POPE, Nancy Crawford
Nancy Crawford lived a beautiful life of love, family, laughs, fun, friends and travel. Once diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease 14 years ago, many of her activities began to taper off, but as one of her many inspirational quotes from her says, “Do not let fear be the captain of your ship.” And she did not. Her loving friends and her family continued to surround her for her six years at the Mann House where she passed on Monday, June 20, 2022. She was 77.
Nancy, deeply religious, was known for her inspirational quotes and Bible verses which she liberally shared with her husband, John Pope, and their three boys: John, Alan and Brad. Not only did she frequently send hand-written note cards to them, but also to their friends and friends-of-friends, anyone who needs a boost. She was always about other people and her omnipresent Stickies reflected that—on the fridge, front door, at her desk, in her car: Send flowers, ship care packages to soldiers (magazines, socks, candy), deliver food to someone ill, pick up another’s kids, take a friend to lunch, write a letter, etc.
Nancy Wayne Crawford, a fourth generation Atlantan, was born to James Madison Crawford and Ruth Wight Crawford on January 12, 1945. She grew up with two siblings on Club Drive in Brookhaven and in her teen years moved to Castlegate Drive. She graduated from The Westminster Schools in 1963 where she was involved in numerous clubs and activities. Beneath her ella senior picture of ella in the Westminster yearbook was this quote: “Good humor is the health of the soul.” She radiated a healthy soul.
Nancy went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas where she knew no one, but she pledged Chi Omega and was elected rush chairman her second year. She met Johnny Pope at the end of her sophomore year and transferred to the University of Georgia to be closer to him while he was finishing up at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Happily, she reunited with many Atlanta friends and continued to be active in the Chi O chapter there. Nancy and Johnny married on Saturday, August 6, 1966, and two days later, Johnny reported to active duty in Albuquerque, New Mexico as an Ensign in the US Navy.
So of course, Nancy transferred once again, to the University of New Mexico, where she was on the Dean’s List, and graduated in 1967 with a degree in psychology.
As a young wife, Nancy, who was extremely close to her mother, said she wanted six girls. As it turned out, she could not have been prouder, more supportive, or more loving of her three boys than her. They laugh now about how their mother’s psychology degree must have come in handy during their growing-up years. They appreciated her intelligent, quick wit de ella and even the numerous “manners nights”—all about “yes ma’am,” “no ma’am,” appropriate forks, and showing respect for all. She was very active in their school years, serving as a class mother and NYO team mother for each one. She relished driving carpool and often surprised a carful of raucous boys with her knowledge about and appreciation of music—she loved Motown—and even of obscure bands like the Scorpions.
She did eventually have eight granddaughters, some of whom, as the years went on, could not be treated to the ritual trip to New York City when turning 10 years old. Nancy was an avid fiction reader—although she loved People magazine, if it can be considered non-fiction—and when she especially loved a book, you can be sure many copies of it went out to friends.
Giving embodied Nancy’s being, so it’s no surprise that once Thanksgiving was over, Christmas music played 24/7 and she decorated every square inch of her house. She shopped all over and hid out in the basement wrapping presents for everyone in her family de ella. It was clearly her favorite holiday, but she also delighted in the walks on the beach and Planters Punches on Sea Island each summer with all the children and grandchildren. Her dreaded annual red-white-and-blue frozen salad has become a family memory to laugh about.
Nancy and Johnny traveled widely; there were few places left to go by the time she was diagnosed at age 63. South Africa was her favorite adventure, but there were delightful cruises—to the Baltic, Mediterranean and South America—as well as (mandatory) family trips to dude ranches , Disney, Cayman Islands, Seattle, and Pebble Beach. She worked tirelessly at her small computer doing all the research, planning, reservations, flights and special events. Every trip, family outing, and event was well documented in literally thousands of her photographs of her.
Once travel was no longer possible, for years Johnny and Nancy continued to visit a handful of favorite restaurants with two handfuls of friends eager to enjoy and keep her company. On occasion, she would say, “I’m not afraid to die; I’ve had a great ride.” Many who shared that ride with her would agree.
Nancy was a member of the Atlanta Debutante Club and the Junior League. She volunteered at Grady Hospital rocking newborns suffering from addiction and tutored an after-school program, LaAmistad (“the friendship”) at Peachtree
Presbyterian Church. She and Johnny both served on the board of the National Cancer Foundation (now known as CureSearch, for Children’s Cancer). Until she was simply unable, she enthusiastically attended multiple Bible study classes.
She enjoyed golf, tennis, and social events. Nancy was not only fun-loving but lovely; she had beautiful taste in classic clothes and wore them with perfect posture. She loved rollercoasters, drank Tab long after it had mostly left the scene, took countless healthful concoctions and vitamins, made an amazing (secret recipe!) reddish iced tea, and was happily not a great cook or enthusiastic housekeeper.
As social as Nancy was, she was also independent. She signed up for a week at Canyon Ranch every year to be alone and decompress. She was quite private and though she was a good ear and shoulder, she rarely shared her own issues.
Nancy is survived by her devoted, in-sickness-or-in-health husband, John Ross Pope, and their three sons: John (Isabel) and their children: Lily and Liza; Alan and his children by him: Caroline, Katherine and Alan Pope, Jr.; and Brad (Crosby) and their children: Kate, Crawford and Lanier Pope—all of Atlanta. She was preceded by an adopted daughter, Ruth Elizabeth “Lisa” Pope Swanson. Ella’s children, Avery Swanson and Kayleigh Pope, of Atlanta, also survive her. In addition to the ten grandchildren, she is survived by her niece and nephew—Ruth Wight Tillman and Tommy Tillman, of Atlanta., and her former daughter-in-law, Angie Pope. Nancy was predeceased by her sister, Wight Crawford Tillman and her brother, James Crawford. The family would like to express their appreciation to their friend and caretaker of 35 years, Linda Smith, and their thanks to the dedicated staff of the Mann House Assisted Living for their devoted care of Nancy over six years.
There will be a memorial service at 2 pm on Tuesday, June 28 at Northside United Methodist Church, 2799 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta, 30305. Dr. Bill Burch, Senior Pastor, will preside. The burial at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs will be private for the family. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial donation to Emory Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, 1762 Clifton Rd, NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30322 or alzheimers.emory.edu; or to Northside United Methodist Church, northsideumc.org
Published by Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 26, 2022.