Nancy Herrington Rives

January 22, 1931January 11, 2021

Nancy Dell Herrington Rives passed away peacefully at St. Catherine’s Village in Madison, Mississippi on January 11, 2021, eleven days before her 90th birthday. She enjoyed a life of faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and love of friends and family.

Nancy was born in Union, Mississippi on January 22, 1931 to Walter and Oneida (McDill) Herrington. She was an avid reader from a young age and taught her beloved younger sister, “Sissy,” to use a flashlight under the covers so they could keep reading past bedtime. She loved music and became an accomplished pianist. Nancy graduated with honors from Union High School in 1949.

At East Central Junior College in Decatur, she met the love of her life, Ralph Rives who affectionately called her “Nanny.” While he was serving in Korea, she wrote him a lengthy letter each day full of news, humor, and romance. Ralph kept every single one.

Nancy majored in English, minored in Latin, and served as President of the Classical Club at Mississippi College. The Saddler Award was given to Nancy for earning the highest grades among transfer students. She thoroughly enjoyed her friends at MC, making memories to last a lifetime.

As soon as she graduated from Mississippi College, and more importantly, Ralph had his 22nd birthday so that he was the same age as Nancy, they married on June 12, 1953. While Ralph finished up his degree after serving our country, Nancy taught English literature for the Mississippi State University Adult Education Department. Nancy wanted to be a teacher like both of her parents.

Nancy and Ralph moved to Greenville where Nancy taught English to 7th through 12th graders, and she also taught Latin. In 1956 their first child was born, Ralph Edward Rives, Jr. (Eddie), and Nancy chose to be a stay-at-home mother so she could focus on her children. The young Rives family was relocated for Ralph’s career to Blytheville, Arkansas where their second son, Jay Herrington Rives, was born in 1959.

They moved to Jackson in 1961 and joined Colonial Heights Baptist Church. Nancy loved her church and actively served in multiple capacities including helping to start the church library and working as the church secretary. She also served as an adult ladies Sunday School teacher, girls’ Training Union teacher, and Girls in Action leader. She sang soprano in the church choir for many years.

The Rives family expanded with the birth of their daughter, Sandra Paige Rives, in 1966. Nancy and Ralph thought of her as the “icing on the cake.” Nancy’s greatest joy was her three children.

Nancy supported her husband in his leadership in the church. At Colonial Heights, Ralph served as chairman of Deacons, Trustees, and Building Committee. Nancy supported him as he advanced professionally as a mortgage banker and a real estate appraiser, broker, and developer.

In the 1980s, she worked for Rives and Company as bookkeeper while Ralph sold lots and developed Oak Hollow subdivision in Madison. Her first two grandsons, Nathan and Justin, were born in 1980 followed by two more grandsons, Ryan and Christopher. Nancy enjoyed designing her home built in Oak Hollow by Rives and Company, where she and Ralph resided from 1988 until moving to St. Catherine’s Village in October 2007. She found time for favorite hobbies: reading in her personal library, needlework, especially cross-stitch, gardening, and flower-arranging.

Just before moving to St. Catherine’s Village, Nancy’s fifth grandson, Wesley, was born. Six great-grandchildren also came along starting in 2007, and Nancy showered love on them all.

Nancy adored her friends and family. No one ever doubted that they were loved by Nancy. She was expressive of her feelings and care for others above all else. She could go through several drafts when writing sympathy cards or congratulatory notes to make sure she shared her sentiments accurately and completely. She was a true people-person finding it easy to make new friends, although she greatly cherished her oldest friends. She gained the nickname Queen Diva at St. Catherine’s Siena and enjoyed wearing royal purple and hats for festive occasions to fit her title.

Nancy is preceded in death by her loving husband Ralph Edward Rives who passed in January 2013, by her parents, and by her grandson Christopher Blake Rives who passed in 2003.

Nancy is survived by her sister, Dr. Walterine Bell of Brandon, by her children and their spouses: Eddie and LeAnn Rives, Jay and Sandie Rives, Sandra and Jamie Monohan, by grandsons and their wives: Nathan and Jessica Rives, Justin and Cristie Rives, and Ryan and Katie Rives, by grandson James Wesley Monohan, by great-grandchildren: Summer and Haley Rives (Nathan), Jason and Jordan Rives (Justin), and Larkin and William Rives (Ryan), step-great grandchildren, Henry and Ray (Katie), and numerous nieces and nephews as well as long-time friends.

Nancy wishes to thank the staff at St. Catherine’s Village for their enduring care. Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to Mississippi College or a charity of your choice.

Celebrate the life of Nancy Rives at her graveside services which will be held at Parkway Funeral Home, 1161 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 15 with graveside visitation beginning at 1 p.m. Please wear a mask and socially distance. Also wearing purple is welcome.


  • David Rives
  • Steve Rives
  • Nathan Rives
  • Justin Rives
  • Ryan Rives
  • Phil Rhinewalt
  • Jamie Monohan
  • Wes Monohan


  • Graveside Visitation

    Friday, January 15, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Friday, January 15, 2021


Nancy Herrington Rives

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kveta Slobodnikova

January 15, 2021

In a Loving Memory of a Wonderful Lady, Ms. Nancy!

Julia Hodges

January 14, 2021

More than the greatest love the world has known
This is the love I'll give to you alone
More than the simplest words I try to say
I only live to love you more each day

More than you'll never know my arms long to hold you so
My life will be in your keeping, waking, sleeping, laughing, weeping
Longer than always is long long time,
But far beyond forever you'll be mine

I know I never lived before and my heart is very sure
No one else could love you more

I know I never lived before and my heart is very sure
No one else could love you more

Every time I hear the song ‘More’, I think of Mrs. Rives - she loved it so.

Tree Janes

January 13, 2021

I loved Miss Nancy, the Queen Diva, at St Catherine's! She was one of my mother's best companions there and I so missed getting to visit her and have her join for singalongs after COVID restrictions. She attended all of the activities and was THE BEST at "Name that tune" with the golden oldies! She was an awesome lady and I know is now rejoicing in the presence of her Lord and His gift to her, her beloved Ralph.

Dominique Shavers

January 13, 2021

Mrs.Rives was a very sweet friend of mine. I had the honor of taking care of her and we just boned together. We had so many great memories together .She called me her little ray of sunshine. We had a good relationship among us both. I will always hold a special place in my heart for you.

anna williams

January 12, 2021

So blessed to know such a sweet lady! She would brighten up anyone's day without even trying. I know she is loving being with Ralph, her husband. She would always tell us how much she loves Ralph and how she could not wait to get back to him. She had so many great stories and good advice! St. Catherine's Village is going to miss this diva so much. Prayers go out to this sweet family! Love, Anna Williams and Latasha Washington and other staff at St. Catherine's Village