Nancy Phyllis Greene Milstein died peacefully in her sleep in Ithaca, N.Y. on the morning of June 27. She was 83.

She was born on Christmas Eve, 1937 in Auburn, Me. to Myer Greene and Eva Kleven Greene. She grew up in Lewiston-Auburn, Me., graduated from House in the Pines boarding school, and earned her nursing degree from Simmons College. While attending college in Boston, Nancy met and later married Herbert Milstein, her partner of 61 years,

After college, she was a registered nurse in Illinois, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C. In the 1980s, after having taken time from work to raise her family, she returned to nursing and worked tirelessly to try to unionize Sibley Hospital in Washington, D.C. in order to create better working conditions for all nurses there. After retiring from nursing, she became director of development at the McLean School.

Throughout her life, she was a dedicated community volunteer, including working with Hospice to bring palliative care to those at the end of their own lives.

Together, Nancy and Herb raised three children and traveled throughout the world with dear friends and family. For over half that time, they relished time together on Martha’s Vineyard, which became a second home.

She was known for her kind and generous nature, philanthropy and devotion to family, friends and community. She made her house a welcoming place where her children’s friends would often call her Mother Nancy or Nurse Nancy, reflecting the care she showed to everyone. There was never a party, event or life celebration that Nancy did not want to attend, a conversation she did not want to have, a stranger she did not want to meet and help in some way, or music to which she did not want to dance.

She always exhibited grace and poise, including the years during which she lived with dementia that made it increasingly difficult for her to communicate. Yet her illness also distilled the best of her essence: always smiling and laughing, with her kindness to everyone multiplying over time.

In addition to Herb, she is survived by her three children: Lori of Washington, D.C., Mark of Ithaca, N.Y., and Andrew of Syracuse, N.Y.; their spouses David, Monica and Melissa, respectively, whom she considered her own; her grandchildren Joshua, Charlotte, Eva, Max, Badyn and Arlo; and her dear cousins Diane, Ellen and Gail, who were the siblings she never had.

Service and interment took place on the Island on July 2.

Donations can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center (; 130 Center St., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568) to support the Summer Institute, a film and speakers series.