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Originally published: 2013-05-10 15:12:01
Last modified: 2013-05-10 15:15:14

Nancy Alice Kester Neale

Nancy Alice Kester Neale died May 3, 2013, at Mission Hospital in Asheville.
Born in Nashville, Tenn., to Howard and Alice Kester, Nancy moved to Black Mountain at the age of three. She attended Black Mountain Elementary, Chatham Hall in Chatham, Va., and Oberlin College in Ohio.
She worked at the St. Louis YWCA before moving to Boulder, Colo., where she met and married Russell Neale. They were together for 50 years, before he died in 2009. They moved to Salt Lake City in 1960, where they raised three children. Nancy worked for the YWCA, Head Start, the Jewish Community Center and other organizations while earning her master's and doctorate in social work; she also had a private practice in clinical social work. In 1978 they moved to Boone where Nancy taught social work at Appalachian State University for 18 years; she established and directed the undergraduate social work degree program there. She also established OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter), chaired the N.C. chapter of NASW from 1989-to 1991, and was active in many other community organizations. She and Russ retired to Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community in Asheville in 2001, where they were members of the St. Giles Singers.
Nancy is survived by daughters, Leda and Erica; son, Graham (Diana); two granddaughters; and her beloved canary, Gregory Peck.
Nancy will be remembered for her generous spirit, her sense of humor, her love of the natural world, and her unending pursuit of justice for all.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. at St. Giles Chapel, Deerfield, on Saturday, May 18, 2013. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Nancy Kester Neale Endowed Scholarship for Social Work, c/o ASU Foundation/Nancy Neale Scholarship, ASU Box 32170, Boone, NC 28608.
Those who would like to leave words of comfort for the family may do so at