Nina Murano, whose wry wit and outspoken political views delighted some and upset others, died on April 30 on Vashon Island, WA. The cause was a combination of several chronic conditions, among them Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. She was 82.
Nina’s life was a whirlwind of crusades such as the placement of The Vashon Library at Ober Park and passions such as Early Music. She took the rallying slogan of the 1960s, “the personal is political,” and turned it on its head: “The political is personal.” Every historical event trumped the mundane details of daily life.
Nina took great pride in her arrest and time in jail for civil disobedience against the Bangor Submarine Base. She was also an avid traveler and especially enjoyed study trips to Latin America, including the Women’s Caravan to Central America in 1989. In her fifties, Nina went back to school to become a teacher, believing that this was the most “political” thing she could do. Her blunt style caused many difficulties in her pursuit of a teaching certificate, but she persevered, doggedly, and eventually taught for many years, including as a substitute on Vashon Island.
Nina was born on February 16, 1935, to a wealthy, conservative family in St. Charles, MO. Her father, Dr. Benedict Neubeiser, was the town doctor, for whom a wing of the local hospital was named. Her mother, the former Ruth Ellis, dedicated herself to “keeping up appearances.” Nina, the fourth of six children, was born shortly after the eldest child, Benny, had died of pneumonia. Despite her upbringing, Nina thrived in rebellion.
Nina got her high school diploma from Mary Institute in St. Louis, a Bachelor’s from Cornell University, a Master’s from the University of Minnesota and was studying for a doctorate in English from the UW when she met Robert Murano, also a graduate student. Bob was playing guitar when they met at a party. They were married in 1962.
In 1972 Nina and Bob moved to Vashon Island, living in Lisabuela before purchasing their family home and small farm on the Westside two years later. Nina was an island fixture and made numerous connections through artistic and social justice undertakings.
Playing music together would be a theme throughout Bob and Nina’s 54-year marriage. Nina had many creative endeavors, among them gardening, working in clay and singing with The Raging Grannies. However, her highest priority was playing Early Music (written between the Middle Ages and 1750) on period instruments. She was well known and respected in the Early Music community for her commitment and devotion to the music.
She is survived by her sister, Marcia Lambeth, of Peoria, AZ; her beloved husband, Bob, who cared for her tenderly throughout the years of her illnesses; her children Deirdre, Joe and Anna-Marie; and her granddaughters Maggie and Elizabeth.
A Memorial Service in Nina’s honor will be held on Saturday 10 June at 10:30 at The Church of the Holy Spirit, 15420 Vashon Hwy SW, Vashon Island, WA.
Nina’s friends are encouraged to contribute to whatever cause most moves them
in the field of social justice.