Nancy Adsit, 90, Loved Her Family and The Piano, Was Dedicated to Music, Education and The Arts


Nancy Adsit died peacefully on November 24, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the age of 90. She enjoyed a lifelong passion for piano performance and teaching around the world. 

She is survived by her brother Michael Philbin of Saline, MI; son Daniel Adsit (Jill) of Ann Arbor, MI; and grandchildren Liam, Teagan, Erika, Michael, and Jacob. She is preceded in death by her husband Col. John Miley Adsit and son John Michael Adsit.

Nancy was born on June 27, 1930 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, daughter of Lester (Let) and Catherine (Kay) Philbin. At age nine, Nancy began studying piano with Mrs. Breakey of Ann Arbor. After high school, she went on to receive a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Music where she was a member of Mu Phi Epsilon honorary sorority. Subsequently, she taught at Grand Forks School of Music in North Dakota and pursued advanced studies at The Juilliard School in New York.

In 1959, while serving with the Army Special Services Section (entertainment) in Munich, Germany, she met and married (then) Lt. John Adsit. They began a sixty year adventure together, traveling the world, working, and rearing two sons. Nancy continued to perform on piano and teach. During the first half of marriage, they particularly enjoyed assignments in Germany, Korea, and San Francisco. In 1981, Col. Adsit retired from the Army Corps of Engineers, and they moved to Bangkok, Thailand for several years before settling in Olympia, Washington.

Nancy continued studying piano with Professor Randolph Hokanson at the University of Washington and was a member of the Washington State Music Teachers Association. Nancy’s student, Charlie Albright, renowned classical pianist, composer, and improviser, began formal piano training with Nancy when he was seven and continued through high school. They traveled extensively for piano, developing an enduring relationship and remaining life-long friends.
Nancy enjoyed spicy food with “attitude,” appreciated a good glass of Chardonnay, insisted on a firm handshake, and adored “Schatzie,” her beloved toy poodle. What stands out is her love of family and the piano. Her dedication to music, education, and the arts will live on through the many students she was privileged to teach through the years.

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

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