Nancy Laird Bankston
Nancy Laird Bankston, 96, passed away in Plano, Texas on January 11, 2023. Nancy was an avid golfer, sailor, passionate vegetable and flower gardener, wife, wonderful mother, grandmother, and friend.
Nancy was born in Sandusky, Ohio on May 5, 1926, to Cecil and Thelma Laird. She was the middle child of their three children. She loved working at her father’s well-respected car dealership, Laird Motor Sales, selling Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles. Nancy’s father made a deal with her that if she didn’t drink or smoke until she was 21, she could pick her own car off the lot. She drove that new car proudly! Nancy attended the University of Michigan her first two years of college and transferred her final two years to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she loved the warmer weather. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. One of Nancy’s proudest accomplishments was being inducted into Valkyries at North Carolina, which was the only campus honorary society that recognized extraordinary contributions of university women.
Upon graduation, Nancy moved to Raleigh, NC for a job in social work, serving families in rural North Carolina. She later relocated to Atlanta for a job with the DuPont Corporation. It was in Atlanta that she met her future husband, James ‘Walker’ Bankston, while on a double date at Ansley Country Club. As the story goes, the couples swapped dates before the end of the night. Nancy and Walker were married in Atlanta 1954 where he was based with Eastern Airlines. Their daughter Jacque was born in 1956 and son Jim was born in 1959. Being a homemaker and mother was Nancy’s life calling now.
Nancy loved playing golf having been raised in a golfing family. Nancy worked annually for years at the Atlanta Golf Classic in the Pro Am, walking alongside some of the greatest
legendary golfers of all time. After Jacque and Jim left home to attend college at Auburn, Nancy and Walker moved to Big Canoe, Georgia. Together they developed 160 acres in nearby Ellijay, Georgia nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountain Trail. Walker retired and became a gentleman farmer raising black angus cattle while Nancy enjoyed the Ellijay Garden Club for many years. The couple had a massive vegetable garden producing huge quantities of vegetables. Nancy was an avid flower gardener, too, and grew hillsides of flowers and hosta lilies on the farm. Their friends would always go home with seedlings and plants wrapped in damp newspapers and of course, bags of the vegetables.
After Walker’s unexpected passing at Christmas in 2000 at Jacque’s home in Dallas, Nancy knew that managing the little piece of heaven in the mountains would be too much for her. She started living in Texas during winters and returned to Georgia for the cool summers in the mountains. In 2006, Nancy realized she had more friends in Texas, along with a great church and the Plano Garden Club she enjoyed so much, and made the final move to Plano, Texas. Nancy moved to assisted living for the last 9 years. As she fought Alzheimer’s for 12 years she still thrived socially and had many good friends there. Everyone who visited her room was offered a small potted plant from the stock of mother plants she diligently kept rooting and potting.
With Nancy’s passing, she has been cured of the horrible disease and is rejoicing in the vibrant colors in Heaven, walking and talking again and reunited with Walker and other loved ones who passed before her.
Nancy is survived by daughter Jacque Bankston Johnston (Chip) and granddaughters, Allison Johnston Frizzo (Matt) of Dallas, Texas and Sarah Johnston of San Diego; and son James W. Bankston, Jr. (Harriett) of Fayetteville, Georgia.
A memorial service will be held at Custer Road United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, 6601 Custer Road, Plano, Texas on February 4, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.
Memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the charity closest to your heart.
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