Nancy Lane Wilson died on March 11, 2018 at The Forest at Duke Retirement Community. She was 91 years old. In her final years, Nancy received a constant stream of visitors from many friends and four generations of family. Her family is especially grateful for the wonderful caregivers at The Forest at Duke.
Nancy was the state champion drummer for Massachusetts in 1941. She was a girl scout, played the trombone at Belmont High School, and was captain of the basketball team at Radcliffe College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree. On Sept 3, 1949 she married Thomas George Wilson at Harvard University’s Memorial Church. Nancy earned a Master’s degree in Physics at Johns Hopkins University and was among the first to analyze the solar spectrum from data gathered outside the earth’s atmosphere for the Naval Research Laboratory.
Nancy gave birth to her first two sons in Washington, DC and her third son in Butler, PA. In 1959 Nancy and Tom moved to Durham, where Tom served on the faculty at Duke. Nancy was an expert-level Ham radio operator and for more than thirty years designed and built precision crafted, beautifully finished cabinetry and furniture in her woodworking shop. She also worked as a draftsman at Wilmore Electronics.
A committed Christian, Nancy was active at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. There, she wrote the Church newsletter and enjoyed her Thursday night study group with good friends. Nancy was also active at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church where she served on the finance committee for many years.
Nancy was a great mom, handy at sewing, knitting, leatherwork and just about everything. She made yummy London broil, sweet and sour pork, and chocolate chip cookies (occasionally burnt). Later, she learned to make Vietnamese food for her two foster sons, Linh and Tien, whom she loved very much. From the age of three, Nancy treasured summer vacations on Mount Desert Island, Maine, surrounded by Acadia National Park and friends from the Appalachian Mountain Club. At Echo Lake Camp Nancy enjoyed calling square dances.
Nancy is survived by her three sons, Tom, Rick and Andy (and their wives, Jane, Suzanne, and Phyllis); two foster sons, Linh and Tien (and Linh’s wife Dang); five grandchildren, John, Erin, Shannon, Jennifer, and Patrick; three great grandchildren, Madelyn, Eric and Oliver; and a large, loving, extended Vietnamese foster family. Nancy was preceded in death by her husband Tom in February, 2017.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, April 7, 1:00 pm, at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1902 Perry St, Durham, followed by a reception from 2:30 to 4:00 pm, at The Forest At Duke Retirement Community, 2701 Pickett Rd, Durham. A visitation will be held Friday, April 6, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, at the Hall Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 W. Main Street, Durham. Nancy will be interred at Southwest Harbor, Maine.
Donations may be sent in Nancy’s memory to American Red Cross or Durham Rescue Mission. Flowers may be sent to Hall Wynne Funeral Service, Durham, N.C.