December 23, 1927 – January 24, 2022 In the early evening of January 24, 2022, we said goodbye to our Mom, our Gammy. She passed peacefully being beautifully serenaded by her son Bob in the hours before. Nancy is predeceased by her husband of 70 years, Robert Beverly Hardaway Jr. and her twelve brothers and sisters. She is survived by her four children Chris Adams (Andrew Kasiske), Robert Beverly Hardaway III, Betsy Birkenbeuel (Gary), Ginny Hardaway-Gutierrez; five grandchildren Ashley Adams Payne (Garrett), Grace and Jack Birkenbeuel, Sabrina and Guillo Gutierrez; brother-in-law William F. Hardaway of St. Petersburg FL, sister-in-law, Mrs Marg Powell of Norfolk VA, and many nieces and nephews.
Born in Blackstone, Virginia to Ida Mason Jones and Richard Luther Powell, Nancy was the eleventh of thirteen children. She grew up in Blackstone, and by her own written account led a happy and full life surrounded by her extensive family – playing games on their 13-acre property, hiking to the family farm at the Mill Rock, singing together in the evenings at home, picking vegetables and flowers in the garden, and visiting with her older married sisters in the summers. Hard work, music, education, sports, and church were all important to Nancy and her family. As WWII ramped up in the 1940’s, the US Army’s Camp Pickett located in Blackstone and the town swelled with soldiers, jobs, and social activities. Nancy worked at the army store selling equipment to soldiers, enjoyed going to USO Dances (always chaperoned), and in the summer worked office jobs at Camp Pickett. She graduated with Honors from Blackstone High School in 1945, was a member of the Blackstone Cotillion Club, played basketball on the HS team and was the speaker on the topic of Economic Reconversion at her graduation ceremony. Nancy attended all of her High School reunions up until the 60th ,valuing and always keeping in touch with her classmates. Although the USO years brought a lot of socializing, it was a fateful Sunday evening after a church function when a fellow Blackstonian, “Bobby” Hardaway, asked the question – “Miss Powell do you have an escort for this evening
” Following their high school graduations, “Nan and Bobby” continued to date throughout their college years. Nancy attended Mary Washington College transferring to James Madison University where she joined the Pi Kappa Sigma Sorority and graduated in 1949 with a degree in Home Economics. They were married in Blackstone on August 19, 1950.
The newlyweds moved to Richmond where their four children, Chris, Bob III, Betsy, and Ginny were born. Bob took a position with State Planters Bank and Nancy taught Home Economics for a year. But in 1959 a business trip to California and excursion to Disneyland changed their lives. Business opportunities for Bob came knocking and they decided to take the California option, moving their family to California in 1961, ultimately settling in South Pasadena. Every summer Nancy would return with her family by train or by plane to visit Virginia family for extended periods. As her children grew older, she and Bob continued these annual trips. They often met her brothers and sisters on vacation at Las Vegas, Cancun, and other exotic places. Nancy stayed in touch with each and every family member, never forgetting to send each $1 (a buck for luck) in a card on their birthdays. And, of course Nancy hosted many visitors at their South Pasadena home and at their Carlsbad beach home where she and Bob spent many wonderful times together with family.
As Nancy and Bob settled into California, they joined the First United Methodist Church, Pasadena where she taught Sunday School and joined the Questers. Nancy was very active in her children’s activities leading a Brownie group, hosting many birthday parties, and involved in the PTA. She was active in the Pasadena Symphony – Holiday Look In, South Pasadena Women’s Club, P.E.O. Chapter CI, and volunteered at The Daisy Shop in Pasadena. In 1993, she endowed the Nancy Powell Hardaway Speaker Series at JMU which is focused on Home and Health Care. Nancy and Bob were avid bridge players, hosting and joining many bridge groups, including the Tuesday Bridge Group in South Pasadena and City Club of Pasadena. She loved to travel, visiting Israel (Holy Lands) in the 1960’s, later taking trips to China, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon hiking to the bottom, New Orleans, and cruises to Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, the Caribbean, Nova Scotia, through the Panama Canal, Antarctica, and England. Always generous, she took the family on a Disney Cruise and to Disneyworld for the 50th wedding anniversary. And a picture of her was a must on every trip to submit to the local newspaper!
In the early 70’s Nancy returned to school enrolling at Pasadena City College to obtain her RN degree, graduating in 1972. She did all this while managing her household with four challenging teenagers at home! Nancy took a nursing position at Arcadia Methodist Hospital, retiring in 1990 where she then took on her greatest role of grandmother, devoted to her five grandchildren. Nancy was a beautiful soul, making everyone around her feel special. She was unconditionally loving, welcoming and devoted to all of her family and friends.
The family wishes to thank Vitas Hospice and her devoted caregivers at Foothill Homecare Partners.
A Celebration of Life in California is planned for March 12, 2022 at the First United Methodist Church in Pasadena California at 2:00 pm
Donations in Nancy’s memory may be made to the following organizations. Please indicate that your gift is in memory of Nancy Carol Powell Hardaway
P.E.O. International (Chapter CI)
First United Methodist Church, Pasadena
Published by Los Angeles Times on Feb. 13, 2022.