News From Terre Haute, Indiana


January 4, 2014

Dr. Mary Lois Nardini

(1931 – 2013)

Dr. Mary Lois (Richwine) Nardini, 82, of Terre Haute, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. Dr. Nardini was born in Evansville, to Franklin and Grace (Melone) Richwine, on Oct. 10, 1931. At age 16, Mary Lois Richwine graduated from Central High School (Evansville), and moved to Terre Haute that same year to attend Indiana Teachers College. As an undergrad, she was a member of several clubs and organizations, including Gamma Phi Beta Social Sorority and Pamarista Honor Society for Women. She also was elected her college’s Homecoming Queen in 1949. Dr. Nardini graduated with a BS degree in 1952, and returned to hometown Evansville to teach 4th grade at Henry Reis Elementary School. The following year, she returned to Terre Haute to teach 5th grade at Sandison Elementary School. Dr. Nardini completed a master’s degree at Indiana State College in 1965, and was appointed Acting Instructor of Education. Her ‘dream job’ of teaching in the School of Education at Indiana State College began that year. While balancing university teaching and family responsibilities, Dr. Nardini completed her doctoral degree at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., in 1973. At SIU, she also was a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, and Curriculum Committee Member for Media Studies. Upon her return to Indiana State University, Dr. Nardini became an Associate Professor of Graduate Education. In 1978, Dr. Nardini earned tenure as a Professor of Educational Foundations and Media Technology. At ISU, Dr. Nardini served on or headed countless committees and boards. Some of her passionate and enduring commitments included the Grants Programs, Curricular and Academic Affairs, Academic Planning, Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Awards Committee, Greek Affairs Committee, Student Organizations Committee, and Counselor for the Freshman Registration Programs. Dr. Nardini retired from Indiana State University in December 1992. Dr. Nardini’s career with ISU profoundly shaped not only her life but also the lives of the countless hundreds of college students she taught over 27 years, many of whom kept in regular professional and personal contact.  

Dr. Mary Lois Nardini’s voluminous activities and honors included: (Professional Memberships) National Association for Educational Communications and Technology; Indiana State Teachers Association; Association for Indiana Media Educators; Indiana Association for Educational Communications and Technology; Indiana Film Council; Indiana Educational Research Association; Professional Affairs Committee Chair, Membership Chair, President (1974-76), State Executive Board, State Convention Co-Chair, and Coordination Council for the Beta Omicron chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Women in Education; Kappa Delta Pi Honorary in Education; ISU Faculty Women’s Club. (Professional Service) Professional Ethics Committee, Newsletter Editor, and Delegate/Reporter for the Association for Educational Communications and Technology; International Reading Association for the Wabash Valley Reading Council; Advisory Board and Editor, Audiovisual Instruction (1974-76); Editorial Review Panel, Planning and Operating Media Centers (1976); Board of Directors, Editor, Chair, Judge and Presenter for the Indiana Association for Educational Communications and Technology (1973-1980); Guidelines Committee and Presenter for the Association for Indiana Media Educators; ISU Mortar Board Advisor; Alumni Association [various offices held], Faculty Advisor, and Outstanding Alumna (1957, 1976) for the beta pi chapter Gamma Phi Beta Social Sorority; Dr. Nardini also authored or co-authored scores of professional works, highlights including The Role of Theory and Student Characteristics in Learning the Operation of Audiovisual Equipment (1973); Fundamentals of Bulletin Board Design (with Patricia Quinett, 1979), and An At Risk Assessment: Teachers Rate Their Students on Academic Skills and Behaviors (with Dr. Richard Antes, 1991). Dr. Nardini was responsible for writing countless successful grants and proposals for the ISU College of Education and ISU. (Honors) Kappa Delta Pi Education Honorary; Alpha Phi Gamma Journalism Honorary; Pamarista Scholastic and Service Senior Honor Society; Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities; Who’s Who of American Women ; Blue Key Faculty Member, ISU; Outstanding Alumna (1975), PanHellenic Council; recipient of the Dr. Benjamin Moulton Memorial Award (2008); and Honorary Member, Order of Omega. (Civic Service) American Heart Association; Indiana Girl Scouts of America Covered Bridge Council; Indiana Elks Association Women’s Activities Committee; Indiana Republican Party ‘Woman of the Year’ (2004); Indiana Republican Precinct Committee person (1970-1978), canvasser and poll worker (until 2010); Vigo County Pachyderm Club; state representative, fund drive worker, and public relations/publicity, Vigo County Multiple Sclerosis Society; Terre Haute PanHellenic Council; board member, co-chair Christian Education Committee, and sanctuary choir member, Prairieton United Methodist Church; and many other organizations and interests.

Dr. Nardini is survived by her daughters, Lynn E. Williams (Terre Haute) and Jane A. Williams (Klaus-Dieter Wurm) (Charlotte, N. C.), and her grandchildren, Nicholas Wurm (St. Louis, Mo.) and Annika Wurm (Charlotte). She was married 1953-1978 to Daniel [Doris] Williams of Terre Haute. Dr. Nardini was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. William Nardini; and her sister, Elizabeth (Richwine) Carrico.

Dr. Nardini’s family is grateful for the extraordinary care and support Mom and our family received from Ronnie and Tammy Austin and Hands That Serve LLC, through our special friends, Aislyn, Amy Jo, Betty, Christina and Josie.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials to support Indiana State University scholarships through Foundation ISU may be made “in memory of Dr. Mary Lois Nardini.” The family is working with ISU to create a scholarship for a College of Education student at ISU who demonstrates both academic promise and financial need.

Consistent with a lifetime of bon mots and admonitions about life’s transitions which Dr. Nardini made to her children, her daughters are planning a Celebration Dinner for family and friends in springtime, when Mom can enjoy the new beginning promised by her faith and the Wabash Valley’s seasonal beauty. The family has entrusted DeBaun Funeral Homes with arrangements. Online condolences can be made at:

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