Nancy Walker Hand, 79, Cherished Time on Island

Nancy Walker Hand of Brookfield, Conn., died May 30 at the Danbury Hospital. She was 79.

Nancy Raymond Walker was born April 28, 1923, in Edgartown, the youngest child of Barbara Coffin Walker and Raymond Walker.

On her mother's side, Nancy was a direct descendant of many prominent Vineyard and Nantucket individuals and families, including Peter Folger (1618-1690), also the maternal grandfather of Benjamin Franklin, Nancy being Franklin's first cousin eight times removed; the Cleavelands of Tisbury and West Tisbury; John Coffin (1710-1791) of Edgartown; Thomas Vincent (1656-1740) of Edgartown; Simon Athearn (1640-1714) of Tisbury, and governor Thomas Mayhew (1593-1682). On her father's side, Nancy was descended from still other prominent Vineyarders, including Thomas Jackson Walker, M.D., (1845-1920) of Edgartown, and the Marchants, Butlers, Claghorns and Nortons of Edgartown.

During her youth, Nancy frequently traveled between Edgartown and Daytona Beach, Fla. She was graduated from Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach and Sullins College in Bristol, Va.

Nancy married Paul Hand of Ridgewood, N.J., in 1946. The couple lived in New York city and, after 1948, in Pound Ridge, N.Y., where they raised a family of four children. They moved from Pound Ridge to Newton, Conn., in 1968 and divorced in 1983.

Between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s, they were involved in wholesale, mail-order and retail sales of gourmet foods and cookware in Ridgefield, and then Brookfield, Conn., under trade names of Hand Brands Inc., the Rose Mill Gourmet Shop and Gourmet Foods Incorporated.

Martha's Vineyard was special to Nancy and she returned there frequently during her adult life. She fondly recalled childhood times with her cousins in West Tisbury and Edgartown and, later, with her family at her mother's summer compound on Pennywise Hill.

Nancy was preceded in death by her sister, Eileen, her father, mother and her brother, James.

She is survived by her eldest brother, Thomas Jackson (Peggy) Walker of Huntington Beach, Calif.; her sons, Michael Wilder (Karen) Hand of Chestnut Hill, James Stanley (Gail) Hand of Grand Forks, N.D., and Gregory Marchant (Nancy Schreiber) Hand of Princeton, N.J.; her daughter, Judith Hand of Daytona Beach, Fla., and her longtime companion, Candace McCann of Brookfield, Conn. She was also survived by eight grandchildren.