Nancy Gail Black Sagafi-nejad

Sagafi-nejadNancy Gail Black Sagafi-nejad, 83, on September 27, 2021, peacefully, surrounded by her husband, Tagi, and her sons, Jahan and David, in Portland, Ore. Nancy was born on December 29, 1937, in Park Falls, Wis., to Crawford Harold Black and Adaline Clara Gropp Black. She grew up primarily in Salem, Ill., and Lubbock, Tex.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.; worked at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mass.; and earned her master’s degree in art history at the University of Hawaii, which included an eight-month stint in India. Nancy served in the Peace Corps in Iran in 1966–68, teaching art history at Pahlavi University (now called Shiraz University), where she met and married Tagi Sagafi-nejad.

Nancy and Tagi moved to Philadelphia, Pa., where Nancy became a Quaker and raised Jahan and David in the Quaker spirit. Later, Nancy graduated from the University of Texas School of Law and worked as an employment discrimination and civil rights lawyer for the government and in private practice, in addition to working as a devoted homemaker.

One of Nancy’s defining features was her commitment to help bend the arc of the universe more toward justice. She spoke out and volunteered to serve immigrants, prisoners, and other marginalized people. Nancy sought to overcome bigotry, egocentrism, and jingoism by fostering the bonds that connect us, through her individual acts of kindness and decency, and through direct action on behalf of those less fortunate.

Her powerful commitment to social justice and civility in professional and personal life led Nancy to write a book, Friends at the Bar: A Quaker View of Law, Conflict Resolution, and Legal Reform (SUNY Press, 2011), exploring how Quaker values may contribute to improvements in legal practice and the impact of law on society.

Nancy loved to travel and learn about languages, history, and ideas. She was an avid fan of Jeopardy!, crosswords, classical music, limericks, and bargains.

In 2019, Nancy and Tagi moved to Eugene, Ore., and Nancy transferred her membership from Stony Run Meeting in Baltimore, Md., to Eugene Meeting. Nancy and Tagi attended meeting for worship regularly until they moved to Portland in 2020.

Nancy is survived by her husband, Tagi Sagafi-nejad; two children, Jahan Sagafi (Kristen) and David Sagafi (Audra Stewart); three grandchildren; and a sister, Susan Savage.

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