Obituary of Nancy Elaine Hemphill
Nancy Elaine (Wagner) Hemphill, 79, passed away peacefully on September 8, 2023 in Newton, Iowa. Born January 29, 1944, she was the firstborn child of Lawrence “Babe” Clayton Wagner and Pearl Elaine (Himes) Wagner of Marshalltown, Iowa.
Nancy attended Le Grand High School in Le Grand, Iowa, graduating with the Class of 1962. In 1966, she graduated from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, with a B.A. degree in political science and elementary education. While on campus, she was active in student government, the student paper, and organized a student tutoring group. Special college memories were working at the government printing office in Washington D.C. the summer of 1964, and being selected as a week-long intern for Iowa’s U.S. congressional and senate representatives in 1965.
Nancy went on to attend Iowa State University, with plans to complete a master’s degree in political science. She continued to work at Upper Iowa in the registrar’s office, and the political science department until 1968.
On August 25, 1968, Nancy married Donald “Don” Reid Hemphill of Warrensburg, Missouri, at Central Christian Church in Marshalltown, Iowa. Their courtship began unconventionally in 1967, while Don was stationed in Guam with the US Navy.
One of Don’s shipmates received a letter and photo from his girlfriend, Sally, in Iowa. Don looked at the photo of the Sally, and asked his shipmate if she had a sister. The shipmate replied “yes, her sister’s name is Nancy” and Don wrote to her. After writing several letters to each other – and Nancy refusing to send photos - she agreed to a first date when Don returned on a stateside leave.
The couple raised two sons, Lawrence, and Donnie. Nancy was a devoted wife and mother, and stayed home to raise their boys. She was passionate about providing their sons with as many opportunities available to explore the world around them through sports, music, arts, and educational programs.
After her sons left for college, Nancy returned to her love of teaching through substitute teaching in the Newton Community School District. She then transitioned to teaching Talented and Gifted (TAG) students at the elementary and middle school levels.
Nancy enjoyed engaging with her students, parents, and the community through the TAG program. Whether it was studying culture and cuisine of foreign countries, inviting Maytag engineers into the classroom to discuss STEM-related career opportunities, or participating in the state LEGO League robotics tournament, Nancy was in her element. She even recruited Don to assist in her classroom, and he was her designated bus driver for the many field trips she and her students made. One of her most honored teaching moments was receiving the student-nominated WHO-13 Golden Apple Award.
In retirement, she enjoyed antiques, gardening, cooking, and traveling. She enjoyed reading to her grandchildren, Grant and Josie, when they were young, taking them on “field trips” to museums or outdoors, and attending their many activities. More recently, Nancy became a Patrick Mahomes fan, and enjoyed watching the Kansas City Chiefs.
Nancy is survived by her mother, Pearl Wagner; her husband, Don Hemphill; son Lawrence “Lance” (Amy) Hemphill; son Donnie Hemphill; two grandchildren, Grant (Camryn) Hemphill; and Josie Hemphill; and many extended family members. She was preceded in death by her father; brother Donald “Butch” Wagner; and sister Sally (Wagner) Carpenter.
All services will be held Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Pence-Reece Funeral Home, 310 North 2nd Avenue East, Newton, Iowa, 50208. Visitation will be from 10:30-11:30 am; funeral service from 11:30 am-12:00 pm, with a light lunch immediately following.
Burial will be at 1:30 pm, at Newton Union Cemetery, 1601 West 4th Street North, Newton, IA 50208.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made on Nancy’s behalf to the Newton Community Theater. Please leave or send your memorial to the care of Pence-Reece Funeral Home.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nancy Hemphill, please visit Tribute Store