Nancy M. Petry

Nancy M. Petry, Ph.D, 49, of Canton, beloved wife of William B. White, MD, Professor of Medicine in the Calhoun Cardiology Center and Editor-in-Chief of the medical journal, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors died on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 of breast cancer.

Born in Aberdeen, S. D., she was the daughter of Jerome Petry of Charlotte, N.C. and the late Esther (Nordby) Petry. Nancy was raised in Jamestown, N.Y. and left to attend Randolph-Macon College in Lynchburg, Va. She joined the faculty of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 1996 after receiving her Ph.D from Harvard University and completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont School of Medicine in clinical addiction research.

She became an academic superstar at the UConn School of Medicine as she developed unique methodologies to treat addictive disorders with a treatment known as contingency management. She received two accelerated promotions and after only six years on the faculty was the youngest full professor with tenure in the history of the School at age 34.

Nancy was internationally known for her work in behavioral treatments and impulsivity disorders. During her career at UConn she garnered over $40 million in funding as a principal investigator from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), wrote and published over 300 original articles and single-handedly wrote a number of books in the areas of pathological gambling, contingency management and internet gaming disorders.

Nancy was very proud that her proven methods to treat addiction disorders from her NIH trials were successfully disseminated to the Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers across the U.S. and over a multi-year period showed large successes of contingency management in real world practice. She always said that it was one of the largest translational demonstration projects in the field of experimental psychology. Despite her enormous successes during her career, Nancy was very modest and willing to mentor and help others in their careers. She trained a large number of post-doctoral fellows during her 22 years on the faculty, many of whom became successful faculty members at academic institutions around the country.

Besides her husband Billy, she leaves a 7-year-old son Noah A. White and a 9- year-old daughter Hannah E. White both at home; two step daughters Marte Ostvik-de Wilde and her husband Ari of Manchester and Elin Ostvik-White and her husband Joshua Indeck of Amesbury, Mass.; a step son Bjornulf Ostvik-White and his wife Laura of Burlington; step grandchildren Lukas, Sarah, Maya, and Kristian; three brothers Jeffrey Petry and his wife Linda of Davidson, N.C., Mark Petry and his wife Amber of Washington, D.C., and Eric Petry and his wife Krista of Ashville, N.Y. and nephews and nieces Andrew, Anna, Chloe, Abigail, Collin, Clara and Luke. Nancy’s daughter Hannah developed type 1 diabetes at the age of 1 and Nancy became a ‘clinical expert’ in her management while maintaining a busy academic career.

Hence, in lieu of flowers or any material items of any kind to the family, please send donations in Nancy’s honor to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, 20 Batterson Park Road, #302, Farmington, CT 06032. A Memorial Service in Celebration of Nancy’s Life will be held, Sunday, July 29, 2018, at 11 a.m. at The Belle Ballroom at the North House, 1 Nod Road, Avon. Rabbi Rebekah Goldman will officiate. A reception will follow the service. The Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center of Avon is caring for the arrangements. For directions or condolences please visit