Nancy Hindman Wayson, creator, owner and manager of Chez La Mer restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, passed away peacefully at a hospice center in Newark Wednesday, July 28, 2021, a few weeks after sustaining a head injury from a fall. She was 76 years old.
Nancy was born in Washington, D.C., to Thomas A.N. Hindman and Margaret (Finegan) Hindman, and grew up in Kensington, Md. At an early age, Nancy developed a lifelong passion for music, food, politics and friends. She had a lovely soprano voice and a quick, beautiful smile, combined with an infectious personality. Nancy’s memory for names, faces, lyrics and recipes was legendary. She attended Dunbarton College and graduated with honors from the University of Maryland with a degree in Russian history.
Nancy was a foodie before it was fashionable, and had a lifelong passion for the food and culture of southern France. While working as an aide for Congressman William Stanton in the late 1960s, she led her coworkers on dinner outings to try out the latest chefs. Known for entertaining friends and family with her legendary recipes for bouillabaisse and pâté, she started Chez La Mer in 1980, and it became a popular, award-winning French restaurant and landmark in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
After her retirement in 2007, Nancy continued with her yearly trips to visit friends in Puerto Rico and volunteered for a local thrift shop and Meals on Wheels. She was known for her warmth, her wit, her stories and her good humor.
She is preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Tom Hindman. She is survived by Thomas Wayson of Rehoboth Beach; her sister Mary Jane Dorr of Rockville, Md.; her brothers Don Hindman of Woodstock, Va., and Nick Hindman of Brookings, Ore.; several nieces and nephews; and many people in the restaurant community who became lifelong friends.
As per Nancy’s wishes, her cremated ashes will be interred next to her parents in Parklawn Cemetery, Rockville. A Celebration of Life memorial will be held in Lewes, Thursday afternoon, Oct. 7.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Nancy’s name to Meals on Wheels.