Nancy Lee Hanks Shermoen, 89, of Topeka, passed away September 27, 2021.
Nancy retired in 1992 from her position as Secretary of the Psychology Department at Washburn University after serving there for 19 years. In retirement she volunteered for AARP Tax-Aide for many years and was an active member of Lowman United Methodist Church. Nancy was an accomplished seamstress, enjoyed many other crafts and loved playing the piano.
Nancy was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Richard “Dick” Shermoen. She is survived by their three children, Richard (Lorraine) of Wamego, James (Lisa), Margaret (Michael) Walter both of Topeka, nine grandchildren: Jessica (Brian) Valdivia, Matthew (Cheryl) Shermoen, Amanda Walter, Chelsea Walter, Christopher (Hallie) Shermoen, Devin (Mallory) Walter, Bridget (Kahle) Loveless, Andrew (Erika) Shermoen and Maggie Shermoen and eight great-grandchildren: Jacoby, Joaquin, Gus and Juliet Valdivia and Adelaide, Jonathan and Vivienne Shermoen and Elliott Loveless.
Nancy was born in Hart, MI and lived there for most of her formative years. She had one sister, Martha, who preceded her in death. Nancy graduated from Hart High School in 1950. She met her soul–mate, Dick, at an area dance where their friends conspired to get them to dance together on the dancefloor. Their meeting was fate as Dick only taught math at the local high school for one year. They were married on June 17, 1956.
Shortly thereafter, the two moved to Fargo, ND so Dick could pursue his Master’s degree. Their two sons, Rich and Jim, were born during this time. Dick had an opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts Degree under a National Science Foundation Grant at the University of Illinois, so they moved to Urbana, IL for one year while he attended the University. They then moved to Albuquerque, NM where he began work on his Doctorate. While in Albuquerque, their daughter, Margaret “Margy” was born. Dick finished his Doctorate of Education degree at Oklahoma State University in 1963.
The whole family then moved back to Fargo, ND (for about 3 years) so Dick could teach college mathematics. In the Fall of 1967, Dick was hired as Chairman of the Mathematics Department at Washburn University, Topeka, KS; so the whole family packed up and moved again (for the final time).
Nancy also gained a position at Washburn University as the Secretary of the Psychology Department, where she worked for 19 years, retiring in 1992. During Dick’s tenure at Washburn, Nancy was instrumental in coordinating the annual mathematics department picnics; which helped foster a tight-knit and cohesive culture within the department. Nancy loved Washburn University. She attended countless university activities including Ichabod football games and other sporting and music events. Due to she and her late husband’s influence, several of her children and grandchildren have attended and graduated from Washburn.
Nancy’s true passion was sewing; she made quilts for all of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She had quilts for all occasion; every grandchild got a quilt upon their high school graduation and again if/when they were married. And one Christmas, just because, Nancy made all of her grandkids “Grandma Loves Me Quilts”. She donated quilts for raffle events at several agencies and over the years made receiving blankets to donate to the local hospitals. In addition to sewing, Nancy enjoyed many other crafts including embroidery, basket making (she is famous for her coveted stair baskets), ceramics (firing and painting), knitting and crocheting, all of which she excelled at.
Nancy was an active and devoted member of the Methodist Church; she and Dick attended Lowman United Methodist Church in Topeka and rarely missed a Sunday service. Nancy was a member of the United Methodist Women, a group that organized craft and cookie sales (among many other charitable events), the proceeds for which benefited the Methodist Church.
Nancy and Dick traveled often, spending summers in International Falls, MN. They had a cabin on an island on Rainy Lake for 32 years. They met many wonderful friends and were Charter Members of the Kempton Channel Metropolitan Social Association and Chowder Club. The Club took every opportunity to get together including many shore lunches and fish frys. Their travels included a river cruise in Europe, multiple cruises and a trip to Norway. Additionally, they always prioritized trips to Michigan and Minnesota to visit family.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00am on Monday, October 4, 20212 at Lowman United Methodist Church, 4101 SW 15th St, Topeka, KS 66604. A visitation will one hour prior to the memorial service. Entombment will be immediately following the service at Mount Hope Cemetery.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to: The Richard E. Shermoen Mathematics Scholarship Fund Washburn University Foundation, 1729 SW MacVicar Ave., Topeka, KS, 66604, Lowman United Methodist Church, 4101 SW 15th St., Topeka, KS, 66604 or Midland Hospice Care, 200 SW Frazier Circle, Topeka, KS, 66606.
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