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Nancy Hartenstein Raker



Nancy Hartenstein Raker was born on June 30, 1945, in Alliance, Ohio. After a brave, 18-month battle with glioblastoma, she peacefully passed away with her husband, Jack Raker, by her side on October 4, 2020, at Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. She was a loving and kind wife, sister, stepmother, grandmother and friend.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Dale and Eileen Hartenstein. In addition to her husband, she is survived by three sisters, Marilyn Andrie (Bob), Susan Decker (Mike) and Joyce Wetzel (Joby); two brothers, Tom Hartenstein (Maureen) and Jim Hartenstein (Stephanie); two step children, Amanda Raker Kimmelman (Aaron) and Ryan Raker (Melissa); seven grandchildren, Jonah Carpenter, Dawson Carpenter, Indie Berggren, Becket Raker, Sophia Raker, Everleigh Raker, and Nessa Kimmelman; 13 nieces and nephews, and a host of great-nieces and nephews.

Nancy graduated from Alliance High School in 1963, and went on to attend Mount Union College in Alliance, OH. She then attended Asbury College in Wilmore, KY, from which she received her BA in Education in 1968.

After graduating from college, Nancy moved to Roanoke, VA. She spent 32 years there as an English teacher, first at Cave Spring Middle School in Roanoke, and then at Glenvar High School in Salem, VA. While teaching, she completed her Masters’ Degree at Virginia Tech.

Nancy took pride in following the success of her students long after they graduated and was equally adored by them. She heard from former students turned authors that she inspired them to write and it brought her great satisfaction for her life’s work.

After retiring from teaching, Nancy worked at Prentice Hall for several years as a consultant, where she met Jack. They were married on June 28, 2005, and she moved to Marion, NC, the same year. This year (2020) marked their 15th wedding anniversary and her 13th year as survivor of breast cancer.

A special thank you to all of the caregivers from Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, both for the exceptional care provided to Nancy at home and at the Hospice House.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills (374 Hudlow Road, Forest City, NC 28043) and/or participate in random acts of kindness of your choice in honor of Nancy.

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” –Jean-Jacques Rousseau




To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nancy Raker, please visit our flower store.


Her relationship with you was very important to her also. Thank you for your kind comments. Hope you read the comments of the others to expand on the knowledge of what a fine person your friend was and how she inspired so many. I am such a lucky person to have had her in my life.

Jack Oct 23 2020 12:00 AM

Jack, I am so very sad to learn of Nancy's recent passing. I know how much she loved you and how much she loved the life you and she shared these past 15 years.
Nancy and I were pen pals from 1954 through the present when she could no longer communicate. I will miss our bi-yearly Christmas and birthday greetings. Recently, she had been on my mind and now I know the reason. It is rare to have a long term relationship with someone you have never met in person, but we did it. And I will miss her!
My sincere sympathy to you and your family!

Kaye L Rauscher Oct 18 2020 12:00 AM

When I was in high school it was rare to not find me with a book in my hands. In 7th grade I read Scarlett (I carried that book around for 2 weeks; it had not come out in paperback yet) among countless others . .. In 8th grade I read the Canterbury Tales again among many many others . .and in 9th grade I chose to read and write my first paper for her class on John Jake's The Bastard . . .just so I could say The Bastard in her class and not get in trouble. That year, I also found my grandmother's stash of romance novels . . . smut books as Mrs. Hartenstein called them. Even after I finished her class and moved on to 10th grade and beyond she stopped me in the halls daily to ask to see the cover of my latest piece of smut. . . She would congratulate me if for some reason the book wasn't a romance novel. When I graduated I presented her with several brand new "Smut Books". She smiled and told me she was heading out on vacation and was thrilled to have something fun to read before beginning her Real Summer Reading and preparation.

When I became a teacher she reached out to me and shared her wisdom and wit . . then later when my husband was accused of a heinous act which he didn't do she reached out again . . she supported me . . . she stood by me when so many others shunned me . . .

There are few people in this world like her . . .the world has lost someone special!

Joy Pohlman Oct 15 2020 12:00 AM

So very sorry for your loss. I was in book club with Nancy and throughly enjoyed her knowledge and wit. We also seemed to cross paths often at wine events. Cheers, to a good women who will be missed.

Lynda Piacentino Oct 10 2020 12:00 AM

Jack I was so sorry to hear of Nancy's passing. She was in my prayers every night before I went to sleep. She was a wonderful person and I was privileged to have known her. Keeping you in my prayers at this time.

Linda McGuire Oct 9 2020 12:00 AM

Jack, I was so sad to hear of Nancys. It is so hard to lose the love of your life. Please know that I am thinking of you and your family.

Lucille Rainey Oct 8 2020 12:00 AM

Jack ,
We are so sorry for your loss. Nancy was so special. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Love you.

Cindy and Chuck McKay Oct 8 2020 12:00 AM

Jack, our hearts ache for you in your loss! At the same time, we reflect happily and lovingly on all the memories of times shared with Nancy. She was such a kind and gracious lady, and we always took so much pleasure in her company, whether attending a musical event, sharing meals, day-tripping with you both, or simply porch-sitting. We delighted in her sense of humor. We will dearly miss her! We feel privileged to have been her friends.

Ron and Kate Schulz Oct 8 2020 12:00 AM

Sorry for your loss. Nancy was a wonderful person. She fought a good fight. May you find peace knowing she is in a better place now. We will all miss her sunny disposition. God bless!

Paul and Kathy taylor Oct 8 2020 12:00 AM

I am so very sorry for your loss. Nancy was my English teacher and Yearbook advisor at Glenvar High School. I kept in touch with her through these years. She even attended my wedding in 2008. She was a beautiful person with a kind heart. I will be paying it forward in little ways in remembrance of her. Take care. Love Jennifer & Rich Storcks

Jennifer Storcks Oct 8 2020 12:00 AM

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