Nancy Elizabeth Heer Maestri was born on December 27, 1946, in Yonkers, NY, to Helen
(Fowkes) and Kenneth Heer. Growing up in Yonkers, Nancy attended Lincoln High School, where
she was a member of the school’s Scroll newspaper staff, was named to the National Honor
Society and was the yearbook copy editor. It’s also where she met George Maestri, two years
her senior, who would eventually become her loving husband of 53 years.
Nancy, ever the diligent (and unassumingly brilliant) student, graduated as valedictorian from
her high school in 1964. She went on to attend Cornell University, where she received
numerous scholarships, including a National Merit Scholarship, NYS Regents Scholarship, and
the NYS Scholar incentive award. Nancy graduated cum laude in biological sciences in 1968,
with distinction in all subjects.
Two months after graduating, Nancy married George, and they began their life together as
husband and wife in SiIver Spring, Maryland, eventually buying their first home on Cherry Tree
Lane in Woodmoor. She worked at the National Institutes of Health as a biologist for 5 years
before she and George started a family and eventually welcomed three daughters – Kristen,
Nicole, and Lisa. Then, she switched roles to become a full-time mother, making beautiful
clothes for her daughters (and their baby dolls), taking her gaggle of girls on walks to the local
library, and diligently eating the surprise “treats” her daughters would make for her when she’d
attempt to nap and they’d raid the kitchen.
After Kristen, Nicole, and Lisa all began school, Nancy returned to the world of academia and
pursued a Ph.D. in genetic epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. She graduated in 1988
and received The Mary B. Meyer Memorial Award for academic excellence. She stayed on at
Hopkins, working as an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
While there, she helped to publish numerous research papers, including ones exploring a rare
genetic disorder called ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency that results in the complete or
partial lack of the enzyme ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC)—which plays a role in the break
down and removal of nitrogen in the body.
As her children got older and began to graduate from high school and college, Nancy realized
that she, too, was ready for a change. She decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Theological
Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary and graduated in 1999. She then spent two years
pursuing Biblical Studies at The Catholic University of America, before joining St. Andrew’s
Episcopal Church, in College Park, MD, where she worked as the Director of Christian Formation
until she retired in 2011.
Nancy remained devoted to the Episcopal Church community. After retiring, she continued her
work as a beloved instructor of Education For Ministry (EfM), a four-year certificate program in
theological education. Nancy and George were active members of St John’s Episcopal Church in
Ellicott City, MD, where Nancy became a eucharistic minister, participated in Click for Comfort --
a knitting circle that made prayer shawls – and worked as a Stephen Minister, helping those
experiencing a personal or spiritual crisis.
Nancy passed away on August 28, 2021, and she is remembered by all who knew her as a kind
and gentle soul who was blessed with an extraordinary mind, a quiet grace, and the talent for
making a mean peaches-and-cream-cheese cake.
Nancy is missed dearly. She is survived by her husband George; daughters Kristen Mullins
(John), Nicole Chang (Oliver) and Lisa; grandsons Joseph Carter and Michael Mullins;
granddaughter Mary Mullins; sister Joan Granda; brother Kenneth Heer; and sister-in-law
Condolences may be left for the family on harrywitzkefuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made in Nancy’s memory to St. John’s Episcopal Church or The Lewy Body