Nancy Hurd, 86, turned her pain into passion as a grief counselor and caregiver

·3 min read

Nancy Hurd was no stranger to heartache.

She suffered from health issues and fought till the end. She was divorced, but continued to raise five children and took her 87-year-old mother in to care for her. Her beloved son was killed when he was 25 and she forgave his killer.

“Other people have heartaches too, it’s not just me,” Nancy’s children remember her telling them when they would ask just how she did it.

She channeled her pain into helping others by becoming a grief counselor at Calvary Church, which was also her favorite place and where she sang in the choir for 25 years.

Charlotte resident Nancy Hurd died on July 20, 2022. She was 86.
Charlotte resident Nancy Hurd died on July 20, 2022. She was 86.

She gave back until she couldn’t give anymore.

On July 20, Nancy Lee Hurd died surrounded by her four living children in Charlotte. She was 86.

From pain to passion

Nancy was born outside of Detroit and grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. She graduated from Wappinger Falls High School, where she was a cheerleader and played field hockey.

Charlotte resident Nancy Hurd died on July 20, 2022. She was 86.
Charlotte resident Nancy Hurd died on July 20, 2022. She was 86.

Nancy attended Syracuse University and Lasell University in Boston. She worked for 17 years at IBM.

Nancy’s life revolved around her faith, family and friends. After losing her son Bobby in a homicide, she showed resilience.

“Regardless of the challenges, she knew that there was hope,” her son Bill Hurd said. “Instead of fighting back, she focused.”

She turned to her beloved Calvary Church in her time of pain and became a griefshare counselor. Her lived experience with grief helped her understand what those she helped were going through.

Griefshare counseling was just the beginning of Nancy’s life of service and caregiving.

She worked for Joni and Friends, a disability ministry. She cared for her mother in her home for years until her death. She delivered meals to families in need each Sunday after church.

But the hole in her heart her son Bobby left behind never quite filled, said Bill, Bobby’s living twin. She visited his and her mother’s graves often, he said.

Though she put on a brave face for the world, her children knew there were silent tears shed for her mother and her son.

“There was never a day that went by that you would open her car trunk and see some flowers that she continued to place on the markers,” Bill said.

Nancy’s sweet tooth

Though she truly loved her calling to help others, some of her children’s beloved memories with her were at Nancy’s favorite places: the mountains and the beach. She loved cooking, being around family and studying her Bible.

She also had a sweet tooth. Sometimes she’d try to hide it, but her children always saw right through her.

On movie nights, they remember Nancy hiding M&M’s in handfuls of popcorn, mixing some sweet with the savory, then pretending it was normal popcorn.

“Oh yeah,” her daughter Pam Wigfield said. “We all inherited her sweet tooth.”

Nancy’s children even found some of her favorite sweet treats while going through her belongings recently: bridge mix chocolates.

Nancy’s legacy of ‘warm toughness’

Nancy’s love and “warm toughness” she portrayed is her family’s legacy, her children remember, and they felt it pass through to them when they hugged her tightly as she took her final breaths.

Charlotte resident Nancy Hurd poses for a photo with her four living children. Hurd died on July 20, 2022 at age 86.
Charlotte resident Nancy Hurd poses for a photo with her four living children. Hurd died on July 20, 2022 at age 86.

“In her last act, she was thinking about us,” her son Ken Hurd said.

“We always felt that love from her,” her daughter Pam Wigfield said.

“She chose love. She chose to give back,” her son Bill Hurd said.

“She was my unsung hero,” her daughter Cindy Murdock said.

It was hard for Nancy’s children to let go, but they did. They knew their brother and grandmother were waiting for her.

Donations can be made in Nancy’s name to the Calvary Church Worship Ministry, Martha’s Ministry, or Griefshare or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.