Finance office employee remembered as ‘avid dancer,’ admired by co-workers

Media Credit: Courtesy of Laura Bannister.

Nancy Bannister, a dancer and Zumba instructor, worked in the University's finance office for more than 15 years. She died of bile duct cancer on Dec. 27.

Nancy Bannister, a longtime employee of the University’s finance office and a lifelong dancer, died Dec. 27. She was 54 years old.

Nancy Bannister was diagnosed with a “really rare” form of bile duct cancer on Jan. 3, 2013, her sister, Laura Bannister, said. She worked in GW’s finance office for more than 15 years, most recently as a budgetary control analyst, the Washington Post reported.

Laura Bannister described her younger sister as an “avid dancer” who was known for her curly hair and wide smile.

“We were always best friends,” said Laura Bannister, who called her sister “Boo.”

Nancy Bannister loved cooking, music and was a certified Zumba instructor.

“She was going to teach aquatic Zumba classes. She wanted to develop something in the pool for old people since we’re all headed that way,” Laura Bannister said.

She said her sister also loved her work at GW and her co-workers “covered her back” while she was sick.

“Her employees in her group got her a laptop so she could work at home. They spoke with her every day without fail, not to just talk about work but to ask how she was doing. They checked on me and would bring over food,” Laura Bannister said. “I’ve never known such a generous workplace.”

Vice President for University Human Resources Sabrina Ellis described Nancy Bannister as having “a genuine smile and sunny disposition” in a message to administrators.

Nancy Bannister was born in Baltimore and lived in Burke, Va. Before coming to GW, she graduated from George Mason University with a degree in economics.

She had held a series of odd jobs, like running the elevator inside the Washington Monument and conducting Fourth of July fireworks shows, according to her obituary. She also worked at the National Park Service and student-loan company Sallie Mae, the Post reported.

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