Deceased October 7, 2023

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In Memory

First, his voice—clear, deep and expressive. It broadcast his character, his concern, his delight in a story, his wide-ranging passion for life. At reunions, I sought out Chris, confident of a conversation without an awkward moment.  

Chris had a conscience, not worn on his sleeve but radiating from within. He didn’t censor our bad ideas, he just did the right thing. He went to church without making a show of it. What did show was his interest in others. When talking with Chris, you felt you were the most interesting person he could imagine. He was the more interesting for that, and you wanted to follow his lead. 

Chris Nugent '67 in the play "Hair"

Chris had more than one successful professional pursuit. With an M.A. in teaching, he taught in public schools in Chicago. In the 1970’s, he supported a maverick Democrat running for governor of Illinois, defying the Daley machine and winning. Chris held influential positions within Dan Walker’s administration, including managing the state’s unemployment program. Later, Chris found that nonprofit institutions had special insurance needs, formed his own firm and managed its success for years.  

For our 50th reunion, I assembled a panel called, derivatively, “And now for something completely different”—a discussion among classmates who had changed careers in midstream. Chris talked about his acting, appearing in not-quite-Hollywood films and plays produced by students and young people, whom he loved. His acting career was highlighted by his appearance—as Margaret Mead’s husband—in the Chicago Equity production of Hair. His great joy was sharing his life experiences with his young co-cast members. After watching several of Chris’ videos, though,  I realized I’d been had. Chris had not changed careers. He was being Chris in a different medium.  

Chris Nugent '67 with wife Prill and daughter Maggie

A friend remarked that dying in your 70’s is sad but not tragic. Chris’s passing seems more than sad to me, though. He lived his life to the fullest and left a fine legacy, but he also left us with a longing to hear him again. His spouse, Prill, survives him as does their daughter Maggie.  

Bill Fischel ’67 with Bill Shaw ’67, Bill Ryerson ’67, Carson Taylor ’67 and Prill Nugent