Cover photo for Nancy Garner's Obituary
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1921 Nancy 2023

Nancy Garner

April 1, 1921 — February 9, 2023


Nancy Sparks Garner, 101, went to be with the Lord Thursday, February 9, 2023.  Celebration of Life will be April 1, 2023, 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Panhandle, TX, Reverend Josh Light officiating.  Colorful attire appropriate for a celebration is requested.

Born April 1, 1921, on a farm near Panhandle, TX, Nancy Lee was the middle child of three born to John Simms and Martha Jolly Sparks.  She was a graduate of Panhandle High School and Texas Tech University where she received a B.S. degree in Vocational Home Economics in 1942.  She enjoyed a teaching career of 27 years.

While Nancy was teaching Home Economics at Pampa High School, she had a blind date with Chaplain Maurice P. Garner of Gaffney, SC, stationed at the Pampa Army Air Force Base in Pampa, TX.  They married June 12, 1943, at her parents’ home in Panhandle.  After the war, as Maurice became pastor of Baptist churches in Davis, NC, and Union, SC, Nancy continued to teach high school Home Economics, but also assumed church roles that included Girls' Auxiliary Leader & Vacation Bible School Coordinator.  During this time, the couple was blessed with three children, Carolyn Gay, Lanny Sparks and Nancy Ruth.  Maurice and Nancy enjoyed 47 years of marriage until his death in 1990.

It was not until the summer of 1963 when Maurice became Administrator of the new Garretson Senior Center and a Sunday morning supply pastor for surrounding communities, that the family moved back to Panhandle, TX.  Nancy accepted the Home Economics teaching position at Panhandle High School where she taught until she retired in 1984.  Many of her students still talk of learning to make pie crusts and homemade bread under her tutelage.  Sampling the fragrant cinnamon rolls between classes was a treat for the entire school!  Teaching sewing, household management and finance was also of importance to Nancy.  She was thrilled when she finally convinced the school to include boys in Home Economics!

Nancy would say that she had nothing of which to boast except that she gave her heart and life to Jesus at 10 years of age.  Her favorite scriptures were Galatians 2:20 and I Corinthians 2:9. Nancy’s entire life reflected her devotion to God, manifesting in a humble yet joyful spirit, generous love and forgiveness, abiding presence, and consistent prayer.  As the matriarch of her large family, she was a sought-after game participant, wise counselor, encourager, cheerleader, and prayer warrior. Each loved one was assured of her love for them by her words and actions, every day of her life.  In her community she was a welcome, loving presence, a helpful participant, and a generous contributor.  Her legacy of faith and grace, humility and dedication has helped shape many lives and lives on in many hearts.

In addition to her husband Maurice, Nancy’s parents, her brothers, John Simms “Connie” Sparks and Marvin Sparks, her son, Lanny Garner, and her grandson, Brady Graham, also predecease her.  She is survived by daughters Carolyn Kelley (Jerry) and Nancy Ruth Williams (Windy); grandchildren Byron Graham (Ivana), Bradley Graham (Shawn), Grant Garner (Michelle), Lori Miller (Luke), Garett Williams (Stephanie), and Chandler Williams; great-grandchildren Madeleine Garcia (Alex), Afton, Kiana, Jocelin, Mason, Brooklyn, and Emerson Graham, Alexis and Andrew Garner, Alek and Leisl Miller, Carter, Zachary, Wyatt, and Boomer Williams; and great- great-grandchild Adoniyah Garcia.  Nancy is also survived by nieces Holley Breeding and Sheri Urbanczyk (Mark), nephew Jon Sparks (Marsha), and their families, many close cousins, and life-long family friends, Peggy Meaker and the Herb Marvel family.

Memorials may be made to local entities:  First Baptist Church/Panhandle (Lottie Moon/Annie Armstrong Missions), Garretson Center Meal Program or the Square House Museum.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First Baptist Church (Panhandle, TX)


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