Obituary: Nancy Rubin, longtime employee, 58

Nancy Rubin, longtime administrative assistant in the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died of cardiac arrest Saturday, June 27, 2020, at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. She was 58.


Born in St. Louis in 1962, Rubin was raised in Kirkwood and Washington, Mo. A linguistics major at Stanford University, she was active with several campus organizations. She also studied overseas, in Costa Rica, Vienna and the former Soviet Union. After graduation in 1984, she joined the Washington University staff, serving as an administrative assistant in the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences and the McKelvey School of Engineering before joining the art history department. She retired in 2018.

Rubin is survived by her husband, Alex; sons, Nick and Andrew; stepmother, Lauretta Macdonald; siblings Susan Macdonald Bray, Sara Cunningham and Stuart Macdonald; and stepsister, Julia Conway. There will be a private family ceremony. A memorial service at Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, where Rubin served on the board of directors, will take place when it is possible to safely assemble.

Read the family’s obituary online.

To honor Rubin’s memory, the art history department has founded the Nancy Rubin Above and Beyond Award, which will recognize a current graduate student for fostering a supportive and productive climate. Donations to the award fund may be made online at, or mailed to Washington University; University Advancement; c/o Becky Pitzer; MSC 1082; 1 Brookings Dr.; St. Louis, MO, 63130. (Enter “Nancy Rubin Memorial Award” in the memo line, or the online box that says “I prefer to enter my own designation.”)

The department also invites staff, faculty and students to submit a statement or memory about Rubin and her many contributions to campus life. Comments (up to 100 words) may be sent to Betha Whitlow, curator of visual resources, at

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