Evelyn Stefansson Nef

Evelyn Stefansson Nef was born to Hungarian-Jewish immigrants in New York in 1913, and she enjoyed a lifetime of relationships with distinctive individuals.  While still in high school, she developed a friendship with Buckminster Fuller and modeled for Isamu Noguchi.  Before she was 20, she met and married the puppeteer Bil Baird, and she assisted him in creating and performing with marionettes.  After their divorce in the mid-1930s, she pursued a singing career and performed on Broadway.  In 1939, she took a job managing the library of arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, and married him two years later, working with him on a range of projects for more than 20 years until his death.  After moving to Washington DC, she met and married art collector John Nef.  The Nefs became close friends of the Marc Chagalls, and Chagall created a mosaic for the Nefs' Georgetown home.  At the age of 60, she began training in psychotherapy, and she was a working therapist until she was 80.  She summarized her eventful life in a 2002 autobiography entitled Finding My Way.  Her tradition as an arts patron became her link to the Pillow, where she has underwritten scholarships and attended countless performances.  In 2004, she participated in a PillowTalk panel.  Evvie Nef died in December 2009 at the age of 96.