Nancy H. Vandergriff

August 30, 1934January 21, 2019
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Nancy H. Vandergriff of Knoxville, passed away January 21, 2019. She was a long-time member of Grace Baptist Church. She was born in Harriman to Mike and Ethel Jane Hendrickson. Married Robert Vandergriff in Rossville, GA July 3, 1953. Retired from Martin Marietta in 1991. Preceded in death by sister, Sally Cope. She is survived by her loving husband, Robert; children, Robert (Debbie) Vandergriff, David (Katie) Vandergriff, Jeniece (Dave) May and Valerie (Ronnie) White; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; siblings, Mike and Jerry Hendrickson and Trudy Swicegood; loving friend and caregiver, Barbara Moore; friends of Grace, Deacon Bill Bailey and family. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who loved family, family gatherings, gardening and golfing. She was the personification of love, grace and compassion. Nancy loved life and loved making people happy. No matter who you were or where you met her, you would say she was the most beautiful woman you’d ever met. The beauty came from within her heart and shone through her loving eyes straight into your soul. She lit up a room and had the grace of a runway model with the heart of an angel. Nancy loved her family more than anything on earth and put them first always without a second thought. She loved God and put God in the center of her life. The family will receive friends 5-7 pm Wednesday at Weaver’s Chapel with the service to follow at 7 pm. Dr. Ron Stewart officiating. Family and friends will meet at 11:45 am Thursday at Oak Ridge Memorial Park for a 12:00 pm interment. Condolences may be left at


  • Mike Hendrickson, Father
  • Ethel Jane Hendrickson, Mother
  • Sally Cope, Sister
  • Robert Vandergriff, Husband
  • Robert Vandergriff, Son
  • Debbie Vandergriff, Daughter-in-law
  • David Vandergriff, Son
  • Katie Vandergriff, Daughter-in-law
  • Jeniece May, Daughter
  • Dave May, Son-in-law
  • Valerie White, Daughter
  • Ronnie White, Son-in-law
  • Eleven Grandchildren, Other
  • Twelve Great Grandchildren, Other
  • Mike Hendrickson, Brother
  • Jerry Hendrickson, Brother
  • Trudy Swicegood, Sister

  • Billy Frain, Active
  • Robert R. Vandergriff, III, Active
  • Ross White, Active
  • Houston Vandergriff, Active
  • Dave May, Active
  • Ronnie White, Active


  • Visitation Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • Interment Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nancy H. Vandergriff

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Cecil & Colletta Chitwood

January 24, 2019

Colletta & I are saddened by the passing of Nancy.
Nancy was a devoted wife, of a long time friend, and a loving mother of their children, which I also know and have worked with. Nancy was a brave, beautiful and graceful woman who will be missed by all the people who were fortunate to have know her.

Wilma and Bill Shinpaugh

January 23, 2019

Nancy was always such a sweet and beautiful person. We send our love and you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Bill and Wilma

Kim & Steve Back

January 23, 2019

My thoughts & prayers are with you all during this difficult time!

palo and pat o'neal

January 23, 2019

Our thoughts and prayers for Bob and the family. Nancy will be fondly remembered by all who knew her.

Julie Duncan

January 22, 2019

One of the Best "Second " Mom's in the world!! Her Beauty, Love, Grace, Kindness , and Spirit will continue in all the hearts that loved Her! She was amazing and could ALWAYS tell Laurie and I apart! You will be sadly missed...but NEVER forgotten!

Danny and Jane Bullington

January 22, 2019

Just a note to say Danny and I are praying for all of you. Losing a mom is always hard, but God is the God of peace.



      Many things can be said about Nancy H. Vandergriff. Known to friends and acquaintances as a friendly, energetic, empathic and decisive woman, her compassionate nature would always shine through, revealing her charm, warmth and conscientious demeanor. She was warmhearted, gentle and organized in all the things she sought to accomplish. Nancy was a mentor, a natural “teacher” capable of seeing things clearly, leading others and bringing out the best in all of those around her. She generally had a focus on harmony and peace.

      Nancy was born on August 30, 1934 at Harriman Hospital in Harriman, Tennessee. Her parents were Mike and Ethel Hendrickson. Nancy was raised in the Karns Community of Knoxville, Tennessee. When she was young, Nancy's friends and family found that “straightforward” and “honest” were perfect words to describe her. Even as a child, Nancy demonstrated strong qualities of self-confidence, perceptive ability and a disposition that was enjoyable to those around her.

      Nancy grew up with four siblings. She had two younger brothers, Kelsey and Jerry and two younger sisters, Sally and Trudy. Nancy was constantly involved in all sorts of activities with her family. She was even-tempered, taking care not to get involved in too many family conflicts. This quality served her well, in perpetually bringing harmony, understanding and a sense of peace to the family. Nancy carried these traits into her adult life and served as one of many reasons why family and friends found her pleasurable and delightful to be around. Nancy was a person who genuinely understood and cared for others, making powerful connections with those she knew.

      During her high school years, Nancy had a natural flair for cheering on and applauding just about everyone. She was constantly offering her support and encouragement to fellow members of the groups and activities in which she participated. She graduated from Karns High School in 1952. She did well in school and genuinely enjoyed telling stories in a way that drew people to her. In this way, Nancy had a talent for becoming the center of attention, a kind of social catalyst. Nancy was often found to be the lead person facilitating a group activity, frequently filling the role of being “the life of the party.” Teachers and classmates knew Nancy as an excellent listener. She placed a high value on learning and always understood that there was a new lesson to be grasped waiting for her just around the corner. She belonged to Girl's State, won a science award and the National Beta Club.

