She was born March 18, 1941, in Baltimore to Ann Cochran and Redmond Cunningham Stewart Jr. She attended Garrison Forest School in Baltimore where a recently discovered report card deemed her efforts to be “E for Excellent.”
She went on to Foxcroft School in Virginia, where she earned the esteemed nickname “Giddy Gill” from her friends for being an easy giggle. She completed her education at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
It soon became clear that she preferred the three-rail fence to the classroom. She became the Master of Foxhounds for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds, her great-uncle’s pack. Nina fell head over heels in love with timber racing.
Haffaday was her first experience with timber, owned by her father and ridden by her then-husband, Paddy Neilson. Remarkably, all of her children won the Maryland Hunt Cup.
Throughout her life, she was a ferocious competitor. She was a national tennis champion in her class and was a top golfer at the Northeast Harbor and Wilmington Country Clubs. She reached record-breaking vertical mileage while helicopter skiing in British Columbia. Just this past winter, she earned her 6 millionth-foot suit, skiing out in the Selkirk range.
Nina spent her summers in Northeast Harbor, Me., where she captained her beloved Bugaboo. In the Somes Sound boating circles, she was known for navigating through thick fog with an upside-down GPS system, mooning the Coast Guard for kicks, and skinny-dipping in broad daylight in 40-degree water. She enjoyed overnighting on islands off the coast of Acadia, both legally and illegally.
She will be remembered for her passion for adventure. She brought excitement and joy to all those who were lucky enough to be touched by her glowing warmth. The most important things to her were her children and her friends, to whom she was fiercely loyal.
Nina is survived by three children: Katherine Neilson of Unionville, Pa., and her children, Skylar, Nina, and Max McKenna; Sanna Hendriks and husband Ricky of Coatesville, Pa., and their children, Liza, McClane, Parker, and Natalie Hendriks; and Redmond Stewart and wife, Liz, of South Portland, Me., and their children, Cody and Redmond Sage Strawbridge.
She is also survived by her sisters Ann Stewart of Cockeysville, Md., and Kathy Ingalls of Cleveland, Ohio. She is predeceased by her brother, Redmond Cunningham Stewart III.
Her ashes will be scattered at the places she loved most in this world: the pond by her home in Pennsylvania, Somes Sound in Northeast Harbor, and on top of the Selkirk range in British Columbia.
A celebration in her honor will be held at 11 a.m.on Sunday, July 1, down by the pond at 196 Greenlawn Road, Cochranville.