I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida to Rayburn B. (Boone) Henley and Lillian V. Henley. My dad wanted to name me Florida (ugh), my sister chose Nancy. My mother thought she was too old to have a child (32) and the doctor told her to “treat her like a flower” so she put me out in the yard in a buggy often. We spent winter in Florida, summer in Indiana. When I was six, we stopped going to Florida and we settled in Straughn, Indiana. I was 10 years old when WWII started. While staying with friends, I played a song on the piano; so, in 1943 my parents decided I needed a piano. I took lessons and my mother made me practice daily. I became quite good at it but only played for myself; I hated recitals. My friend, Sara Cummins, and I pretended to be WACS and spies; we rode stick horses and finally real horses. I was a tomboy. Horses were my total life until I was 17.
At 17, I began taking the interurban from Straughn to Indianapolis and attended a finishing school; I began a short modeling career in the tearoom at the William H. Block Co. department store, which was across the street from the interurban station. I was selected Queen of the Armed Forces Reserve in Indianapolis, which was the end of my short pageant career. During the year after graduation form Straughn High School, I met Freddie Fowler and we were married October 8, 1950. Little did I know that my working career was over; “no wife of mine will work:” that’s the way it often was in the 1950’s.
Our long marriage produced 4 children – who I learned to love and love deeply! (Motherhood was never my goal.) We built 3 homes in Cambridge City, 3 homes in Richmond, one in Sanibel, Florida and another in Noblesville. I loved being on the water, although I had a fear of drowning, which I vowed to not pass onto my children. The last three homes were entirely of my creation; in my next life, I will be an architect. I carried my love of horses throughout my life, especially Revel. I was raised to be industrious. honest, courteous. patriotic and loyal; I worked to pass that on to my children and was moderately successful. A lifetime of debilitating migraines led me to life-long learning, spiritual seeking, thriving, reading, and sometimes taking some paths unpopular. I was also a prolific artist, mostly oil paintings and hopefully have left that legacy to my great grandchildren.
I was preceded in death just 23 days by the love of my life and husband of nearly 73 years, Fred Fowler. Also, my parents and a sister, Ruthelaine Cummins. I am survived by my children Tom (Megan), Anne (Mark), Chris, Suzanne (Eric). My inspiring grandchildren: Brad, Lance (Lori), Mark (Lisa), Elizabeth (James). My spirited great grandchildren have delighted me: Kailee, Ada, Owen, Brayden, MacKenzie, Elijah, and Kennedy (Fowlers); and Reese, Asher, Lyla and Piper (Henleys). The content was excerpted from Nancy’s own writings and conversations.
I request a family get-together to honor our family this coming fall, my favorite time of year. Until we meet again.
Arrangements were entrusted to Flanner Buchanan – Hamilton Memorial Park. Online condolences may be shared by visiting www.flannerbuchanan.com.