Above: Nancy Fennell – 2nd row, 4th from left – 1946
One of the wonderful benefits of my self-appointed position as the historian of Maplewood is that I have met many extraordinary people like Nancy Fennell Hawkins. Her messages have always been cheerful, positive and supportive.
Though we have never met in person, I regard her as a friend of the highest sort. Additionally, she has made contributions to my effort that are amazing. The images and documents that she gave us are rare and valuable.
A few hours ago, I received this email from Nancy.
I just wanted to let you know that my cancer is much worse and I have been placed on Hospice care. It was such a pleasure to know you and see all you have done for Maplewood. Keep up your excellent work.
And here is my response.
Gollee, Nancy. You break my heart. You truly do.
Your contributions, your family’s historic treasures, are among the best and the most important of any I have found. They are now preserved in the archives of our State Historic Preservation Office at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Due to your unselfishness and generosity, they will be able to be studied by our descendants for generations to come.
Your enthusiasm for this project and your good-natured messages will be sorely missed. I am speechless at a time like this. The loss to your family and friends is immeasurable.
I have long regarded you as a friend. I thought that someday you might have returned to Maplewood and we would have a look around. I realize now that won’t happen. I weep for you.
I wish you peace and comfort.
Below are links to the Fennell Trove as I called it. It is an exceptional collection of historic material all provided by the generosity of Nancy Fennell Hawkins. The paragraph below was posted on August 3, 2020.
The Fennell trove is the latest family collection to be put under the care of SHSMO. Nancy Fennell Hawkins is our benefactor. There are many rare images in this delightful collection. Nancy’s ancestors operated a landscaping business at Rannells and Laclede Station Road. The photographs of their teams of horses, the Black teamsters that drove them and their yard and equipment are amazing. I am so happy that these very rare images will enjoy the protection of a facility such as SHSMO. Fennell Trove – Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Addenda Sam Bland’s Journal Sam Bland’s Journal – Part Two
Folks, make sure you take a look at the links I included above. These are just a few of the very important images that Nancy has given us.
This is a very sad post for me to make. There is not much we can do now for Nancy but let her know how much we appreciate her and what she has done for us.
Doug Houser December 28, 2023