Nancy Whitaker's Story

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Nancy Whitaker Spofford of Wenham died on Saturday, February 11, with her six children at her side. She was born on May 20, 1926, to Stella (Shepard) and Howard W. Whitaker in Hartford, Conn., and soon moved to West Medford, Mass. Nancy attended Medford schools and was a proud graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., where she was to celebrate her 70th reunion in May.
With her husband, Bob, Nancy raised her six kids and a menagerie of animals in the big gray house at Four Corners on Larch Row. She instilled in her children an appreciation of nature and a lifelong devotion to the Red Sox. She encouraged her children in all their interests and athletic endeavors, starting on the backyard ball field and skating ponds and through many years of organized sports. She put thousands of miles on her station wagons carting kids around the North Shore. Starting at the age of five, Nancy always had at least one cat. Her last cat, “Miss Tiggy,” never left her side through her brief illness.
A 65 year resident of Wenham, Nancy strongly believed in community service, and she contributed to the town in many ways, official and unofficial. When her children were young, she volunteered in the Buker School library, served as a Wenham Library trustee and was active in the Wenham Village Improvement Society. Later in life she delivered Meals on Wheels, served on the board of the Wenham Housing Authority during the construction of Enon Village and chaired the board of the Wenham Council of Aging during the beginning of the van program, where she later became a frequent rider. Nancy looked remarkably similar to a certain “Mrs. Claus,” who visited with many children at Christmas time at the Wenham Library. Nancy taught by example as a lifelong volunteer, generous and kind neighbor and friend. She took a genuine interest in people of all ages and was quick to have a conversation.
Nancy loved her sprawling extended family. She was a wonderful and supportive mother to Susan (Michael Neary), Bob (Merry Hutter), Josh, Elizabeth (Tom Mechem), Tom (Shana Olsen) and Andrew. She was a fun-loving grandmother to Jeremiah (Veronica), Caroline, Lucas, Jack, Noah, Tess, Louisa and Fritz and proud great-grandmother to Luka and Syria. She also leaves two daughters-in-law, Claire and Lee and several nieces and nephews. Nancy was predeceased by her sister and brother-in-law, Marie and Lester Gustin; her brother and sister-in-law, Frank and Nan Abbott; and daughter-in-law, Barbara Reed.
In her later years, Nancy was faced with failing vision due to macular degeneration. Despite this, she never lost her great sense of humor, her love of learning and her desire to remain current with the times. She was especially grateful for two organizations that aided in her enjoyment of her later life, the library at the Perkins School for the Blind for their talking books program and the Wenham Council on Aging for their transportation service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to either organization.
A memorial service will be held at First Church in Wenham later in the spring. Arrangements by the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly. Contributions may be made in her name to Perkins School for the Blind, perkins.org/library, 175 North Beacon Street Watertown, MA 02472 or NWS Van Go Fund, Wenham Council on Aging, 10 School Street, Wenham MA 01984. Information, directions, condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com.
Published on  February 24, 2017
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