When Nancy Robbins gave birth to her daughter, she knew she wanted her name to stay in the family, but she didn’t want to stick her child with a junior at the end of her name.
So instead, she changed the “y” in Nancy to an “i.”
“One of her biggest sources of joy and pride was her family,” said her daughter Nanci DePasquale. “Her family lovingly and fondly called her Nana. An hour with her, and you would come away feeling loved, understood and inspired.”
And the name carries on a legacy of acting in community theater for more than 20 years along with the award of best actress from the McKeesport Little Theater.
Nancy Stupakoff Robbins, 88, of Greensburg died Saturday, July 27, 2019, in her home surrounded by family.
Born in Pittsburgh on Jan. 19, 1931, she was the daughter of Semon Henry Stupakoff and Martha Banker Stupakoff.
Mrs. Robbins started her acting career at a young age, quickly becoming involved in music and theater. That passion led her to be a member of the Ligonier Valley Players, the Greensburg Civic Theater, the Saint Vincent Summer Theater and the Apple Hill Playhouse.
She received her best actress awards for her role as Dolly in the musical “Hello Dolly” and as Mama Rose in the musical “Gypsy.” She was also a pianist and composer.
Her passion followed her through life. She would help host fundraisers put on by the Latrobe Presbyterian Church and the Latrobe Area Hospital, performing in “Oklahoma,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “The Follies.”
She encouraged her grandchildren to follow their passions through music, DePasquale said.
Growing up, Mrs. Robbins spent most of her time working at her family’s store, Stupakoff Ceramics, which opened in Latrobe in the late 1930s. The store became a staple during World War II, when family members would send ceramic supplies to help manufacture products for war, granddaughter Molly Protosow said.
“Through the years the family business employed thousands of people in the community,” DePasquale said. “This influenced her love of community service and helping others.”
The store closed in the 1990s.
Mrs. Robbins was a natural born leader and businesswoman, DePasquale said. She spent a lot of her time attending the New Stanton Assembly of God church.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John S. Robbins.
In addition to DePasquale and Protosow, Mrs. Robbins is survived by her children Lynn Smolka and James Robbins and his wife, Kate; and seven grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home, 1500 Ligonier St., Latrobe. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Unity Chapel, 114 Chapel Lane, Latrobe. Private interment will be in Homewood Cemetery.