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Nancy Lenora (Van Pelt) O'Brien
March 14, 1931 ~ October 3, 2022 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Nancy Lenora Van Pelt O’Brien, 91, of Luray, VA passed away on
October 3, 2022 at Page Memorial Hospital. She was born in Sanford,
N. C. on March 14, 1931, the daughter of the late Lois “Louise” Geneva
Van Pelt. Nancy’s life was distinguished by her development of lasting
On December 20, 1951, she married John Alvin “Jack” O’Brien,
who preceded her in death on September 10, 2008.
Nancy was lovingly raised on a tobacco farm in North Carolina by
her maternal grandparents, George Thomas and Alice Hurley Isgett.
Her professional career began at the U. S. Department of the Navy
in Washington, D. C. working with admirals. Upon Jack’s safe return
from the Korean conflict, she devoted her time to raising her 3 children.
Nancy was truly the epitome of a talented homemaker. Using the
skills she developed from her Southern upbringing, she began crafting.
Due to the popularity of her unique creations she started her own
company, Gingham Goose. She and Jack enjoyed displaying her wares
at community craft festivals and art shows. Nancy’s collegiality with
her colleagues and devoted clientele were reciprocated with respect
and loyal friendships throughout her life.
After her children matriculated, she served as an administrative
assistant in the Luray High School guidance department and later office
manager at Page Realty.
Subsequent to Jack’s death, Nancy worked at Mama’s Treasures
where her curious nature made everyone feel welcome in Luray. She
additionally worked at American Greetings and religiously tested water
quality for her neighbors in Old Farms Subdivision. Nancy was the
anchor of the Old Farms Subdivision. She worked tirelessly for 89
Many will remember Nancy as a loyal member of the “greatest
generation.” She deferred gratification because she always thought of
others before herself.
Beyond her love of family, she appreciated a good book, long
rides enjoying the bucolic landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley, winter
nights watching figure skating, politics, and had a healthy appreciation
for differing opinions. She was never far from a beautiful garden.
As a mother, Nancy took so much joy in her family that it was
contagious and always charming. Her friends will always carry her
wonderful spirit and youthful grace in their hearts. That is her love-
print on everyone’s heart she touched.
Community service was an essential part of Nancy’s life. She
enjoyed her volunteer work with the Luray Tree and Beautification
Committee, the Luray Garden Club, the Luray Downtown Initiative, and
her Friendship Circle.
Nancy’s survivors include: a daughter, Cathleen Lynn Riggs of
Virginia Beach, VA, and sons, Gary Thomas O’Brien and wife Barbara of
Harrisonburg, VA, and David Patrick O’Brien of Winchester, VA.
Additional survivors are four grandchildren, Hannah McManaman and
husband Shamus, of Virginia Beach, Shaleigh Owen and husband
Edison, of Virginia Beach, Marshal Riggs, of Ventura, CA, and Madilyn
O’Brien of Harrisonburg. She was also blessed with 5 great-children.
Her granddaughter, Tiffany Nicole Heatwole, preceded her in death in
Friends and family will gather for her Celebration of Life on
Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 2:00 p. m. at Beahm’s Chapel Cemetery
Pavilion. Please feel free to bring a chair outside of the Pavilion.
Additionally mourners may pay their respects by signing the
condolence book at the Bradley Funeral Home.
To honor Nancy’s memory, the family requests memorial
donations to made to the Page Public Library, P. O. Box 608, Luray, VA