In memoriam: Nanci S. Klein (1942-2005)

Nanci S. Klein was the Executive Director of the Oakland Mediation Center at the time of her untimely death in 2005. She earned her JD from Wayne State University Law School and attended both the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Michigan as an undergrad. She was in private practice for years before discovering her passion in mediation. As a mediator and trainer, she was instrumental in the advocating for the importance of mediation, both within and outside of the judicial system. In addition to being instrumental in writing Michigan’s court rule on mediation, she worked with Michigan’s Supreme Court to promote mediation across the state, developed peer mediation programs in schools, trained peer mediators throughout Oakland County, and trained mediators for court appointments.

In her private life, she was a devoted wife to Coleman, was a proud mother of two sons (Michael and Jeffrey), and a loving grandmother to two grandchildren (Jacob and Julie). She was a world traveler, a gifted weaver and artist, and a fierce friend who loved to share her passions with everyone she came into contact with. Her enthusiasm was contagious and, once she set her mind to something, she was unstoppable. After the birth of her granddaughter, she arranged her work schedule so that she could fit a full work week into four days so she could spend every Friday with her granddaughter, Julie. Despite only working four days, Oakland Mediation Center flourished under her visionary leadership. She was a remarkable person who was able to not only balance her work and family lives, but was able to achieve extraordinary things in both.

Her legacy is honored every year by the State Bar of Michigan’s Alternative Dispute Resolution section with the Nanci S. Klein Award, which is presented in recognition of exemplary programs, initiatives, and leaders in the field of community dispute resolution.

She is missed terribly.

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