AUGUSTA – The Rev. Canon Nancy Grace (Van Dyke) Platt passed away peacefully in her home in Augusta on Sept. 14, 2022, at the age of 84.
Nancy was born in Kane, Pa., the oldest daughter of William and Alice (Lillibridge) Van Dyke. After graduating from Bradford High School in Bradford, Pa., she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1959. It was during her time at Hobart and William Smith that she met her future husband, David SK Platt, on a Valentine’s Day blind date.
After graduating, Nancy attended Montefiore School of Medical Technology in Pittsburgh, Pa. while David went off to law school. Nancy received her medical technician degree from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists before marrying David at the Church of the Ascension in Bradford, Pa., in October 1961. The newlyweds moved to Evanston, Ill., where Nancy worked at Evanston Hospital as a medical technologist while David joined his family’s firm, Mayer, Brown, & Platt, to practice law. Together, they raised three children, Jonathan, Elizabeth, and Thomas.
As a “cradle Episcopalian” from a family with several generations of Episcopal priests, Nancy’s interest in the Episcopal church ministry seemed natural. Growing up in Bradford and Smethport, Pa., she sang in church choirs and watched her grandfather, who was the rector and dean at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Smethport, Pa., celebrate at the altar. Although women could not become priests at the time, Nancy became interested in ordination to the deaconate after meeting Rev. Phyllis Edwards in Evanston, Ill. She attended seminary at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where she received a Masters of Divinity in 1975 and was ordained as a deacon by Bishop Quintin E. Primo, Jr. of the Diocese of Chicago. She was called to serve at the Church of the Epiphany and Bishop Anderson House in Chicago.
In 1980, Nancy became the fifth woman to be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Chicago by Bishop Primo and Bishop MF “Ben” Arnold of Massachusetts.
She began writing in high school and throughout her life documented her experiences with professional articles in the area of pastoral care. Published works include Pastoral Care to the Cancer Patient, “Betrayal and healing: the aftermath of Judas’ kiss,” in the Journal of Pastoral Care, and So You Think You Don’t Know One. She had advanced standing in Clinical Pastoral Education and was certified as an Alcoholism Counselor in Illinois and Maine.
Nancy and her family moved to Maine in 1984 when she was called to become Rector of St. Matthew’s Church in Hallowell. She served there 19 years and retired in 2004. Upon her retirement, she was named Reverend Canon by Bishop Chilton Knudson. She continued to volunteer at the Hallowell Food Bank until 2020, for a total of 24 years, and often filled in as a supply priest into her 80s for congregations in Maine and Florida.
Nancy is survived by her brother, Charles E. Van Dyke, and his wife Adrienne, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., her sister, Susan Van Dyke of Rocky Mount, NC; her three children, Jonathan (Jennifer) Platt, Elizabeth (Mark) Hamblin, and Thomas Platt; and her grandchildren Catherine, Charles, and Harrison Platt, and Thomas, Marcayla, Nathaniel, and Eric Hamblin.
She is to be buried beside her husband David in a private ceremony in the Van Dyke family lot at Rosehill Cemetery, Smethport, Pa. A funeral service will take place Sept. 24 at 10 am at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland.
Arrangements are in the care of the Knowlton and Hewins Funeral Home, 1 Church St., Augusta where condolences, memories, and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the website at http://www.khhrfuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made to:
Trinity Jubilee Center, Trinity Church, Lewiston, https://www.trinityjubileecenter.org/contribute/;
The Center for Wisdom’s Women, Lewiston, https://wisdomswomen.org/give/;
Viles Arboretum, Augusta, https://vilesarboretum.org
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