The 30-year-old resident of Salem, Mass., was remembered after her unexpected death for her creativity and her devotion to family.
“She had the best personality,” her mother Paula Barry said through tears on Sunday. “She was just the kind of person who went out of her way to be good to everybody. And she just had the most beautiful blue eyes and smile.”
Barry worked for lingerie maker Jacalyn E. S. Bennett and Company as a fashion designer and had previously designed apparel for New Balance.
She was artistic from a young age, her mother said.
“From day one, little girls were playing with their dolls and Nancy would be designing the clothes,” Paula Barry said.
Barry’s great-aunt Anne Marie J. St. Pierre said that Barry was part of a “very, very, very close-knit family.” The clan is abundant—Barry’s grandfather was one of 19 siblings, and most of their descendants still live in Salem.
At family gatherings, Barry provided the homemade cakes.
Barry was particularly close to her sister, her only sibling.
“Every time you saw her, she was with her sister,” St. Pierre recalled. “They were bound at the hip.”
Barry was also a favorite with her sister’s two young sons, for whom she sewed Halloween outfits and special costumes that the boys dreamed up for their make-believe games.
St. Pierre said that Barry was “150 percent devoted” to the two boys. She saw them about four days a week, according to her mother, and made sure never to miss one of their youth hockey games.
When Barry attended the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she called her grandmother every morning while walking to class and every night before bed, Paula Barry said. After graduating from college in 2003, she continued to call regularly. She phoned her grandmother on Friday night before heading down to Yale early Saturday morning.
At Salem High School, Barry was a varsity athlete in soccer, gymnastics, and track who graduated sixth in her class.
“She was very intelligent, with a warm personality—a popular girl who did well in school and was involved in athletics,” said David J. Angeramo, who is now the principal of Salem High School and taught Barry in his calculus class. “She was just a pleasure to teach. You knew she was going to go on and be successful and have a great life.”