Nancy Ellen Black passed away peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family on November 18, 2021.
Nancy was born in Athens, Ohio to Wilbur and Wanda Martin. During the 1930s, her parents spent their summers in Quebec on Lake Pemichangan, in a cottage built by Wilbur. Her parents first brought her to the lake shortly after she was born and she continued spending summers there throughout her life. She deeply loved the lake and developed lifelong friendships there.
In Athens, Nancy attended Ohio University and earned two degrees, a B.M. and M.M. in piano performance. It was there that she met her future husband Don Black, who was also studying music at OU. After a two-month courtship, which included a 20-below-zero Christmas trip to the lake, they were married on January 27, 1957 – a union that lasted 65 years. After their first son Tod Alexander was born, Don’s career as a music teacher took them to Texas. While in Texas, they welcomed another son, Randall Christopher, and a daughter, Tamara Joy. In 1968, they settled in Winchester, both taking faculty positions at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. Nancy taught piano classes, private lessons, and frequently performed as recital accompanist and rehearsal pianist for opera productions, all while raising three children and continuing summer trips to Canada.
Nancy’s love of life and endless curiosity infected us all. While driving in the country, if she saw an overgrown dirt road or an abandoned house, she would squeal with excitement and take us exploring. Indulging her sense of adventure, the family moved to a 200-year-old farmhouse outside of town for several years. There, she planted a garden, kept bees, cleared debris, had giant dogs and even bought a pony with pink eye from a local yard sale. She canned veggies, bought raw milk from local dairies, made bread and tried recipes for everything from fiddle heads and cattail pollen pancakes to milkweed pods and sumac juice.
After moving back to town, she continued her passion for gardening and deepened her religious studies. The arrival of grandchildren brought a new generation for her to lead on adventures. She taught Sunday school and created activities for Ashley, Hunter and many other children, even writing plays and turning the family living room into a stage set. She was genuinely interested in people and had a way of making others feel special and important, no matter what their age.
Two months before she passed, she was able to make one last trip with her family to her beloved Lake Pemichangan.
Nancy is survived by her husband Don; sons Tod Black (Kim) of Jacksonville, NC and Randy Black (Vivian) of San Diego, CA; grandchildren, Ashley and Hunter Black; brother, Robert S. Martin (Wendy Keller) of Hudson, NH and Port Orange, FL and nieces, Stacy Martin Hansen and Saraday Martin Yockel.
Nancy is preceded in death by her parents and daughter Tamara “Tammy” Black.
A visitation will be Friday, November 26, 2021 at 3pm with a service following at 4pm, held at Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel.
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