Nancy Meade, a lifelong resident of Great Neck, passed away on June 22. She was 99 years old.
Nancy was one of six children of William and Mary King, both Irish immigrants. Her father was the caretaker on the Richards estate, Hazelmere, on Kings Point Road in Kings Point, and Nancy grew up in a cottage there. Later, her father was a custodian at Baker Hill School. Nancy’s sister, Joan Gardner (Leon), and her brother, Thomas King, survive her. Her late brother, William, served as a Nassau County police officer and rose to the highest-ranking position open to a uniformed officer in the department.
Nancy’s time in the Richards’ cottage resonated long afterward. While there, her family was friendly with the McGlynns, whose patriarch served on the staff of the Satterwhite estate in Kings Point. One of Nancy’s children, purely by chance, ended up marrying a granddaughter of the McGlynns.
Nancy was educated in local schools. After graduating from high school, with money for college unavailable during the (Great) Depression, she studied at the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School and worked for a time as a secretary in New York City. In December 1944, she married Lt. Robert C. Meade, also from Great Neck, in St. Aloysius Church. Nancy’s two brothers were unable to attend her wedding because they were on active duty with the armed forces at the time. Robert’s father was a builder, and built a number of homes in Great Neck. At the time of their marriage, Nancy’s family had moved to Arrandale Avenue and Nancy left for her wedding from that house. The house was only a few doors down the street from the Meade family home. A few years after their marriage, Nancy and Robert’s first house, on Arrandale Avenue, was built by his relatives on a vacant lot directly adjacent to the King home, and the couple lived there for the rest of their lives, which in Nancy’s case was for 70 years.
Like the Kings, the Meade family has had deep connections to Great Neck beyond the building activity. One of Robert’s brothers, Thomas was, for many years, the village clerk of the Village of Great Neck. Another brother, George, established with a colleague a law firm, Munley & Meade, that operated in Great Neck for decades and that still does, now under Nancy’s nephew, James. Robert’s brother (and best man), Henry, and his wife were also lifelong Great Neck residents. Over many years, members of Henry’s family have helped to keep the residents of Great Neck safe as members of the Alert Fire Co.
After the war, Lt. Meade left the Army and became an attorney in private practice, though he was called back for an additional tour of duty during the Korean War, which had to have presented a considerable hardship for Nancy. Nancy and Robert had six children, all of whom survive her: Mary Jo Weinig (Shelly), Dennis (Lisa), Brian (Doreen), Philip (Elizabeth), Stephen and Robert Jr. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Matthew, Amanda, Grace and Robert W. Meade.
Nancy was a devoted mother and a hard-working one, since her children were born within an 11-year span, meaning she was in a state of permanent exhaustion for 25 years. But, she had a sunny disposition and a positive outlook on life. She refused to let financial challenges or other life troubles get her down, and she always discouraged self-pity. She was generous, kind and friendly to all. She never looked down on people or spoke ill of others.
Even while carrying the burdens of a large family, Nancy found time to build many friendships throughout the years. She was always happy in the company of friends, many of whom she maintained relationships with for decades.
She loved to ice skate, swim and fish. She frequented the Parkwood Pool from the time it opened until she was about 92, and would congregate there with friends on many hot summer days. Even in her 80s, she fished from the shore on the eastern end of Long Island. She loved flowers and birds. She sewed, making her own clothes when her children were young and money was tight. She liked to hook rugs and was a talented cook, a skill she learned from her mother.
Robert served in the Nassau County Attorney’s Office and as town attorney of the Town of North Hempstead. He became active in local politics, and Nancy devoted herself to helping him. He ran for office several times from the late ’60s to early ’70s, which was scary for them as parents who had lots of bills. Nancy threw herself into campaigning and, being a cheerful people person, was very good at it. It was hard not to support her husband once you met Nancy. Robert felt that she would have been the better and more natural politician had things been different, but she had her own calling. Nancy’s campaigning succeeded, as Robert became the supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead and a member of the Nassau County Board of Supervisors. He later served as a justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York for two decades. While Robert was supervisor, Nancy participated in many governmental events of all kinds, where she now won friends for the town.
As busy as she was, Nancy found time to become deeply involved in religious and community activities. She was a lifelong member of St. Aloysius Church and was very active in many church groups and activities for decades, such as the Women’s Auxiliary. She sewed vestments for the church, served as a lector and took part in the church’s many charitable events. Robert was a member of the parish council. For close to 25 years, she was a board member of the Open Door Parent-Child Caring Center in Great Neck, a charity created in 1981 by the National Council of Jewish Women and the Visiting Nurse Association. She served for a term as Open Door’s recording secretary and was active in its fundraising activities. Nancy also served as the recording secretary of the Visiting Nurse Association for 41 years. She was a member of the Woman’s Club of Great Neck for about 50 years and served on many of its committees, including its philanthropic committee. When she committed to a cause or a person, Nancy stuck around.
Robert passed away in 1996, after nearly 52 years of marriage. Nancy passed away the day before the 20th anniversary of his death. Her funeral mass was conducted at St. Aloysius.