      Nancy did well in college, as a result of her being intuitive and finely organized. She earned her Associate's degree from Knoxville Business College. The skill of being a good communicator helped Nancy immensely during her college days. She was comfortable with abstract information and theories and tended to thrive on the subjects that forced her to think. No matter what class it was, Nancy was always very perceptive and embraced the mental challenges that her college experience provided.

      Always considered a “good” friend, Nancy sought to understand the things that others enjoyed. For this reason Nancy always seemed to possess a never-ending collection of acquaintances. Nancy’s friends found her easy to know and get along with because of her talent for being socially at ease, adept at conversation, and always amiable in her dealings with others. Nancy would always seek to learn what her friends enjoyed, and she would go out of her way to make sure that their needs were met. Nancy was always seen as the type of person who was the more gracious giver. In fact, she sometimes felt ill at ease when she was the one on the receiving end. Throughout her life she had many friends. While growing up, some of her best friends were Sue Reagan, Joetta Whitson, Barbara Carmen and Norma Mayes. Later in life, she became friends with Savannah Maddox, Betty Barger, Myra Stroud, June Warner, Betty Jackson and Meryl Clark.

      On July 3, 1953 Nancy married Robert Vandergriff at the Walker County Courthouse in Rossville, Georgia. Compassionate and devoted, Nancy worked hard to make her new family happy. She was always generous with her time and this meant that Bob came first in Nancy’s book. She was always caring and made certain that she considered Bob’s feelings. By trusting her emotions, Nancy did her best to make sure that both the marriage and home life ran smoothly. This is just one more example of how Nancy was truly a person of empathy.

      Nancy’s quality of being a caring and tolerant person who was very accepting of others translated to being a good mother to her children. Nancy shared these values with her four children; two sons, Rob and David and two daughters, Jeniece and Valerie. Nancy was also blessed with eleven grandchildren, Adrienne, Lauren, Ross, Maranda, Elisa, Houston, Robby, Jim, Gina, Belinda and Blake. Nancy related well to children of all ages and was able to connect to them on their level. The children always loved her and she was completely and totally devoted to them.

      Nancy experienced success in her work life over and over again. Her primary occupation was executive secretary. She was employed for twenty-nine and a half years with Martin Marietta. Nancy always made the effort to understand what was needed at work, and was well known by her colleagues as a team player. Nancy took pride in managing her professional responsibilities and seemed to always know what was necessary to successfully complete a project. Nancy was one to take the initiative and her skills at working cooperatively were highly valued. Nancy continually sought to learn what her co-workers did well and how they were most effective, a talent that enabled her to help them develop their own potential.

      Because she was organized and methodical, Nancy took great pleasure in her various hobbies. Her favorite hobbies were gardening and crafting. Nancy enjoyed sharing her passions with others and could singularly focus on one hobby at a time.

      Nancy derived much satisfaction from sports. Because she was so instinctive and could always grasp the big picture, Nancy delighted in the strategy and inner workings of a competition. Recreational sports included golf and bowling. Nancy was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching her favorite teams' events whenever she got the opportunity. Tops on her list was golf.

      Throughout her life, Nancy was actively involved in professional and community organizations. With a talent for focusing in on exactly what was required to be completed, Nancy was known to her peers as being able to strengthen any group endeavor. When called on, Nancy was a natural leader who created harmony and good relationships within the group, often putting her own needs aside. Nancy’s involvement could easily help structure and organize any part of an organization. An added benefit was Nancy’s ability to bring valued principles along with her. In high school, Nancy was a member of the Beta Club and Girl's State. Throughout her later years, Nancy was an active member of the Oak Ridge Country Club and Knoxville Women's Golf Association.

      Nancy’s faith was important to her. She was a member of Grace Baptist Church for 71 years. During that time, she was a Sunday School teacher and helped in the nursery. She was compassionate and warm hearted, someone who truly cared for others and that was clearly demonstrated in her work with the congregation.

      Nancy enjoyed traveling, and because she was so well organized, she would take on the responsibility of planning and scheduling all of the family vacations. Her gift for keeping things lively meant that vacations with Nancy were always enjoyable. Favorite vacations included trips to Jamaica and the Virgin Islands.

      Nancy was a lover of animals and cherished her pets. One of Nancy's favorite was Legs, a black and white cat.

      When Nancy’s retirement finally came in 1991, she was well prepared. Being the focused and organized person that she was, Nancy had taken care to plan for this part of her life. When that time eventually arrived, Nancy knew exactly what she wanted to do. Even in retirement, Nancy continued to stay in touch with her old friends and made plenty of new acquaintances. She was active in the community and felt fulfilled.

      Nancy passed away on January 21, 2019 at home surrounded by her family. She is survived by husband, Bob; children, Rob, David, Jeniece and Valerie, eleven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Services were held at Weaver Funeral Home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Nancy was laid to rest in Oak Ridge Memorial Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

      Throughout her life, Nancy was a gregarious and enthusiastic woman. She was generous in sharing her personal attributes, giving and helping those she knew and loved. She would often fill the role of coach, bringing out the best in everyone. She was imaginative, original, tender hearted and easy to get along with. Nancy leaves behind her a legacy of life-long friendships and cherished memories. Everyone whose lives she touched will dearly remember Nancy H. Vandergriff.