David Nanfeldt, 76, of Chester

David Nanfeldt, 76, of Chester, passed away on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 following a short illness.

He was born and raised in New Haven, Conn., to Eric and Regina Nanfeldt, who predeceased him.

David always enjoyed hearing about how couples met, and he loved sharing his story about meeting Nena. In 1968, they were fellow graduate students at Southern Connecticut State University, and he liked to tell how Nena ignored him in class but when he noticed her at an orientation for new teachers in Meriden, Conn., he managed to sit next to her. Four months later, on Jan. 25, 1969, the two were married.

David had a long, fulfilling career as a special education teacher, and was the department chairman at Maloney High School in Meriden, Conn., where he taught for more than 30 years. David was dedicated to his students and as an educational leader in his school, worked to build an inclusive environment for special needs students.

As the school’s Key Club advisor, he took pride in initiating and building a coeducational club with a focus on service in support of the Meriden community and with international causes.

David was an avid skier and sailor, spending winter weekends and vacations at his home in Vermont, his summers sailing Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay and with family on Cape Cod.

Following his retirement in 2012, David and Nena transitioned from seasonal to full-time Chester residents. David quickly became engaged in the Chester community, applying his passion for teaching, service, the environment, and technology to community groups and initiatives.

David’s career in teaching and his volunteer work before and during retirement reflected his ability to merge leadership skills with a set of core beliefs that he never lost sight of.

Even in retirement he was not far from the classroom. He spent many days and hours working with 3rd and 4th grade students at Chester-Andover Elementary School and was equally dedicated to Interact Club students at Green Mountain Union High School.

His love and respect for the environment drew him to the Chester Conservation Committee. His belief in social justice and community service led him to Chester Rotary, where he served as president in 2017, and the Chester Economic Development Committee.

In addition to his collaboration with members of the CEDC in the development and distribution of the Chester brochure and rack card, he also developed and published weekly YouTube and Instagram videos promoting Chester businesses. David was relentless in his efforts to support and promote the Chester community. He will be missed by family, friends and those in our community who knew him as a teacher, volunteer, and community advocate.

David is survived by his wife of 54 years, Nena Nanfeldt, nieces Megan Stumpf and Allison O’Neill and their families, and his brother Richard Nanfeldt and his nephew and nieces John, Deborah and Christine.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the First Universalist Parish of Chester in the spring. To honor David’s life as a teacher, activist and community volunteer, friends may donate to The Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, The World Wildlife Fund, The Vermont Foodbank or the Whiting Library in Chester.

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  1. James A Matyszyk says:

    I am deeply saddened to read of Dave’s passing. When I was a brand new teacher at Maloney High School, Dave went out of his way to make me feel welcome and to help me with any and all difficulties I encountered. Dave played a central role in some of my fondest and funniest memories from my teaching days. He was a good and loyal friend. We don’t get very many of those in a life time. I will miss you, Dave.

  2. John Holme says:

    Two people have already mentioned Dave’s kindness and compassion. I benefited from the same thing with Dave: he lifted me up when I needed a boost.
    I would also mention his enthusiasm. He was an enthusiastic leader of Rotary and he exuded enthusiasm about the outdoor life.

  3. Sarah Mosier-Filion says:

    I was one of Mr. Nandfelt’s students at Maloney. I’ll always remember him as a caring, supportive teacher, and a kind, caring man. I have no doubt he touched many students’ lives. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Wendy Schultz says:

    Dave was an excellent mentor, and the reason an Interact Club – the student arm of Rotary – was reinvigorated at GMUHS in 2017. He and his wonderful wife embody Service before Self. I will miss his warmth and quick wit.

  5. Tim Roper says:

    My condolences to all who will miss Dave. I didn’t know him well, yet his intelligence, his drive and his compassion were easy for me to see.