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A Fond Farewell to Our Friend, Nancy Carr

Nancy Carr enjoying the North Fork in Fulk’s Run. Nancy was an incredible asset to FNFSR’s educational and science programming, as well as to her entire community.

                                     Nancy Watkins Carr, 1949-2022
                  by Chris Bolgiano  8-31-22   [email protected]    540-820-8623

My dear friend Nancy Carr grew up in Fairmont, WV, and from early youth found  intellectual and spiritual inspiration in nature.  She took environmental studies courses at West Virginia University, Connecticut College for Women, Lord Fairfax Community College, and in 1988 graduated with a B.S. in Anthropology from James Madison University.  In her younger years she traveled widely in North and South America, always curious, always open to new landscapes, new people, new ideas.  She developed expertise ranging from a deep understanding of how watersheds work to brain-tanning deer hides. 

In 1998, Nancy married Dave Carr at First Spring on Shenandoah Mountain, where the North Fork of the Shenandoah River begins.  The ceremony included a sip of spring water from a ladle passed around.  Nancy settled at the Carr family place in Fulks Run on a hill above the North Fork and soon began her long association with the Friends of the North Fork (FNFSR).  John Eckman, former Executive Director, remembered that Nancy was always ready to help whenever FNFSR needed assistance with educational programming or summer camps.  She won grants to produce brochures on protecting drinking water, created materials for riverside ecology classes for Fulks Run Elementary School students, and helped establish and run a nature center.  

In 2005, Nancy took a full time job as the sole Source Water Technician for the non-profit Rural Water Association (RWA) of small municipal and rural water systems that provides technical training and advice.  She traveled throughout Virginia to resolve and prevent drinking water problems until she retired in 2014.  Eight years later, Lisa Kerr of RWA sent out an email announcing Nancy’s death and said, “phone calls and emails poured in saying how much Nancy was loved and appreciated.  She had a reputation as a ringleader of laughter.”   

Even after “retirement,” Nancy continued her conservation work.  From 2015 to 2017 she served as the lead Monitor for the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Linville Creek Benthic Monitoring Program.  With District Manager Megen Dalton, she worked on various outreach and educational programs.  “I learned a lot from Nancy,” Megen said, “and always enjoyed soaking up her positive energy.”  Ever eager to reach young people, Nancy organized field trips to the Elkton Water Treatment facility for special needs students at Elkton Middle School.  “Her water network was extensive,” said teacher Beth Cunningham, “and she connected me with all the right resource people.” 

April Moore, a Friends board member around that time, recalled that Nancy continued to help the Friends with many projects over the years.  “I have a lot of appreciation for Nancy and her unfailing dedication to the natural world,” April said.  Nancy’s battle with cancer began in 2019.  To her last day, on July 26, she cheerfully accepted what life brought her, even when that was pain and debility.  She lived and died on her own terms.  Those who knew her will never stop missing her.