Nancy Kevin was one of the earth’s gentle spirits, grateful for her roots and her family, cherishing her children, husband and friends, at home under the wide sky. So much of life was a gift to her, just as she was a gift to everyone who knew her.
Nancy was the daughter of Roy and Jo Garten and grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Her mother was one of the pioneers of social work in Oklahoma, working with the WPA and the early foundation of children’s welfare programs in the state. Nancy’s father was an engineer and a renaissance man. He was fascinated by everything around him, designed the house where Nancy and her brother, Ted, grew up, and delighted in his children’s humor and intellect. Nancy dearly loved the land of her grandparents’ farms and the earth-centered attitudes of the peoples of the Midwest.
After earning her degrees in social work, Nancy moved to New York City and worked with inner city children. She moved back to Oklahoma, where she met Richard Kevin and married him in 1977. Nancy and Richard lived in Huntsville, Alabama before settling in Raleigh, North Carolina. Nancy and Richard both took joy in the raising of their children, Kathryn and Thomas. Nancy both delighted in and took comfort from the caring young adults they became.
Nancy played a key role in the development of the feminist spirituality movement at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh. She drew strength from her women’s group, which has been meeting actively for 20 years. With the support of Richard and WomanSpirit, Nancy dove into her work as a potter, finding a spiritual connection with clay, producing wonderful sculptural and functional pieces, and sharing her potter’s passion with her students at Pullen Art Center. “Through the clay and into your hands” was her means of encouraging people to reconnect to the earth and all elements of nature. Those who loved her knew the heart loss she felt when lymphedema prevented her from digging her hands into the earth.
Nancy has been vigilant in guarding her family’s and her own health in the past decade. She had a remarkable appetite for research into environmental safety in the home, and studied and discussed ways in which to counter the toxicity of our food and our workplaces.
The light of her spirit will remain with Thomas, Kathryn, and Richard,
her brother and sister-in-law, Ted and Mary,
WomanSpirit, her breast cancer support friends,
and all the dear friends whose lives she has touched.