South Cambridge - Nannette Einstein Hadley, age 100, died peacefully on Saturday, November 6 at her home on Lee’s Crossing Road, where she had lived since 1948.
Her long eventful life began as the daughter of Ludwig and Sophie Einstein in Laupheim, Germany, about 20 miles from Ulm, the birthplace of Albert Einstein. Nan’s ancestors had owned a clothing store in Laupheim since 1832. Following the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933 and subsequent oppression of Jews, she continued her schooling in Switzerland until her family immigrated to New York City in 1936. She attended the City College of New York but left for secretarial work in the family business.
Nan was an enthusiastic hiker, cyclist and photographer. She met her husband, Francis Hadley, on a bicycle trip in Vermont. They married in 1943 and moved to Washington DC, where she worked for the Office of War Information, assisting in interviews of German war prisoners during World War II. After the war, following her husband’s interest in farming, they purchased a small dairy farm on Lee’s Crossing Road. She maintained a very large garden and partnered in running the farm and raising her two sons, born in 1947 and 1953. Her friends from Germany and New York often visited the farm as a favorite vacation spot. As the farm income declined in the 1960s, she returned to work as the secretary to the Department of History and Political Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
After separating from her husband in 1975, she continued to maintain the farm independently. Following her retirement from RPI, she took great satisfaction in her volunteer work at the Cambridge Central School library. She also was active in local advocacy groups for nuclear disarmament, in which she met several friends in later life. She was an avid reader, bombarding her family with newspaper and magazine clippings that she thought would interest them. She continued to hike enthusiastically, including an ascent of 12,003-foot Medicine Bow Peak in Wyoming with her son Julian in July 1983.
Following a hip fracture in 2009 and slowly progressing Lewy Body Dementia, she faced increasing physical and mental constraints. Nevertheless, she remained resolved to sustain her independence and family ties as best she could. She continued living at home with the help of her son, Julian, and several dedicated home caregivers, and enjoyed visits with her family. A few years ago, she announced her intention to live to 100, which she reached this year. Her success was the last of many noteworthy and endearing achievements by a woman who responded to the hard knocks in her life with remarkable determination and resourcefulness.
She is survived by her brother Paul Eland of Hightstown, New Jersey, nephew Richard Eland of Cranbury, New Jersey, her two sons Evan and Julian, her two granddaughters Elizabeth Khelil and Eve Hadley, and three great-grandsons: Isa, Solomon, and Reuben.
The family wishes to thank Barbara Ford, Karen Ewing, Brenda Melite, Gail Fryer, Diane Braymer and Cheri Asprion for their compassionate caregiving during Nannette’s last years.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Hubbard Hall, one of her favorite destinations, at https://hubbardhall.org An outdoor memorial service is planned for May 2022.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nannette (Einstein) Hadley, please visit our floral store.
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