Nancy Lindsey, who retired in 2016 after 40-years as the editor of The Enterprise, died at her home on Thursday, November 17.
She was 78.
Many recalled her love of the field and the county she served.
Former Stuart Town Manager Terry Tilley said he worked with Lindsey for several years and thought of her as a good friend.
“She was a really good news person, and she was straight up on everything,” he said.
Town of Stuart Council member Dave Hoback, who previously was the county’s administrator, said he worked with Lindsey throughout his tenure with the county.
“She was a consistent professional and she was always very accurate and very fair in her reporting,” he said.
Hoback said Lindsey worked to provide a true local context and perspective in what she wrote.
“She liked to describe it as a community newspaper. She always tried to keep the best interest of the community at heart,” he said. “She was a jewel of a person and a pleasure to work with.”
“I worked with Nancy for several years at The Enterprise, and she was one of the most dedicated journalists I’ve known,” said Edd Martin, owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Real Estate. “She strived and achieved to be a fair and honest reporter. She loved Patrick County and took pride in informing the people with fair and honest reporting. She worked many late nights into the early morning hours to ensure she kept us informed on the happenings in and around the county. She was a legend in journalism and admired by many in the newspaper industry.”
A.D. Hopkins, an author and friend who has known Lindsey since childhood, said “I thought of her as an elf-born, a fairy child placed in a human cradle to be reared among mankind, but not of the same species. She did not readily leave childhood behind. I remember seeing her in jeans and windbreaker climbing a tree in the yard of Mr. Watkins, a few doors from her grandparents’ home on Chestnut Street. She climbed as a child would, completely in the moment, inattentive to anything but climbing. Yet she was at least 15 years old by then.
“As a teen she was slender as a cattail, an olive-skinned beauty with bee-stung lips and shoulder-length dark hair. She attended Radford College,” Hopkins recalled. “She excelled at writing poems and stories. I believe she began writing for newspapers while still in high school. Perhaps the Bull Mountain Bugle. She wrote for the Bugle before joining The Enterprise full time. She was one of the few in those days to recognize and research interesting local history.”
Lindsey and “her brother, Jimmy, were partly reared by their grandparents, who I think were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hilton. Both worked for Mr. Hilton at the stables he operated at Fairystone State Park. Both led trail rides.
“Nancy married once, early in life, and while married worked for newspapers in Washington state and Williamsburg, Va.,” he recalled. “When the marriage ended, she returned to her hometown of Stuart. She built a remarkable home with a two-story stone fireplace along a center wall and bookshelves extending upward two stories. She raised her two children in this home in the Five Forks area.
“It is difficult to win even a single award from the Virginia Press Association. In five years of trying in Virginia, I never received one,” Hopkins said. “But if Nancy failed to receive several each year, she had encountered an off year. An anomaly.”
“I was in awe of Nancy when I was a teenager,” said Debbie Hall, current editor. “Whether she was covering an event or a meeting, Nancy was approachable, fair and most of all, she cared. She genuinely cared about the county and about its people. She represented everything I hoped to be.
“Her column, Journalism 101, tells her life in her own words. It is reprinted inside. After re-reading it, the picture of who she was at her core crystallized,” Hall said. “Nancy wrote, ‘I was born wanting to be a writer.’ She fulfilled her dream. She will be missed.”
John Reynolds, of Critz, said “Nancy was a friend for many, many years. I got to know her well while
editing the county history book using The Enterprise’s computers in the 1990s. She had a wealth of knowledge about local history, politics and government, and I learned something from her each time I visited her office when she had a few minutes to spare, often while she and the rest of the staff were working late trying to get out the next edition of the paper.”
An excellent writer, Lindsey “would have been a valued journalist at any newspaper in the country. She was that good, as evidenced by her many awards from the VPA while working here at her hometown newspaper,” Reynolds said.
“Nancy must have had great patience too, as she sat through hundreds of” board meetings “over the years in order to report, very thoroughly and without bias, the business of local government. Such dedication to recording the facts on virtually everything going on in the community is a trait to be admired and respected, even if unappreciated by many readers these days,” Reynolds said. “As anyone who works for a small-town newspaper knows, it’s not a job that leads to great riches, so dedication to the profession and one’s community is pretty much a requirement. Nancy had both, and I, along with many others, have lost a good friend.”