Nancy S. Hambleton

Memorial services for Nancy S. Hambleton, 90, of Lawrence, KS will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, June 22, 2015 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence. She died on Sunday, June 7th at Neuvant House.

Nancy was born on September 7th, 1924 in Pittsburg, PA, the daughter of Jacob John Schnelli, and Mabel Campbell. She grew up in Lancaster, PA and attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where she received a B.S. in Chemistry. Nancy was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority and Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She married William (Bill) W. Hambleton on September 7th, 1946. She worked as a clerk in the Veteran’s Billing Office at Northwestern University while her husband attended graduate school. They moved to Lawrence, KS in 1947 when Bill started his PhD studies.

Nancy worked as a chemist with the Kansas Geological Survey from 1947 to 1950. After having children she was a homemaker, and participated in numerous civic activities. From 1971 to 1975 she had the distinction of serving as the first female city commissioner in Lawrence, and the city’s first female mayor from April 1973 to April of 1974. During her tenure on the city commission, Nancy and the other commissioners undertook several major projects in Lawrence. These included the renovation of Massachusetts Street and the conversion of Carnegie Library into the Lawrence Arts Center. She was also influential in the adding of sidewalks to residential areas, passing an Equal Opportunity Ordinance, promoting neighborhood organizations, working with the county to build a new bridge over the Kansas River, and completing land acquisition for Mud Creek flood control in North Lawrence. Once she finished serving on the city commission, she worked as director of business development for Design Build Architect, served on the board of directors for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee and Senior Council.

Nancy’s civic and volunteer involvement in Lawrence was extensive. She served on the board of directors for Cottonwood, Inc. as treasurer and then president. She also chaired the Plan Development Committee for the county health planning board. She was active in the League of Women Voters in the 1950s. She was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church, where she served on the board of trustees, the stewardship board, and plant sale committee. Nancy was the Moderator in 1991. She also served on boards of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment, the KU Museum of Anthropology Museum Friends, and KU Retirees Club. She was the first president of the Lawrence Community Theatre, an active member of the Prairie Acres Garden Club, GQ Chapter of P.E.O. Sisterhood, and University Women’s Club. She was named Jaycee Jaynes “Woman of the Year” in 1974, received the Don Volker Leadership award in 1986, the Kiwanis Substantial Citizen Award in 1989, Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 2001, and the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2002.

She made most of her own clothes, and costumes for her grandchildren. You would often find Nancy and Bill traveling with a canoe on top of their car heading off to explore a new lake or river. She was the glue that held her family together. Her friends, neighbors, and family were central to her life. She was gracious and compassionate to all and was always willing to lend a hand with her many skills, knowledge and wit.

Nancy was predeceased by her husband, Bill, and her brother William Schnelli of Lancaster, PA. She is survived by her daughter Ann (Kevin Klee) of Washington State, son Jeff (Nancy) of Lawrence, and grandsons W. John and Sam Hambleton of Lawrence.

The family suggests memorials in her name to either the Lawrence Community Theatre or the Alzheimer’s Research Association. Donations may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

1 Condolences

  1. Beth Black on June 12, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Thinking of all of you while I remember fond memories of Nancy: our families canoeing and camping on the Buffalo River and her being an incredible role model in providing leadership in our community.

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