until this year.
    She was a member of the  community preservation fund committee, which makes recommendations to the town board about open space to preserve, and had also served on the Springs Citizens Advisory Committee.
    In all of her associations, her family said, Ms. Kane was known for doing careful and accurate research and bringing people together to achieve compromise. Whether in a public forum or at a dinner table discussion, people would look to her as a voice of compassion and reason, said the family.
    As an Accabonac Protection Committee member of several decades, “She was a real guiding light,” said Jorie Latham, a friend and committee member. “She was totally committed to the environment, and to people.’
    “She always looked for the best in others and truly ‘enjoyed the ride,’ ” her family said.
    At the Presbyterian Church, Ms. Kane served until last year not only as a deacon and an elder but as chairwoman of the church’s outreach committee and as clerk of the session. She helped run the food pantry, taught Sunday school, and ran a preschool there at one time, the Rev. Tony Larson said. When newcomers came to the church, Ms. Kane was “a one-woman welcoming committee,” he said, inviting all to stay for services and refreshments and conversation afterward.
    Ms. Kane wrote and published a history of the church, and interviewed longtime residents of Springs to create an oral history of the hamlet.
    Born in Ohio on Dec. 5, 1933, she was the daughter of Lysle K. Butler and the former Dorothy Morgan. She grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, where her father was the athletic director of Oberlin College. Both her parents were Oberlin graduates, and so was Ms. Kane.
    In 1955 she moved to Long Island to take a teaching position, and met and married George (Jerry) Kane of Sayville four years later. The couple had three children. While raising them, Ms. Kane continued teaching in the Sayville School District, obtained graduate degrees, and also supported her husband’s teaching and building careers. She went on to become an adjunct professor at Dowling College, and to teach reading at the middle school level for the Sachem School District.
    In 1988 the Kanes moved to Springs, and later to East Hampton. Ms. Kane loved new adventures and traveling, as well as a great book, good conversation, and a lovely meal. Throughout her life, even near the end, her family said, “her goal was one of service.”
    Ms. Kane had “a profoundly good outlook,” Ms. Latham said, and “was one of the best examples of how one should really live,”
    She is survived by her husband and her daughter, Jenny Day of Palmer Lake, Colo., and two sons, Larry Kane of East Hampton and Peter Kane of San Diego. Six grandchildren also survive.
    Mr. Larson presided over a service on Monday, It was held at the Amagansett Presbyterian Church, which is larger than the church in Springs, in order to accommodate the many who attended. Burial followed at Green River Cemetery in Springs.
    Memorial donations have been suggested to the Springs Presbyterian Church, 5 Old Stone Highway, East Hampton 11937, or to any organization that directly supports the community.