Nancy S. Hebner, enjoyed life at the beach

January 26, 2014

Nancy Spurney Hebner: 85, of Wilmington, died Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. Mom passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her children, Elizabeth Hebner Weiss, William Logan Hebner and Cristina Hebner Mayhew; and grandsons Michael Yusef and Aaron Jonathan Weiss.

She was born in Manhattan, New York, in 1929 to the late Felix and Elizabeth Sloane Spurney. Felix managed government construction contracts, so she grew up in different places: Long Island and Rome, in New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, La., Mobile, Ala., and finally Washington, D.C. She went to Averett College in Virginia, then transferred to the University of Maryland, studying English and sociology, joining the Delta Gamma Sorority. There she met the love of her life, Charles Leroy Hebner, who had just returned from the Pacific Theatre with the Navy. They lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Iranian Embassy, then in Ohio. But in 1956 she finally chose Wilmington as the place to raise her children. She quickly became part of the community through volunteer work, local politics and St. David's Episcopal Church. In addition to being the best mom, she volunteered at Winterthur, the Claymont Library, the Delaware Art Museum, Woodshaven Kruse School, Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Historical Society and others. When we were old enough, she worked full time for Delaware's Division of Consumer Affairs.

Her husband Charles served 18 years in the Delaware state legislature, with two terms as speaker of the house. Nancy enjoyed those halcyon years, serving as vice president of the Women's Republican Club of Wilmington, where together they worked for Delaware's future. She was then constantly by his side for the 12 difficult years until he passed from Parkinson's disease.

Nancy loved everything about cooking and entertaining; her gourmet club parties were legend. She also loved everything about the beach, the sun and swimming in the ocean. We all remember summers at Rehoboth in the 60s, renting a huge house with her extended family, including her brother, sister and their children, all of whom survive her: brother Petr Logan Spurney and wife Lois Tuttle Spurney, their children Kathleen, Jonathan, Petr Jr. and Christopher; her sister Susan Fore and husband Richard Taylor, and their children Victoria and Patrick. Every day was spent at the beach, every night feasting on southern Delaware's finest: fresh peaches and corn from the Nassau market, crabs from the Chesapeake, fresh flounder and chicken on the grill.

Nancy and Charles bought a home on Cedar Street in Lewes, back when it was still a fishing town. It became the family hub, where she spent time with her grandsons by William with wife Angela Frabasilio: Jordan Timothy and Sean Cole Hebner; and her great-grandsons Harry Parker and James Scott Weiss by grandson Michael and his wife Sarah Parker Weiss; and daughter Cristina's husband Skip Mayhew. Nancy spent every summer there, enjoying her friends at the Lewes Yacht Club, doing water aerobics in the morning and playing bridge, remaining active in local politics. As she got older, with the help of her dear friend and neighbor Frances West, she was able to enjoy her chosen life in Lewes and Wilmington to the fullest, to the end. We will always miss her.

Services were held at St. David's Episcopal Church Saturday, Jan. 25. Contributions can be made either to St. David's or to the Claymont Public Library.