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Nan Carolyn Harrison Jones

Nan Carolyn Harrison Jones, age 91, died peacefully on October 1 at The Chesapeake Retirement Community.
Born June 24, 1927, in Fayette, Mississippi, the youngest of 5 born to Percy and Carrie Campbell Harrison. She attended Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW) and after graduating in 1949, moved to Virginia to begin her career at NACA as a mathematician. As a “human computer” she worked in the Dynamic Loads Division. It was at NACA that she met her future husband, Bill Jones. The two were married in 1956 and in anticipation of the arrival of their first child, Nan resigned from NACA in 1958 but not before she co-authored a paper on the “Effect of Aerodynamic Heating On The Flutter of A Rectangular Wing At A Mach 2”. It was then she began her life’s greatest work, as a mother to her son, Boyd.
In 1961, their daughter, Julie, was born and they moved to Marlbank Farms in York County to raise their family. This special community would support them throughout their lives. During the early years there, the Marlbank Theater Party produced many plays and Nan, having a flare for the dramatic, enjoyed being a part of the productions. Travel was also a big part of her life. While the kids were young, travel to Mississippi, South Carolina and Florida, always included time with family. Once Bill retired from NASA, they began to include travel abroad.
Nan was an avid reader, a bridge player and loved the newspaper’s daily crossword puzzles. Each morning, she looked forward to hot coffee and bird watching out the kitchen window. She also enjoyed music, singing and playing the piano. Nan and Bill were members of Yorkminster Presbyterian Church where she was a member of the Presbyterian Women and the Handbell choir for many years.
Nan’s relationships with friends and family brought her the most joy, and she was eager to engage in conversation and loved meeting new people. The telephone was an additional appendage, tethered to the wall with an unusually long cord, which she used to ‘reach out and touch’ many. Her circle of friends from MSCW started a ‘Round Robin Letter’. Once or twice a year, the package would arrive, filled with letters from each, about their current lives. As the years went by they eventually began yearly reunions around the country. More locally, she was a part of a group affectionately know as ‘The Club’. The group consisted of friends from NACA and Marlbank Farms and they found many occasions to have a ‘Club Party’.
There were many challenges throughout her life, but by far the most challenging came in 1981 with the death of her son, Boyd. Her faith, family and friends carried her through the difficult years that followed. In 2002, life changed dramatically with a traumatic brain injury. Her husband became her constant companion. Reading, crossword puzzles and long conversations were replaced with quiet times, leisurely lunches and people watching. After Bill’s death in 2009, Nan enjoyed a simple, well cared for and loved life in her later years.
Nan was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, William B. Jones, their son, David Boyd; her parents; sisters, Helen Gillis and Leonle “Deets” Bufkin; brothers, Leon “Rip” Rivers Harrison, Sr. and Percy Harrison; and her brother-in-law, Demos S. Jones.
She is survived by her daughter, Julie; and husband, Jerry Fox; and grandchildren, Boyd and Jamie; and her sister-in-law, Phyllis Jones, and a host of nieces and nephews around the country.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff of The Chesapeake for their kind and compassionate care of Nan. Thank you for caring for her like your own mother.
A memorial service will be held at 4pm on Saturday, October 6th at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church. Starting at 3pm, prior to the service, the family will receive visitors in the Commons. Visitation will also occur after the service at the Fox Home from 5:30 to 9pm. The burial will be private on October 7th.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (, 213 Mclaws Circle Suite 2-B, Williamsburg, Va 23185 or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (, 5540 Falmouth Street Suite 101, Richmond, Va 23230. Arrangements are in the care of Amory Funeral Home, Yorktown

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