Published 9:48 am Monday, October 3, 2022
RICHMOND – Nancy Harrell Diggs Sandidge entered into eternal peace Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Richmond Virginia, after a long and full life. Born in Como, North Carolina, she was the youngest child of the Rev. Dr. E.D. and Geulia Vann Harrell. Nancy grew up and received her education in Franklin, graduating from Hayden High School. After receiving her bachelors degree from North Carolina A&T College (now University), Nancy moved back to Virginia and began her teaching career in Surry County, Virginia.
In 1959, Nancy married Reuben “R.B.” W. Diggs and they became parents to one daughter, Geulia “Beebie.” This union ended with R.B.’s death in 1981. Eight years later, Nancy married her friend, Robert “Coach” Sandidge.
Nancy spent most of her life living in Franklin and teaching in Southampton County. She joined First Baptist Church of Franklin early in her life and was an active member, serving in the senior choir and the XYZ Club until her health declined. Outside of service to her church and her teaching duties, Nancy’s time was spent with family, the Cosmonettes Civic Club, her beloved doggies and working 1000-piece puzzles. In her retirement, Nancy continued to be active in education – teaching at the Southampton County Correctional Center, P.D. Camp Community College and serving on the Franklin Public Schools Board of Education. She also was a faithful voting polls worker.
Nancy’s greatest legacy, however, will be the impact she had on her students during over 40 years of teaching. Over the years, former students would come to visit and call her long after they had graduated. Ms. Diggs (as she was known) was legendary as a “strict” English teacher, but fondly remembered by her students.
After being a resident of Franklin, for over 80 years, Nancy bravely relocated to Richmond to the Dogwood Terrace independent senior living community, where she spent her final days.
In addition to her parents and first husband, Nancy was preceded in death by her second husband, Robert Sandidge and her siblings: Robert E. Harrell Sr., Albert “A.T.” Harrell and Vernice Horne.
Those left with cherished memories include her daughters, Geulia “Beebie” Boddie (Tee) and Robbin Martz; grandchildren, Staci Barton, Maya Jillian Boddie and T. Michael Boddie; “special children,” Gennis “Junie” Edwards (Gloria), Candice Payne (Bill) and Alvin Lee (Cathy); nieces, nephews and a host of friends and former students.
A public viewing for Mrs. Sandidge will be held at the funeral home on Sunday from 3 – 6 p.m. A service honoring her life will be held on Monday, Oct. 10, at noon at First Baptist Church, 318 Hall Street in Franklin with Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie delivering the eulogy; the Rev. Marcus Jennings is the host pastor. Masks are required at all services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nancy Diggs Sandidge Scholarship Fund at First Baptist Church, 318 Hall Street, Franklin, Virginia 23851.
Service provided by the professional and caring staff of Wm. M. Johnson & Sons Funeral Home Inc., 224 South Main Street in Franklin. Please share your condolences with the family at wmjohnsonandsons.com.