On December 20, 2020, the eve of Winter Solstice, Nancy Anne (Randall) Wright, passed at her home in Los Gatos, California. During her transition, there was a beautiful sunset of soft pink and silver and across the Pacific, Mount Kilauea Volcano erupted in Hawaii, and Jupiter and Saturn gathered close together in the clear night sky. Nancy would have loved every one of these natural marvels.
Nancy was a wonderful lady. She was full of wisdom, creativity, fun, adventure, curiosity, kindness and love of life. She was born on April 2, 1943 in Los Angeles to Melvin McKendrick Randall and Mary Kathryn (Doolittle) Randall. She was a childhood actress and singer for television including “I Love Lucy,” “The Donna Reed Show” April Fool episode, Betty Hutton’s pilot film “Hey Mom”, and various commercials; as well as for the stage including “The Red Mill” and “La Boheme” at the Greek Theatre, and “100 Red Convertibles”, “Giant Killer”, and “It Sometimes Happens Twice” at the Matinee Theatre. She was most proud of her starring role at age 13 of “At Mrs. Leland’s.” This was an hour-long live production enjoyed by a huge National audience. She also performed as Clara in one of her all-time favorites “The Nutcracker Suite”. Her uncle was the impresario James A. Doolittle, so she enjoyed front-row-center seats for countless shows in LA, including 10 nights with her absolute favorite, Judy Garland, and countless others. For her entire life, she continued to write and perform songs through school, work, community and family functions.
After high school, Nancy could have taken a scholarship at the Pasadena Playhouse or a role in “Gidget Goes Hawaiian,” but instead she chose to go to the University of California, Berkeley, which she loved. At Cal, she was active in student government and a variety of other activities on campus. As an Oski Doll, she was delighted to welcome President John F. Kennedy for a visit in 1962. She graduated in 1964 with a degree in psychology and worked as a probation officer first in Alameda County, and then in Santa Clara County, while her college sweetheart/husband, Stephen Millich, completed law school. Nancy designed a lakeside home in Morgan Hill and became a masterful water-skier who would entertain her four young daughters by skiing on one leg with the handlebar in her mouth.
In 1976, Nancy decided to go to Law School while actively raising her children and working part-time. She graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1980 and ultimately became a law professor at Santa Clara and Stanford, where she and her second husband Eric Wright co-founded the East San Jose Community Law Center (now called the Alexander Law Center). She was beloved by students, staff and faculty alike and enjoyed the honor of Law Professor of the Year numerous times. Stanford Law School recognized her achievements through the creation of "the Eric and Nancy Wright Professor of Clinical Education.” This was based on her teaching the class at Stanford's East Palo Alto Community Law Center over a number of years.
Nancy was a world traveler, art collector and photographer. She and Eric generously gave family trips to her beloved daughters and granddaughter including a 1985 six-week adventure through Europe, as well as trips to Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Norway, Peru, Ecuador, Japan and more. She travelled almost the entire globe with Eric over their decades-long romantic adventure. She was a prolific planner and an even more prolific lover of all that this wonderful world has to offer.
Nancy attracted and retained close friends from every place she lived, studied, and worked throughout her life. For example, she had a group of friends called "The Nines" who have met on a regular basis since Junior High. She even included her “awesome” medical team who treated her final illness as her close friends.
Nancy was a radiant and powerful force for good and hope during the many years that she fought her battle with cancer. After being diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in her liver, lungs and brain, Nancy decided that even if it was too late for her, it wasn’t too late for others to avoid the same fate. She collaborated with her wonderful doctor, Susan Swetter, on a new campaign to eradicate melanoma across California. Nancy was instrumental in rebranding the statewide initiative from ‘War on Melanoma’ to ‘Wipe out Melanoma’, which incorporated her surf-based design and marketing strategy. See the Stanford Cancer Institute’s tribute to “Nancy’s Words” here or at: https://med.stanford.edu/cancer/community/projects/WOM.html
Nancy was blessed to pass away with her beloved Eric by her side. The family was fortunate to spend her last days alongside her sharing memories, singing songs, enjoying videos and photographs, and relishing the beaming light of her smile and fearless positivity. Nothing was left unsaid. She was not afraid. She was ready.
Nancy is survived by her husband Eric Wright; her daughters Kristin R. and her spouse Jean R., Stacy Millich, Lisa Millich, and Kyra Millich and her spouse Matthew Freedman; step-daughter Amy Wright; grandchildren Audrey Rodriguez, Nate Hopkinson, and Elara, Julian and Miles R.; and Nancy’s niece Olena Randall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the Wipe Out Melanoma California Fund. Online donations can be made at this link (or see full below) or make a check payable to “Stanford University” and send the check to: Stanford University Development Services, P.O. Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309-0466. Please note online or on the memo line of the check: “In
Memory of Nancy Wright to the Wipe Out Melanoma California Fund.” WOM giving link: https://makeagift.stanford.edu/get/page/makeagift?pgnTPC=399&stp=410&cturl=close&refid=FAA6506957358602272141F98FC16BAC15D5E56F1F982D0CD10E56A7D4BCC0A4
On the longest night of the year, the cosmos gained one of earth’s brightest stars – the beautiful, brilliant and loving redhead who lived her life to the fullest.
To plant a tree in memory of Nancy Anne Wright, please click here.