Nancy Jane Kastman-Scott
Nancy Jane Kastman-Scott passed peacefully from this life on December 23, 2017 with family gathered around her, leaving a legacy of language, music, and love. She had recently been a resident at Lakeview Village Care Center in Lenexa, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, the family invites memorial donations to the Lakeview Village Foundation.
This extraordinary woman led a quiet life as a single, middle-class parent of five children. Entering the workforce in 1962, her teaching career spanned more than five decades. She took hold of teaching with her hands, mind and whole heart; teaching with passion and creative joy.
“Nance,” as her fellow teachers knew her, was beloved, cursed, respected, feared, endured, and revered by thousands of students from 1963 through November 2017. First, she took the role of language arts teacher at Center Senior High School in Kansas City, Missouri, where she used best-practice teaching standards and “mad” creativity skills to develop unique courses in British literature, poetry, composition, and mass media. (If you studied Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by reading the original, viewing the 1968 Leonard Whiting/Olivia Hussy movie of it, and then watching the 1961 version of West Side Story, then Nancy was probably your teacher.) After 24 years, she finally “graduated” high school teaching in 1987 and went to college again: teaching-while-retired at University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she had earned her M.A. in English Language and Literature in 1971. Yes, that’s right: night and summer classes, while working full-time and single-parenting five children, earned her a Master’s degree in just eight years.
Watching her father’s decline from Alzheimer’s inspired the third phase of Nancy’s career, teaching creative writing to seniors, as anti-aging intellectual stimulation. In about 1980, she began this volunteer work with a class at the Atriums in Overland Park, Kansas. After relocating to Lubbock, Texas in 1993, she taught two classes each week at the Carillon Retirement Community until her 2004 move back to Overland Park. Returning to teaching at the Atriums, she also added classes at Lakeview Village in Lenexa and Tallgrass Creek in Overland Park. Ranging in age from 65 to 90-plus, her students met weekly to read their work and receive feedback, and many of her senior students have published their writings. Most create stories and books that will not be published, but handed down to children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Nancy’s “Creative Writing for Seniors” classes were always covered by local newspapers, and a stranger, who read about her in the Johnson County Sun, nominated Nancy in 2011 for a Leadership in Aging award from the Johnson County Commission on Aging. She was honored for outstanding contributions to the quality of life for older adults, and was stunned to receive this award, thinking of her contributions as minor.
Nancy was also well-known for her love of music and her beautiful contralto voice. As a young woman, she studied voice at Kansas City University (now UMKC) Conservatory, before attending the University of Kansas and earning a B.A. degree in English in 1949. She worked as a soloist at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri, and sang at countless weddings and funerals for family and friends during her lifetime. She sang and soloed in church choirs, and directed choirs at Valley View United Methodist Church in Overland Park, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and Community Christian Church in Lubbock. During her years in Lubbock, she also regularly enjoyed singing karaoke with friends and family.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska on March 6, 1926, to Alfred Rudolph Kastman and Frances Gertrude (Wiles) Kastman, Nancy is pre-deceased by her parents and infant sister Drury Ruth. She is survived by her brother, John Alfred Charles “Jack” Kastman (Gerry) of Lubbock; by five children-Douglass, Craig, Carol, Kristin Tuckfield (Kevin), and Robin Totillo (Jim); seven grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
We hear you still, Nancy, in every song we sing, every book we read, and every word we write.