Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Nancy Jacey

Funeral home receptionist Nancy Jacey looked past her own cancer

TAMPA — Customers who entered Blount and Curry Funeral Home's Carrollwood office often had little to look forward to in the coming days, and many tasks.

Once they walked through the door, a small woman with bright brown eyes and a Southern accent greeted them warmly.

If need be, receptionist Nancy Jacey took families to an "arrangement room," offered them coffee or water and found a funeral director.

She was good at it, as if she had been working with grieving families her whole life. Ms. Jacey started working at the funeral home five years ago after a divorce, a cancer diagnosis and a move.

Reaching out to others made her feel better.

"She was very easy with people, very kind and understanding and patient," said Barbara Denmark, a funeral attendant at Blount and Curry. "She just had a knack for making friends."

Ms. Jacey came to Tampa from Richmond, Va., to start fresh, after a long marriage to a physician had ended. She had a way of treating the people she met as if it were their 40th conversation rather than the first.

Before long, she had struck up cordial relationships with the postman and the woman at a Subway restaurant.

"She was a motormouth; she couldn't meet a stranger," said daughter Stephanie Hall, 28. "I don't care if you were a doctor or a bum on the street. You felt comfortable talking to her."

The Rev. Raymond Spence, who knew her for 45 years through Second Baptist Church in Richmond, described Ms. Jacey as a "turbocharged" caregiver who "never wanted someone around her not to be looked after."

A Virginia native, Ms. Jacey attended Medical College of Virginia School of Nursing, where she earned certification as a licensed practical nurse.

"When Nancy's marriage came apart, she took it real, real hard," said Spence. "It was a terrible time. But she kind of got herself together after that."

Cancer of the colon and bile ducts reduced her work days at Blount and Curry. Even so, Hall said, "She never lost hope. She was never angry at God."

Hospice workers became her new best friends. Some of them opened up to her about their own problems. Ms. Jacey said she would pray for them.

Eventually, she refused further treatments.

Ms. Jacey died Oct. 29. She was 65. At her request, mourners gave money they might have spent on flowers to Suncoast Hospice.

The letter carrier came to her memorial service Nov. 6 at Blount and Curry. So did the restaurant worker from Subway.

A large crowd turned out for another service in Richmond.

"I guess 150 to 175 people came out on a cold, blowy day to her funeral," said Spence. "I looked out at the crowd, and there were people from all walks of life there."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or


Nancy Carole Jacey

Born: May 8, 1945.

Died: Oct. 29, 2010.

Survivors: Daughters Nancy Lynn Jacey, Stephanie Hall and her husband Mark; sister Jean Jones and her husband David; brother William Hicks and his wife Lila.

Funeral home receptionist Nancy Jacey looked past her own cancer 11/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 7:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two linemen lose their wedding rings in Tampa Bay. So far one has been found and returned.

    Human Interest

    Two linemen who spent days restoring power in the Tampa Bay area had the same unfortunate mishap: They lost their wedding rings.

    Facebook helped Michael White find the wedding ring he lost while helping restore power in Tampa Bay.
  2. Need is now for new mental health center at Bay Pines, veterans say


    ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran Ellsworth "Tony" Williams says the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System's new mental health center will help fill an immediate need.

    The new mental health center at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System stands four stories tall and was built at a cost of $92 million. It will centralize services that before were scattered. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  3. GOP health bill all but dead; McCain again deals the blow


    WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain declared his opposition Friday to the GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare," dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party's years of vows to kill the program.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington in July.  McCain says he won't vote for the Republican bill repealing the Obama health care law. His statement likely deals a fatal blow to the last-gasp GOP measure in a Senate showdown expected next week. [Associated Press]
  4. Yankees executive Jessica Steinbrenner seeks restraining order against ex-husband


    TAMPA — Jessica Steinbrenner, a top executive with the New York Yankees and a daughter of the team's late owner George Steinbrenner, is seeking a restraining order against her ex-husband.

    New York Yankees excutive Jessica Steinbrenner, with her then-husband Felix Lopez Jr. in this 2008 photo, filed for a restraining order against Lopez in Hillsborough County last week. 
[Times files]
  5. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with Cobb on hill, Beckham in lineup


    UPDATE, 3:46: After sitting out Thursday in recovering from extraction of a tooth, former Rays SS Tim Beckham is in the Orioles lineup tonight for his first game against his ex-mates, batting leadoff and playing short.