Nancy J. Baran, 63


Nancy J. Baran, 63 Nancy J. Baran, 63, of Princeton Junction died March 15, 2016, at home, surrounded by her family. On April 15, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nancy was born to John A. Baran and Loretta T. Kofomehalis, the eldest of three children. She spent many happy hours in the company of her beloved grandmother, Anna Baran. A lifelong reader and the editor of her high school newspaper, Nancy recognized very early that words were powerful tools. “Why?” was always her favorite question. A graduate of Lafayette College and charter member of the 619 High Street Feminist Defense League, she married John F. Wagner in 1974. Nancy earned a J.D. at Seton Hall University School of Law and began her career in private practice. Nancy was a tremendous intellect and a solutions-focused lawyer. She made a career in financial services law at Prudential for 34 years. Nancy was particularly proud of the critical role she played on the Living Needs Benefit Team, which allowed terminally ill policyholders to access their life insurance proceeds while they are living. This was a groundbreaking benefit in the life insurance industry, and she was pleased that it was able to help terminally ill policyholders provide for their loved ones, access end-of-life care, and protect their families’ homes. Nancy’s creativity, intellect and passion made her a major contributor to this effort. She was a pioneer in the field of privacy and drafted major legislation on this issue, leading Prudential’s first privacy office. As Chief Legal Officer of Prudential Select Brokerage, she pioneered its third party sales force model, the cornerstone of its successful sales strategy. Nancy’s thought leadership over many years was extremely valuable, particularly in a time of evolving state and federal regulation of insurance companies. She advised on and helped Prudential come to the right answers about some of the most critical issues it has faced in recent years. She was a problem solver, creative influence, dear friend, mentor and caring colleague who invested deeply in others. She always had a moment to listen and offered a deep well of sage advice. Her colleagues viewed her as a role model for anyone trying to manage a successful career, rich family life, and wide circle of friendships. Nancy was an accomplished cook who used food to gather the people she loved, and took pleasure in experiencing other cultures through their recipes. Guests from around the world had their first American Thanksgivings at her table. An amateur biologist, she was deeply interested in the natural world. In childhood, she imagined becoming the next Jacques Cousteau. She could often be found with binoculars and field guide in hand, at home or in Chincoteague, VA, teaching someone to identify a bird. As a gardener, Nancy carefully selected plants that would attract her beloved birds, butterflies and insects, and she made sure something was blooming in her yard from February through the late fall. Fresh flowers gave her tremendous pleasure and she kept them in her house year-round; Nancy shared them by arranging the flowers for her church. Nancy had a deep faith in Jesus Christ, and was a member of Windsor Chapel for over 30 years. She served on the boards of several international missions agencies, most recently World Team, which shared the hope of Christ across the world. Nancy’s greatest accomplishment was her family. She is survived by her husband, John Wagner; children, Elizabeth, Jonathan, Andrew and William; their spouses, whom she adored, Anthony DiSanti, Pattie Wagner, and Allison Simi; grandchildren Henry and Josephine DiSanti-Wagner, to whom she loved to read her extensive collection of children’s literature; sister Thresa Dewar and her husband, Mark; brother Jay and his wife, Tyna; nieces, nephews, and many friends. Services were held on Sunday, March 20, at 12:30 pm at Windsor Chapel, 401 Village Road East, West Windsor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mercer Street Friends Food Bank.