NANCY CROCKER O’DELL
Nancy Crocker O’Dell, 78, died Thursday in her home at 706 East Main Street after a long illness.
Her family remembers her as someone who loved the holiday season, loved telling the story about her father and uncles climbing to the roof to ring bells for the children, loved reading devotions by candlelight during Advent, loved choosing gifts for her family and friends and hosting the family get-together at Christmas. Nancy, in the words of the old writers, kept Christmas well, and it is fitting that she passed from this world on Christmas Eve.
Her home, though, was a place open to people throughout the year. Her children remember that when they were teenagers, she threw birthday parties where everyone was welcome. In fact, visitors were always welcome to her and Barry’s home. Eventually, Nancy did agree to put a sleigh bell on her front door so that she would know when people were entering.
Nancy loved the written word, whether she was reading a good book, encouraging others to write, or writing herself. She often wrote poetry late into the night, finding it a time to explore her thoughts about her children, her own childhood, her community, her faith, and death and dying. She had been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease when she was in her 20s but continued to be a source of comfort and inspiration to family and friends.
She was raised in the First Presbyterian Church in Union, where she was baptized and married, saw two of her children married, and mourned the deaths of parents and siblings. In fact, her family settled in the county with a group of Presbyterians who arrived from Pennsylvania in the 1750s. In a wrenching decision for her, Nancy withdrew her membership from the local church when it removed itself from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) over the issue of same-sex marriage. Nancy spoke out fiercely against injustice and believed Black Lives Matter, that children shouldn’t be separated from their parents for political gain, and that we should protect others by wearing masks. She never left her Christian faith or the national church.
Nancy is survived by her husband of 59 years Barry L. O’Dell, daughters Darlene O’Dell and Janine Lehane, Kimberly Winslow and her husband Bill, Nancy O’Dell-Keim and her husband Scott, and grandchildren Elizabeth and Dennis Fleming, Jake and Bryce Keim, Alex Winslow, and brother Donald Crocker and his wife Jean.
She is preceded in death by her parents Raymond H. Crocker and Ola Nichols Crocker and siblings Jenny Myrle Crocker, Raymond “Sonny” Crocker, Reverend William “Larry” Crocker, Jerry “Nick” Crocker, and Judith Ann Crocker. She leaves behind multiple nieces and nephews whom she adored.
The family is grateful for the compassionate services of MSA Hospice and for those who cared for Nancy during her final years and who became some of her dearest friends.
A memorial service will be held in the spring. Memorials may be made to Neighbor Helping Neighbor, c/o David Turner, 154 Santuc Drive, Union, SC 29379.
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