Nancy Blankenship Was Active in Her Community

Nancy B. Blankenship of Oak Bluffs died at home on Nov. 20 after a battle with lung cancer which she fought to the end.

She was born on May 8, 1948, the first of two daughters to Mabel and Horace Brooker. She grew up on Oak Tree Lane in Vineyard Haven and attended public school there. They summered in Chilmark, at the family camp. She attended the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and was a cheerleader before graduating in 1966 and attending nursing school. Nancy left nursing school and returned to the Island before Christmas of 1966 to marry her highschool sweetheart, John Stone. They lived briefly on the South shore of Boston and also in Florida.

In 1970 Nancy returned to the Vineyard for good with her first daughter, Meredith Ann. She and John divorced, and she got a job at as a teller at the Martha's Vineyard National Bank. Nancy met and married Richard (Buzzy) Blankenship in September of 1973. In September of 1975, her second daughter, Beth Brooker, was born.

Nancy was an active mother, a Brownie leader and involved in the Montessori preschool, but she wanted to go back to work. She went back to work and rose through the ranks at Marha's Vineyard National Bank from teller to head teller, to branch manager then officer, and finally vice president when Compass bought out the bank. Nancy was then named branch manager in charge of all Vineyard branches with Compass Bank.

She was proud of her work, and received several awards including being named to the Million Dollar Sales Club in 1999. She was expecially proud of an honorary silver star award with which she was recognized by her peers for outstanding work and support of others.

Over the years, Nancy had the opportunity to work with many people in the community through her banking carrer. She made many lasting impressions. Nancy was dedicated to her job, and tried to be the best she could be in every aspect of her life. She always encouraged and inspired others to do the same.

Nancy was involved in many organizations as well. She served on the Martha's Vineyard Arena board, was a member of the precision skating team, and her work as president of the Martha's Vineyard Figure Skating Club helped to get the club sanctioned by the U.S. Figure Skating Association. She spent many long nights making skating costumes by hand, not only for her daughter Beth, but for aspiring skaters of all ages. Nancy also served as assistant treasurer of the Holy Ghost Society, on the benevolent committee, the road race committee as secretary,as well as on the resident homesite committee in Oak Bluffs.

She also taught knitting classes at the Heath Hen quilt shop. She was an avid knitter, and enjoyed sharing her love of knitting with others. She was an excellent teacher, and very patient. She had many online knitting friends with whom she stayed in touch between knitting conventions. Nancy won many ribbons at the agricultural fair for her knitted projects, and was most proud of a special award for creative fiber art and needle craft given in memory of Lydia Howes Drew, former home economics teacher at the regional high school.

On a trip to New Mexico to visit her daughter Meredith, Nancy fell in love with the Southwest. She and Buzz made several trips to the Taos area, and she was always looking forward to the next trip. In the years prior to her illness, Nancy could be seen parasailing, whitewater rafting, attending fundraisers, speed-walking and ice skating with the percision team.

Nancy enjoyed life to the fullest. She enjoyed everything she did and set an admirable standard in her work, be it career or volunteer. Nancy loved to have fun, loved a party and hosted many herself. She enjoyed all holidays and any excuse to have a good time, but aside from Christmas, Halloween was her favorite. She always got into the spirit of things. Nancy enriched the lives of all who knew her, and she will live on in their hearts and memories.

Nancy was predeceased by her mother, Mabel Brooker. She is survived by her husband of 30 years, Buzzy Blankenship; her daughter, Beth Blankenship; her daughter and son in law, Meredith and Brian Gallo; her father, Horace Brooker; her sister and brother in law, Betsy Brooker and Arthur Conway; her niece Heather Boyd, her nephew Scott Boyd, her Aunts and Uncles Ruth and Bob Hughes, Bob and Faye Carlson, Jane and Richard Glidden, Nancy Mitchell, Betty Blankenship and her cousins, Sandi Mitchell, Carla Steele and family and Keith Glidden.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Nancy's name may be made to The Martha's Vineyard Arena or to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard. There will be a celebration of Nancy's life in the spring.            ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;             ;