Nancy Chappell

October 14, 2019

CHARLOTTE - Nancy Chappell (March 6, 1948 - October 14, 2019) was many things to many people: wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, but to all, she was a friend.

Nancy Rae Proctor was born in Rocky Mount and raised in Fayetteville. She graduated from Southwood High School before completing her higher education at UNC-Greensboro. In addition to securing a degree, Nancy also secured a loving husband along the way in Tim Chappell, who remained by her side for the next 50 years. Together they started a life in Wilmington, where Nancy found her other true love, the beach. A short stint in Winston-Salem brought them their first child, Zach, before settling in Charlotte and welcoming their daughter, Kate. Nancy spent more than 40 years working in special education and was instrumental in starting one of the first autism programs for children in New Hanover county.

 A master of social graces, Nancy was a former Miss Putt-Putt in Fayetteville, who never showed up empty handed or without an opinion. She loved her family, her friends, and college sports, known to cheer on any ACC team whose mascot was not a Tarheel. She had an approachable heir of sophistication indicative of her eastern North Carolina upbringing.

Nancy embraced motherhood and committed wholeheartedly to ensuring her children grew up in a loving home surrounded by timeless family traditions and countless lasting memories. Family life was never a competition, but if a winner had to be chosen, it might well have been her granddaughter Millie. Of all the roles Nancy held through the years, it’s hard to imagine she cherished any of them more than Grandmother, and no title ever seemed more fitting than the one Millie gave her, “Sassy.”

Nancy loved her family fiercely and seized every opportunity to share their stories, good or bad, whether they liked it or not. Many an evening in the Chappell home was spent recounting family tales in her formal dining room, where she never needed an excuse to pull out her finest accessories, as any meal shared with family and friends was a special occasion.

For Nancy, many an afternoon concluded on the front steps of their home, a popular gathering place where neighbors congregated to join her and exchange stories about their lives. Famously quick-witted and never shy, she made friends everywhere she went, from the children’s school events to Tim’s military and social functions, whether lounging on the beach or standing in the line at the grocery store, there were no strangers to Nancy, only friends she hadn’t met yet.

Nancy was also a fighter, a strong soul who endured more than her fair share of loss over the years, never letting it overshadow her affection for others or her zest for life. Her attention was always trained on the well-being of those around her, so much so, that she may never have fully known just how much her own positive spirit impacted all the ones around her.

She spent over a decade battling cancer with committed determination and managed to find humor in her circumstances through the toughest of moments, routinely diffusing even the more dire situations with her infectious laugh. Nancy allowed no illnesses to define her experience, and she weathered the storm with dignity and grace. Through it all, it was the love surrounding Nancy that continually replenished her strength. Through letters and care packages, long lunches, and various untold acts of kindness, the ongoing fellowship of those closest to Nancy lifted her spirits time and again, from her close circle of friends known as “the twisted sisters,” to her colleagues from CPCC, to her many cousins, extended family, and longtime neighbors.

Nancy was also supported by the staff at the Levine Cancer Institute, in addition to an exceptional team of dedicated physicians and caregivers, most notable among them Dr. Jonathan Salo and Dr. Lauren Hull, who provided outstanding guidance and compassion throughout her fight. The family would like to thank all who sent letters, love, or just stopped to share a story with Nancy over the years. She lives in memory with us forever, and your kindness with her.

Nancy was preceded in death by her brother, Ronald Frederick Proctor; and her parents, William Francis and Lula Robertson Proctor. She is survived by her dedicated husband, James Timothy Chappell; her children Katherine Taylor Chappell, Zachary Turner Chappell, his wife Ashley Blake, and their daughter Millicent Blake Chappell.

A service to celebrate her life will be held at Myers Park United Methodist Church on October 26, 2019 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The family will receive visitors immediately following the service.  Memorial donations can be made in Nancy’s memory to the American Cancer Society ( or Promising Pages (

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at


Share your memories & condolences


  • Butch Watts

    Tim, I am very sorry for your loss. Nancy was a lovely person. I will be thinking of you and your family during the difficult days ahead. Best regards, Butch

  • Helen Flowers

    Tim and family
    Larry joins me in sending out heartfelt condolances to you and your family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    May your memories sustain you during this most difficult time.
    May her memory be eternal
    Helen and Larry Flowers

  • Evelyn bradshaw

    Knew her well when we worked at New Hanover High. We had such fun at Topsail Beach one week-end with other teachers. What a loving person she was and apparently remained that way throughout her life. It saddens me to read of her death.

  • Sally Harmon Kramer

    Nancy and I lived around the corner from each other while attending High School, we all hung out, spending nights together at Nancy’s having lots of fun and laughing, talking about boys and crying about boys! All in all we all loved Nancy! She will forever be in our hearts! Prayers for your family!

  • Lin Breece

    I went to High School, Fayetteville High School, with Nancy. She was so memorable, so loved by everyone. I didn't know where she was, I'm in Charlotte. May God bless the complete Family and know your Mother was loved by everyone who crossed her path. She is well now and we look forward to seeing her again. Love to all!

  • Ann Millard

    Tim and family, so sorry to hear of Nancy's passing. I will always remember her gift for gab and her sense of humor. Wish I could be with you all on Saturday, but I have a prior commitment. Thinking of all of you at this time. God bless you and your family.

  • Angie Vurnakes

    Nancy was a beautiful person inside and out. We were neighbors growing up in Fayetteville. Her smile would light up a room and her sense of humor was unmatched. God now has a special angel. You will be sorely missed, Nancy. May your memory be eternal.

  • Anna Mooring Weaver

    My sympathies go out to you you and your family. Nancy was an awesome woman. Heaven has gained a beautiful angel.

  • Nelson Woods

    It with great respect that I reach out to you at this time. I did not know Nancy, but as your better half, I am certain she was very special. I apologize for not being able to attend the service, but I am out of the area on that date. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

    Your friend,

    Nelson Woods

  • Richard Wilson and Grace

    We never met Nancy but she looked and sounded like a beautiful person! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

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