Nancy Deniese James, 63, of Beckley, W.Va., passed away Sunday, July 23, 2017, in Harrisonburg, Va.
Born Sept. 1, 1953 in Pax, W.Va., Nancy was the fourth of the late Oscar and Jessie Deal's five children.
Often referred to as "Sweet Nancy," she was a beloved mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend to all.
Nancy did not have a mean bone in her body, although in recent years she finally gained the ability to stand up for herself when needed. This often yielded funny results, as it surprised not only everyone who knew her, but also Nancy herself.
A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, she worked as a nurse in Beckley for more than 20 years, and when her mother began her long battle with Alzheimer's, she dedicated her life as her caretaker and personal nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
And, a year after her mother passed away, Nancy, widowed in 2000, put on a brave face and sought a new future, enrolling at Mountain State University, just weeks before her 54th birthday.
Finally, after surviving algebra, anatomy and "Love in the Time of Cholera," in May 2010, Nancy walked across the stage, grabbed her diploma and proudly flipped her tassel, receiving an associate's degree in Occupational Therapy.
Although filled with love for the mountains, Nancy spent the remainder of her life traveling for work, first stopping in Morristown, Tenn., nearby her oldest daughter Kelli and grandchildren, and then venturing to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Newport News, Richmond and finally in Harrisonburg.
Oh, how she loved her mountains though and she was looking forward to retirement and moving back home, close to her youngest daughter Michelle and her sisters, in September.
In addition to her parents, Nancy was preceded in death by her husband Richard Kim James, and her brother, Jeff Deal.
Left to cherish her memory are daughters Michelle James (Jonathan Hanna), of Frankford, W.Va., and Kelli Deal Workman (Michael), of New Market, Tenn.; granddaughters Aliana Maynard (James), of Dandridge, Tenn. and Cassandra Strange (Chris), of Talbott, Tenn.; and great-grandchildren JJ and Milliee Maynard of Dandridge, Tenn., and Anakin Strange of Talbott, Tenn. Nancy also leaves behind her beloved sisters Carolyn Davis (James), of Mabscott, W.Va., Peggy Sparacino (Wayne Hanna), of Beckley, W.Va., and Kathy Morris (Scott), of Beckley, W.Va.; great-aunt Sue Lafferty, of Stanaford, and great-uncle, Roy Donnell, of Lester, as well as a mountain of nieces and nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.
She will also be missed tremendously by her kitty son, "Baxter" Boo George, who she loved dearly and protected fiercely. The newest addition, Birdie, was a work in progress.
Although "Love in the Time of Cholera," was not her favorite book by any means, Nancy was an avid reader, even through her many migraine headaches. And it came as no surprise that when Jesus called her name, she was wearing her glasses and had her Kindle beside her.
Her family will miss her calming and soothing voice and the way she could make the darkest day seem better. Michelle will need to learn to set an alarm clock, as her mom served as that each and every day the first of their 10 daily calls.
But in the past year, Nancy fought off pneumonia and sometimes relied on oxygen. She is free of that now and is reunited with those she's lost. And one day, she will be reunited with those who now mourn her here.
Upon her wishes, "Sweet Nancy" our mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and our "Pearl" will be cremated.
A visitation with family and friends will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017, at Rose and Quesenberry Peace Chapel in Beckley and will be followed at 4 p.m. by a memorial service.
Published on July 25, 2017