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Nancy Anne Stephens, 71, student coordinator at JHU


Nancy Anne Stephens, retired student coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health, died of sepsis Sunday at Sinai Hospital. She was 71.

Ms. Stephens was born in Baltimore and raised on Toone Street in Canton. She was a 1953 graduate of Eastern High School and earned an associate's degree in 1955 from the former Baltimore Junior College.

She worked for a decade as a medical secretary in the X-ray department of the old Church Home and Hospital before taking the position of student coordinator in 1964 at what was then the Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

"Nancy never married and became a wonderful aunt to her students. She personally looked after them and took them to her heart," said her sister, Frances S. Razmus, a retired Howard County teacher and Ellicott City resident.

"She spent many hours helping students, foreign and American, get settled in Baltimore. She drove them to look at housing, took them grocery and furniture shopping and had an open-door policy to all," she said.

"She worked with the World Health Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Pan-American Health Organization to help their students survive in the United States," Mrs. Razmus said.

"She was kind of an ambassador for Hopkins, and the thing that stands out about Nancy is how devoted she was to the students. She went overboard trying to help them and as a result has friends all over the world who will truly miss her," said Carol A. Buckley, a friend of 40 years and academic coordinator in the Department of International Health.

"She loved taking them sightseeing, and at Christmas took them to Hampden to see the lights. She was just a wonderful person and so devoted to her work here. She'd even take students home so they'd have some place to go for a holiday dinner," Ms. Buckley said.

"Her dealings with students went way beyond the [parameters] of her job," her sister said. "She would many times include students in her own family gatherings. She wanted them to feel like they had a home away from home and we never knew who'd be coming to a family gathering."

Ms. Stephens along with several faculty members established a group called WISH - Women Interested in the School of Hygiene - and shortly before her 2002 retirement endowed the Nancy Stephens Student Fund, which provides financial support for students in the Department of International Health.

Ms. Stephens had been a longtime communicant and senior warden at Episcopal Church of the Holy Evangelist in Canton, and after it closed in 1997, she became an active member of Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Incarnation on University Parkway.

Through the years, Ms. Stephens had been active and served on many committees on the diocesan level of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

"After Holy Evangelist closed, she became a very active presence in our community and was cherished and loved. She was an outgoing and engaged person and someone I felt very close to," said the Very Rev. Van Gardner, dean of Episcopal Cathedral Church.

"She also loved to reminisce about her old church, yet was very forward-thinking in her views about the Episcopal Church," Mr. Gardner said. "She was never closed-minded to the changes that took place."

"She was a terrific aunt and made sure that she did special things for me and my two brothers," said her niece, Kathleen E. Razmus of Ellicott City. "She took me on my first trip to New York City, to plays and even my first R-rated movie, Dog Day Afternoon."

Ms. Stephens liked doing needlepoint and traveling, and enjoyed keeping up with her former Hopkins students by letter and e-mail, family members said.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at her church, University Parkway and Charles Street.

Also surviving are two nephews.

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