Nancy Wortmann, 74, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her dad owned an office supply store. Her mom worked at the store and cared for the couple’s home and family. Nancy has always been a big reader – and still is.
When Nancy was in high school she loved playing sports.
“Back then, we only had intermural sports for women,” she says. “But, if they had a team for it, I played it! Soccer, field hockey, volleyball. I really loved field hockey.”
After high school, Nancy attended and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in English and education. As graduation neared, she began applying for jobs – by mail – and landed a position teaching on the Kitsap Peninsula near Seattle. She married her husband, Randy, whom she had met in college. The couple moved to Germany, where they spent 18 months, then transferred to Austin, Texas. After Randy’s service in Thailand during the Vietnam Conflict, they moved to Idaho for a few years. Both of her sons, Andy and Dave, were born in Mountain Home, Idaho. The next stop was Sumter, South Carolina, where Nancy volunteered at Head Start.
“It was always interesting to see different parts of the country and to meet different people,” she says. “I also taught in Idaho and Texas.”
In 1972, Randy was offered a job with Delta and the couple moved their family to Peachtree City. Nancy, who had earned a master’s degree in school psychology from the University of Texas while they were in Austin, subbed for a year and then taught kindergarten at the First Baptist Church in Peachtree City. When her children started school, she began teaching fifth grade at Peachtree City Elementary School. Two years later, Huddleston Elementary School opened and she transferred to the new school. Three years after that, when McIntosh High School opened, Nancy volunteered to help start up the new school, this time as a counselor. She spent seven years at McIntosh and then joined East Fayette Elementary School when the school system began having elementary school counselors. Nancy rounded out her career – or so she thought – with another six-year stint at McIntosh, then retired.
“It didn’t last long,” she laughs. “Huddleston called and asked me to fill in for a counselor who was called up for the military and I couldn’t say no. I just loved working with students. They have so much energy and potential. Sometimes they may need a little nudge.”
Nancy volunteers regularly. For years, she volunteered at various schools, and now she is at Piedmont Fayette Hospital on alternate Wednesdays. She also likes to donate time to the Midwest Food Bank. But one of her most passionate volunteer activities is serving as a deputy voting registrar.
“I really believe everyone should vote,” she says. “I spend time before elections at the high schools, at Clayton State, at Pinewood – wherever we can get young people involved and interested. That is extremely important to me.”
“Nancy was a wonderful mentor. In her quiet manner she supported many families, and made a difference in the lives of many students. Nancy has been a wonderful friend, wife, grandmother, and counsel or to many who have been fortunate to know her.” – Amor Kok
So is travel. She and Randy, who have been married for 52 years, took their grandsons ziplining and whitewater rafting in Costa Rica this summer. It was Nancy’s first experience with ziplining – but she says it may not be her last!
“I just love to do things,” she says. “Last year my granddaughters and my husband and I biked through Holland. I agree with St. Augustine when he wrote ‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only the first page.’ I want to read all of the pages.
Nancy has been to all seven continents and says her favorite destinations include Antarctica, Tibet, Viet Nam, Cambodia, the Galapagos Islands, Greenland, and Machu Picchu. She takes lots of pictures so she’ll “have something to look at when I am old.”
“Find something you love to do and try to make it happen. Try to make a difference in your community. Make every day count, and appreciate your family and your friends.”
“I don’t know how much wisdom I have,” she says of being selected as one of this year’s Women of Wisdom. “But I do believe that every person is important and deserving of respect. And I appreciate Fayette Woman Magazine for celebrating women. Things have changed since I was young but we are still underappreciated. I have two granddaughters and I love that they have so many options. In the fifties, there were very few things a woman could do. Still, I’ve been very lucky in my life, and I enjoy every day.”