Nancy R. Dinkel
Nancy Richbourg Dinkel of Lexington, VA, passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 17th, 2021, at the age of 86. Nancy was born in Tennessee, where her father Lance managed the Nashville Vols baseball team. In prior years, her father had played for the Boston Braves, Washington Senators, and Chicago Cubs before settling down with her mother Elizabeth to raise cattle on the family farm in Crestview, Florida, where Nancy grew up.
Nancy was a fourth-generation Floridian whose great grandfather had migrated from South Carolina to farm cattle. Her farm upbringing gave her a practical, hard-working, and down-to-earth attitude which helped her earn many accomplishments, often in the vanguard of her times.
In the 1960s, she developed a passion for playing tennis and began a decades-long run as a top women's singles player at various clubs. She often said, "If you play tennis, you can go anywhere." She also learned to play guitar and piano, joining a folk group called "Lydia and the Pinkham's," making a humorous commentary on the nascent women's rights movement by naming themselves after a famous quack "women's tonic" for menstrual and menopausal problems.
She faced women's rights head-on when she became a single mother in the 1970s. Impressively, she balanced studying to earn her master's degree and a doctorate in Education at the University of South Florida while also caring for her two young children. Once graduated, Nancy joined the GTE Corporation in Tampa and rose in Human Resources and Professional Education management positions.
During that time, she met the love of her life, John Dinkel. She often referred to their first date as his "test," which involved biking over 15 miles under the blazing Florida sun. The test she subsequently conducted was beating John in tennis to see if he was a good sport. Both of them passed one another's tests with flying colors, and they were married in 1974.
They developed a mutual love of sailing on Tampa Bay and beyond. Together they purchased their first boat, naming it "Joint Venture" to honor how they viewed their relationship and the merging of their families. Nancy and John had a morning ritual of jogging and swimming at the Tampa Yacht Club before heading to work. They shared a love of opera, often heard blaring throughout the house. Nancy and her husband were active in St. Andrews Episcopal Church, where their faith and church community became a cornerstone of their life together.
After her retirement, Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Nancy to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, where she acted as Treasurer and chairman of several committees.
After John's retirement, they moved to Lexington, VA, where he had attended Washington and Lee.
Nancy's family has enormous gratitude for the staff at Kendal, members of Grace Episcopal Church, and the Lexington community who embraced Nancy and surrounded her with love and care in her final years, as well as friends from Tampa who continued to visit and stay in touch regarding her wellbeing. Most of all, we are grateful to her husband John, who loved and supported her throughout their 47 years of marriage and through her difficult last years in Lexington. May we all be as lucky to have such loving people in our lives.
Nancy leaves behind her beloved husband John of Lexington, VA; daughter Anne Goodnow and her husband Carl; son Jeff Dewey and his wife Megan; two grandchildren Lance Goodnow and Flora Dewey; her brother Lance Richbourg; cousin Lou Therrell; cousin Marilyn Lewis and her husband Fred; nephews Luke Richbourg and Paul Richbourg. She is also survived by her former spouse Edward Dewey and two stepdaughters Sallie Giordano and Elizabeth Myerson. She is preceded in death by her dear nephew Eli Richbourg.
In place of flowers, please send cards to Nancy's husband, John Dinkel, or a donation to Ringling Museum [www.ringling.org/ways-give
Arrangements by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory, Lexington, VA.
Published by The Crestview News Bulletin from Aug. 5 to Aug. 11, 2021.