Nancy Eckerson Fitts

Nancy Fitts - Pittsford, NY - Rochester Cremation

Pittsford, NY:  Nancy Eckerson Fitts, 86, passed away on March 4, 2019, surrounded by family after a long decline from Alzheimer’s.

Nancy Hopkins Fouquet was born in Queens, NY on August 14, 1932. Her brother, Frederick “Fritz” Fouquet, Jr was born six years later.

In 1953, Nancy married Harold “Skip” Eckerson and had two children, Dayton and Meg. They lived on Helen Road in Brighton.  She worked as a medical secretary for many years at Rochester Memorial Hospital and for several private medical practices. She and Skip were married 22 years before divorcing.

Nancy married Richard “Dick” Fitts in 1977 and their version of the Brady Bunch was born. The Fitts-Eckerson clan now consisted of (in order of age spread over seven years): Andy Fitts, Dayton Eckerson, Jeff Fitts, Meg Eckerson and Judi Fitts. Only Meg and Judi were still in school at that point, college and high school respectively.

Nancy always concerned herself with the health and happiness of others. As long-time friend Gail Mott described her, “Nancy was always behind the scenes, hosting and making arrangements, and she did so with love and grace. She was always there for people.” This was never more apparent than in her and Dick’s involvement in the Rochester Unitarian Church where they remained deeply committed for many decades. Nancy was instrumental in several committees charged with offering support to members in need, as well as families wishing to memorialize a loved one.

Her caring also extended to the gay and lesbian community through her pivotal role on the AIDS Task Force and Interfaith Advocates for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns. The following is a remembrance from Nancy’s friend Gwen Wollney:

“I was the secretary for Interfaith advocates in the late 90’s, early 2000’s when Nancy was the co-chair of the group.  At the time, most churches were in even greater turmoil than they are today on the issue of acknowledging, let alone accepting, those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.  It was difficult to be a person of faith, and be honest about our sexuality due to the hostility from organized religion, and distrust within the gay community. It was a blessing to work with a mixed group of straight and LGBT people who were moving forward in a positive way, opening up dialogue as well as minds and supporting LGBT inclusion.   Nancy was a warm, determined and wonderful leader during my time with the representative group, as we shared the work being done in each of our communities of faith, marched in the gay pride parade together, and worked towards becoming a resource for others.”

Nancy and Dick were also very involved in anti-war activities, particularly the Nuclear Freeze disarmament movement in the 1980s.  When critics of the movement kept asking “but what about the Russians?”, Nancy and Gail Mott decided to organize a conference to foster greater understanding of the Soviet Union. That idea blossomed into a major national conference entitled “Soviet Realities” featuring a keynote address by the former US ambassador to the USSR and attended by over 500 people from across the country and abroad.  As Gail recently put it, “what began as a small gathering around our dining room table soon took over our lives for more than a year!”

After that conference, Nancy and Dick were instrumental in forging Rochester’s relationship with its sister city in Novgorod, Russia. In 1985, Linkages was formed to support this relationship and she and Dick continued to be the backbone of organizing events, travel, and hosting frequent visitors from Russia for many years.

Nancy and Dick also headed up the western New York presidential campaign office for Independant presidential candidate Rep. John B. Anderson.  In recognition of their work for the Anderson for President campaign, Nancy was selected to be Anderson’s honorary Vice President on the New York State primary ballot in 1980.

Nancy is survived by her husband, Richard S. Fitts; brother Dr. Frederick “Fritz” Fouquet; children Harold Dayton Eckerson, Andrew Fitts, Jeffrey Fitts, Judith Fitts; and grandchildren Henry Fitts, Peter Fitts, Charlotte Fitts-Sprague, Peter Fitts-Sprague, and Margaret Yeqian Eckerson.  Her daughter, Margaret “Meg” Eckerson died in 2001.

Services will be held at First Unitarian Church of Rochester, June 8, 2019 at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Richard & Nancy Fitts Fund for Justice, First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY 14610.

Nancy Fitts - PIttsford, New York - Rochester CremationNancy Eckerson Fitts - Pittsford, NY - Rochester CremationNancy Eckerson Fitts - Pittsford, NY - Services by Rochester Cremation

12 Condolences

  1. Leigh A. Kirby (Ron and Juanita's daughter) on March 10, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Sending so much love to all of you. I have the fondest memories of Nancy’s warm personality and joyous smile.

    • Judi Fitts on May 9, 2019 at 9:21 pm

      Thank you, Leigh. We appreciate you sharing your memory of Nancy. We’d love for you to join us for Nancy’s memorial service on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 10:30am. Services will be held at Rochester Unitarian Church, 220 South Winton Rd, Rochester.
      – Judi Fitts (step-daughter)

    • Alton and Elena Franklin on June 7, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      Our sincere condolences to Dick Fitts and the Family on their loss.

  2. Leonard Lyons on March 17, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    I am a member of a men’s group that has been meeting since the 1970’s that included Nancy’s husband Dick. It is in this way that I met Nancy and learned of their love for each other. They so enjoyed life together and the many projects they worked on to make this a better world.

    • Judi Fitts on May 9, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      What a lovely tribute, Leonard. We appreciate you sharing your memory of Nancy and would love for you to join us for Nancy’s memorial service on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 10:30am. Services will be held at Rochester Unitarian Church, 220 South Winton Rd, Rochester.
      – Judi Fitts (step-daughter)

  3. Judith Fitts on March 18, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    We thank you for your kind thoughts. Please see the D & C obituary to leave your condolences.

  4. David Kotok on May 27, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    My condolences for your loss of this lovely person. I first knew Nancy as Dr Cafarelli’s receptionist when my children were patients of the office, then later in the 1990’s with travel to and support of Novgorod. I will be out of town the weekend of 6/8 but will be thinking of Nancy and all those who are mourning her passing.

  5. Mary Hammele on May 28, 2019 at 11:19 am

    So hard to say good-bye to this lovely amazing woman, Nancy Fitts! She gave my daughters homemade origami cranes that we’ve hung on our Christmas trees for years and always think of her when we see them. She knew the complete history of the Hammele-Foquet “family” and we always maintained we were related. Her passion, love of justice, and kindness will live on in all of us. We love you, Nancy!

  6. Beth E Jorgensen on June 2, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Rochester has lost a wonderful member of our community and a true champion of human rights and human dignity. I knew Nancy through our work on the resettlement team based at First Unitarian Church that helped to resettle the Hakiqi family in the late 1990s. It was a pleasure to get to know Nancy, whose generosity of spirit and of effort made a difference for so many people over the years. She is dearly missed.

  7. Vera, Yury, Lana Kirpichenko on June 5, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Our condolences for your loss of this lovely person. Nancy was a great and kind person. She is dearly missed.

  8. Leslie Hunter on June 7, 2019 at 6:19 am

    My condolences for your loss. I have very find memories of your mom, both in and out of church. I remember how she was so very nonchalant she was about the amount of mice droppings at your cabin. She had such a way about her that made everything “ok”.

  9. Natalia Zhogina, Velikiy Novgorod, Russia on June 7, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Condolence from Novgorod, the Russian sister city. Thanks a lot for the great job of bringing our cities and people on both sides together. Rest in peace.

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