Nancy McRae

Obituary of Nancy Lee McRae

It is with deep sorrow and much love that we announce the passing of Nancy L. McRae on September 20, 2021, 2 days before her 87th birthday. Nancy was born Nancy Lee Hollingworth on September 22, 1934, the youngest daughter of Leland G. and Ethel M. (Southard) Hollingworth, in Natick, MA.  She is survived by her dear sister, Helen E. Hollingworth, and her four children and their spouses:  Sandi McRae Duchesne & Bob Duchesne of Hudson, ME, Rick McRae & Reinhild Steingröver  of Rochester, NY,  Jim & Sue O’Reilly-McRae of Warwick, MA, and Dave & Sharon Klupt McRae of Columbia, MD.  She is also survived by seven grandchildren (Hannah, Sophia, Liam, Dana, Marcie, Tess, and Evan), and was predeceased by her husband Tom. She loved spending precious time with her family, and it was a joy for her when all could get together for holidays or at the summer home in Bristol, NH.


 Nancy, her parents and her sister lived in Natick, MA throughout her youth, and spent every summer at the family homestead in Bristol, which for her was a lifelong source of natural beauty, rejuvenation and tranquility. Her most cherished activity of her teen years was riding Corky, her beloved horse, along the fields, hills and forests in and around Bristol, and her love of horses and the New England countryside remained strong throughout her life. 


 Nancy met her future husband, Thomas K. McRae, when they were both first-semester freshmen at the University of Massachusetts. Tom left school to enlist in the Army during the Korean War, and Nancy left school soon thereafter to marry him and start a family together.  They were married on October 9, 1954, and would go on to spend 64 years of happy married life together until Tom’s death in early 2019.

 As a mother, Nancy selflessly devoted herself to her children’s upbringing and welfare, nurturing, encouraging, and celebrating all their endeavors until their adulthood and afterwards. She was inquisitive, wise, and knowledgeable, and she instilled in all of her children a love of learning. Her hobbies included art, music, gardening, reading history books and historical novels, and tracing the genealogical heritage of the McRae-Hollingworth family. After the children were on their own, Nancy frequently joined Tom on business trips and travel vacations, both across the USA and Canada and abroad. They loved to explore new places together, although they also enjoyed restful moments at their Burlington and Bristol homes.


Nancy was a creative person with many talents.  She was a gifted oil painter, and many of her still life and landscape paintings grace the walls of the Burlington and Bristol houses, as well as the homes of her children, and will continue to be enjoyed for years to come.  She also had a flair for lighthearted poetry.  Her family will fondly remember her creativity and sense of whimsy.


 Nancy always maintained a quiet inner strength and remained optimistic and positive even during times of adversity and grief, without a harsh word directed towards anyone. Even during later years when she experienced health challenges, she befriended several of the caretakers and medical professionals who aided her. She will be most remembered for her warmth, good humor, generosity of spirit and steadfast love towards her husband, sister, and many descendants.


 The family will celebrate Nancy’s life in a private ceremony in Bristol, NH.  Those wishing to honor her memory are invited to donate to the Boston Area Food Bank, one of her favorite charities.

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