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Nancy Best Bates

November 17, 1943 ~ October 29, 2018 (age 74)

Nancy Best Bates, age 74, of Wake Forest died Monday, October 29, 2018 at Transitions LifeCare Hospice Home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her death resulted from a six-month battle against a recurrence of breast cancer.

Born on November 17, 1943 in Summit, New Jersey, as Nancy Jane Best, Nancy was the eldest daughter of Frederick Sherman Best and Lois Phelps Gardner. Her childhood was spent in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. She was a graduate of Governor Livingston Regional High School, Class of 1961.

Nancy became a Registered Nurse upon her graduation from Somerset Hospital School of Nursing in Somerville, New Jersey, Class of 1964. Shortly after her graduation, Nancy moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she met and married Donald Duane Bates on January 8, 1966. They were happily together for 43 years.

During her almost twenty years as a resident in the Baltimore, Maryland area, Nancy was an active member of Grace United Methodist Church.

Nancy began her nursing career as a pediatric nurse, in the Nephrology and Neurology units, at Johns Hopkins Hospital (1964-1970) in Baltimore, Maryland. She became a home health nurse and then transitioned into hospice nursing for the next twenty years, finishing her career as Director of Professional Services for Hospice of Wake County (1988-2000), now Transitions LifeCare Hospice. A woman who thrived on challenges and was continuously improving her skills and knowledge in all aspects of life, Nancy took considerable pride in mentoring and coaching, and was passionate about caring for all living things, especially people.

In 1999, Nancy wrote, “A hospice nurse can achieve great satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment knowing that she’s helped a person struggling to cope with a disease process out of control to die comfortably and at peace. This is what makes ‘doing hospice’ so personally rewarding and special.”

Along with being an avid gardener, Nancy spent most of her retirement years enjoying her family, researching her family’s genealogy, and volunteering. As active as she was in her community, her family always came first and was what she enjoyed the most about her life.

Nancy was an active member of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, where she served as a Stephen Minister and volunteered with many ministries within the church. As a 30-year resident of Wake Forest, she served on many advisory boards, and in various volunteer roles related to the Town of Wake Forest. Some of these activities included the Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission, Wake Forest Garden Club, Wake Forest Cemetery Advisory Board, and the Wake Forest Urban Forestry Board. 

Originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, Nancy was treated at Duke University Hospital and initially survived the disease. As a breast cancer survivor, she became a volunteer with the National Breast Care Coalition and Breast Cancer Coalition of North Carolina, Reach to Recovery/American Cancer Society, and Educate Our Women Programs.  In more recent years, Nancy volunteered in the Mended Hearts program at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, after learning that her prior cancer treatments had weakened her own heart.

Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Duane Bates, and by her family members: father, Frederick Sherman Best; mother, Lois Gardner Best; sister, Suzanne Best Wheeler; sister, Audrey Best Gianakos; brother, Lawrence Holloway Best.
Nancy is survived by her three children:  Stephanie Bates Kaeberlein (Christopher Patrick Kaeberlein) of Franklinton; Lauren Bates Blue (Robert Elliot Blue) of Greensboro; Eric John Bates (Le Dao Bates) of Atlanta, GA; her sister, Jean Alice Best of Bedminster, NJ; and her beloved grandchildren, Jack and Madelyn Kaeberlein, Kennedy Blue, and Riley Bates; in addition to many nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church on what would have been Nancy’s 75th birthday, Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 11:00 am. There will be a reception to follow, at the family’s home in Wake Forest, where the family will receive guests

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Nancy’s memory to Transitions LifeCare Hospice (250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607 https://transitionslifecare.org/donate/), or to Wake Forest Presbyterian Church (12605 Capital Boulevard, Wake Forest, NC 27587  https://www.wakeforestpres.org/donate).

The family would like to extend their gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at Duke University Hospital and Transitions LifeCare Hospice, for their outstanding care and compassion.

A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Wake Forest, NC (919-556-5811)

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