This past Sunday, after a three-year battle with ALS, Natalia Hanks passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Born in Washington, D.C., on July 2, 1950, to Fila and Sonia Krawec, Natalia grew up in the tight Washington Ukranian community. She graduated from Calvin Coolidge High School in 1967 and received a BA in history from Averett College in Virginia in 1972. Returning to the D.C. area, Natalia took graduate courses in city planning while working for various government agencies, including Voice of America, the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Arts. While browsing in the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in August 1978, she met Clyde Hanks. They married in 1980.
Natalia and Clyde raised their three daughters, Katharine, Alana and Christine, while living in Silver Spring, Md., Ridgefield and Farmington, Conn., and Bloomfield Hills, Mich. As the girls grew, Natalia was energetically involved in their numerous school, Girl Scout, church, musical and sports endeavors, usually organizing everyone else to support the activities.
Natalia started her career in nonprofit development in 1998 at the Cranbrook Science Museum in Michigan and continued with Aid to Artisans (2001) in Hartford, Conn. Just after her youngest daughter Christine left for college, Natalia took a position as director of development and membership services for the Vail Valley Foundation. That role brought Clyde and Natalia to the Vail Valley in February 2004.
In mid-2005, Natalia moved to the role as director of development for the Walking Mountains Science Center where her organizing skills and love of event planning helped the center fund and build its new campus in Avon. Walking Mountains’ mission was a perfect fit for Natalia’s love of the natural environment.
Natalia’s passion for the great outdoors manifest in numerous hut overnights, mountain treks, raft trips and mushrooming forays with friends, family and colleagues. Few who ever hiked with her could match her pace, but she always waited patiently for them to catch up. After a vigorous outing, Natalia’s gourmet cooking skills would provide a warm setting for great food and wine, love, laughter and stories.
Natalia is survived by her mother, Sonia Krawec; sister Oksana Snow; husband Clyde; daughters Alana, Christine and Katharine Loveland; and her husband Adam. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by her many friends, family and colleagues near and far.
A memorial service and celebration of her life is planned for all who can attend on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Beaver Creek Chapel in Beaver Creek, followed by a reception at the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon at 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Natalia Hanks School Programs Fund at Walking Mountains Science Center, www.walkingmountains.org, or mailed to PO Box 9469, Avon, CO 81620. This fund supports the participation by school children in Walking Mountains’ hands-on science and environmental education programs.