Obituary of Nancy Marie Summers
Nancy Marie Summers, 88, of Roanoke, VA. passed away on Monday, September 14, 2020. Originally from Morgantown WV, she moved to Washington DC in 1950 as part of the Federal Government recruitment efforts. Nancy was a typist for the FBI. She retired at 83 after working for the Fairfax County.
In the mid 1950’s, Nancy began a lifelong and substantial volunteer career in the fields of equal justice and civil rights.
In 1962, Nancy participated in the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) where she drove Black people to voter registration sites around the county.
In 1963, at home with her children, she packed grocery bags full of nonperishable food and personal care products for the participants of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. Fearing violence her husband asked Nancy not to attend the March.
In 1964, Nancy took her two daughters, aged 7&9 to the Alexandria Train Station for the first stop in Lady Bird Johnson’s Whistle stop tour of the South. President Johnson attended only this stop on the tour. As her daughters were late to school that day, Nancy’s note, in explaining their tardiness, was that it was important to see democracy in action.
In 1969, Nancy, her husband, Ray and their high school aged daughter attended the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. As the marchers passed the front gates of the White House, they shouted out the names of the missing or killed soldiers.
While Nancy continued to raise her family of now six daughters, she found time to explore her musical roots by learning the autoharp, an instrument used extensively in Appalachian music.
This also encouraged her interest in folk music, where she learned to play the guitar. To share her love of music with her children, she would gather us together to sing folk songs while she played the guitar. She participated in the Folklore Society of Washington DC and was an annual attendant at the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folk life. An event enjoyed by her entire family.
On July 9, 1978, Nancy and her family, all dressed in white, representing the suffragettes joined 100,000 to March for the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA has not yet been ratified to become part of the Constitution of the United States.
As an avowed feminist, she helped to create the Women’s Center, a support service which provided divorce and separation workshops for over ten years.
In her later years, she learned to swim and taught water aerobics for Fairfax County Park Authority for 15 years. She became Queen Mother of a chapter of the Red Hat Society. She traveled, took cruises, and swam with dolphins.
Her Marriages to Raymond H. Hoffman and Eugene H. Washart ended in divorce. She is survived by her six daughters, Elizabeth Bradley (Jim), Alexandra Zimmerman (Mark), Jessica Byerly, Victoria Marshall, Hillary Lober (Joe) and Meredith Thompson (Joe), twelve grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Arrangments by Simpson Funeral Home. (540)366-0707.