Judy Bingman

Judy Bingman with her award-winning photograph of Mt. McKinley

Judith H. Payran Bingman died on Dec. 15, 2019, at age 79. She was born in Middletown, New York. Her family moved to Vallejo when she was a young girl. She attended high school in Vallejo, where she met and continued a lifelong friendship with NorCal President Dorothy Atkins.

Judy retired from a teaching career in physical education and as a band instructor. She and her husband, Jim, who predeceased her, lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains close to nature. No doubt the earthy living spurred her on with her next adventures after retirement.

She approached everything with a “let’s do it” attitude. She loved promoting the NLAPW and was a member of the Santa Clara County Branch since 2003. Judy served as president and vice president of the branch, as well as vice president of NorCal. Her exuberance was catching and she was a great promoter of the branch, bringing in many members, myself being one of them.

I don’t think anyone truly knew the extent of her talents. She was a licensed pilot, accomplished skier, docent at Ano Nuevo State Park and a member of the San Jose Wind Symphony and several local bands. Judy had many interests, but what the Santa Clara County Branch knew her for was her saxophone playing and nature photography.

Judy loved attention and was a great spokesperson for Pen Women, as well as for her photography. She professed to not being able to write her stories down, but she had no problem at all taking center stage and telling you about them.

She was without a doubt one of the best storytellers I have known. She engaged her audience. When she talked about her Antarctica trip, smelling “that polar bear’s breath,” or staring down the eyes of the python snake in Panama, you were there with her.

One of her proudest moments was winning the 2006 Vinnie Ream award with her photograph of Mt. McKinley. Judy Bingman, affectionately known as Bing, was a character and someone we all were proud to know. Several of her photographs reside in the Pen Arts building to be viewed by all who pass through the doors.

—Submitted by Patricia Dennis


Nancy Bloomer Deussen

Feb 1, 1931-Nov.16, 2019

Nancy-Bloomer-DeussenNancy Bloomer Deussen died at the age of 88. In those 88 years, she became one of the most prolific composers in recent history, composing music up until this very year for musical groups of all sizes. She was a music educator, nightclub pianist, piano tuner, and piano accompanist for many years. Nancy was a leader in the community, heading up the first Bay Area chapter of composers organization NACUSA.

Nancy was the recipient of many awards, including the Bay Area Composer’s symposium Performance Award for her orchestral piece, “Reflections on the Hudson,” Peninsula Community Foundation grantee, Arts Council Silicon Valley grantee and first-prize winner for “Woodwind Quintet,” among others. She also won every award possible with the National League of American Pen Women, Inc.

Nancy didn’t start her career until she was in her 50s and she started it in an era that did not recognize women composers. Well, they didn’t know Nancy. She refused to give up. She possessed an inner strength and a belief that we all have the ability to overcome whatever challenges life may bring us. She believed that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and she proved that repeatedly in her own life.

Nancy was heavily involved with our local Santa Clara County Branch of the NLAPW, and repeatedly amazed us all with her constant stream of awards, and, of course, the sound of her beautiful music. She served on the scholarship committee for years as the music chair. She had high standards and felt that the scholarship should only be for composers.

She was firm in her beliefs but she proved that she was open to change. In 2019, Nancy agreed that the branch scholarship should be available to performers as well as composers. Thank you, Nancy, for your many years of service.

—Submitted by Patricia Dennis

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