Lany Kristen McNutt

November 17, 1941 - June 30, 2015 

Lany Kristen McNutt

November 17, 1941 - June 30, 2015 

Obituary for Lany Kristen McNutt


Lany Kristen Wallwork McNutt, MSc, PhD, JD, former resident of Santa Cruz, California passed away at age 73 at Hospice of Northwest Ohio, in Toledo, Ohio on June 30, 2015. She was born on November 17, 1941, to Lee Holland (McElroy) and Gerald Morrell Wallwork, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kristen attended Stokes Elementary and Hillsboro High School in Nashville. She obtained her bachelor degree from Duke, her Masters from Columbia, her doctor of philosophy in biochemistry from Vanderbilt and her law degree from DePaul University. Kristen completed law school at night in 3 ½ years while working full time. She passed the New York Bar and also became a member of the bar in the District of Columbia.

While studying in Vienna, Kristen acquired her fascination with languages, and became at least minimally conversant in German, Arabic, Portuguese and Chinese. This fit with her love of travel and meeting people of different cultures. She was often a speaker at national and international meetings and symposia, using her legal forensic training to take provocative stances on policy issues in order to stimulate discussion. She traveled and worked throughout the world, including France, Israel, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Melbourne, Christ Church, China, Brazil, the Philippines and others. Her wildest trip was to Borneo, after attending a Palm Oil Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur. She crossed a major river alone in a canoe with but one guide in the middle of the night and in a rain storm, to reach her “hotel” - where she slept on a mat on the porch!

Kristen and future husband David McNutt met at Vanderbilt University in 1966. They married on September 13, 1969. The following two years, the McNutts were stationed at Air Force bases in Okinawa and Tucson. Kristen and Dave were involved in volunteer activities with Project HOPE in Natal, Brazil n 1972, and later with the Medical Reserve Corps of Santa Cruz County.

Along the way, Kristen and her husband acquired an interest in Victorian homes and furnishings. They bought a 5,000 square foot, 1890 house of ill-repute in Washington, DC early in their marriage and restored it, earning certification as an historic renovation by the US Department of the Interior. Later, they attempted the same with a 10,000 square foot 1890 Queen Anne home in Evanston, IL. However, they ran out of money when about half-completed. Altogether, they spent nearly ten years as house renovators.

Prior to incorporating her consulting firm, Consumer Choices, Inc., in 1988, Kristen held several progressively responsible positions, including a Congressional Science Fellowship with the Senate Agriculture Committee, Executive Officer of the National Nutrition Consortium in Washington, D.C.; Assistant Professor of Public Health, University of Illinois, Chicago; Associate Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute, New York; and Vice President for Consumer and Scientific Affairs, Kraft Foods, Chicago-area. She was active in many professional organizations, and served on several national governmental advisory bodies and committees.

Kristen had many publications in her bibliography including over five years of editorials in Nutrition Today, Food Engineering, and the British Nutrition Foundation Journal. They did not pay much, but they brought in clients. She was an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Food Science Technology, and together with her husband, published the college nutrition textbook, Making Food Choices. She started her own monthly publication Consumer Magazines Digest in 1989 which continued until 2011. Kristen never changed jobs again after starting her own business, and she continued to have her office in her various homes.

In mid-1991, an elective job change took the McNutts to the Ann Arbor area. For the next few years, Kristen described herself often to friends and family as a “basket case” with severe depression. She was never suicidal and, amazingly, netted more salary than any other years of the business. This depressive episode made her an advocate for those with mental health issues.

The McNutts relocated to Santa Cruz County in 2000, about an hour south of San Francisco. The icing on the cake was re-connecting with Kristen’s aunt and her clan who live in the Sacramento area. Their October family reunions for the abalone festival in Mendocino became a tradition.

One of Kristen’s favorite sayings came in a birthday card from a dear cousin. Its message is a fitting closure for the McElroy and Holland genealogy. This remains posted on Kristen’s bathroom mirror:
Not many people are lucky enough to have family ties made even stronger by friendship.

Kristen began to have respiratory problems in 2011, which gradually worsened. In early 2015 she was diagnosed with cancer of the lung. Ultimately, Kristen and her oncologist decided that she should enter Hospice Care.

We remember Kristen for her compassion and kindness to others, especially the less fortunate. She had intense dedication to whatever cause she espoused, including the cultivation and maintenance of friendships. Her ability to concentrate and to master complex subject matter e.g., biochemistry and legalese, and her memory were prodigious. We recall her beautiful smile and her infectious laughter and we are in awe of and applaud her many professional and personal achievements and triumphs. Her loving connections with her Schnauzer dogs, Hansel, Gretel and King Arthur over the past 16 years were a source of constant happiness and contentment. For more information about Kristen and her life, please visit her website at:

Kristen is survived by her husband, David R. McNutt, MD, her brother James Caleb Wallwork, MD and sister-in-law Kathryn Wallwork, of Nashville, and eight nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Thomas McNutt and sister-in-law, Lynne McNutt of Temperance, Michigan who were of incredible support for Kristen and Dave, both in Santa Cruz and in the Toledo area.

The family thanks Hospice of Northwest Ohio for the caring personal and professional support provided to Kristen during her illness.

Kristen did not want a funeral or memorial service, and she chose to have her remains cremated. Those wishing to memorialize Kristen may make a contribution to their preferred charity in her name. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Ansberg-West Funeral Directors, 419-472-7633. To send her family online condolences, please visit

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