Memorial Service: 3:00 p.m., Saturday, October 1, 2022
Location: Weymouth Funeral Home
Visitation: Following the Service
Location: Weymouth Funeral Home
Nan Vollette, the most amazing wife, mother, “Nana”, sister, and friend, passed away in her home on September 22, 2022, at the age of 69 after a three-year battle with a rare brain cancer.
Nan was born Nancy Lynn Jonas, to Jack and Bette Jonas in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated high school in Kalamazoo, MI, and married her high school sweetheart in 1974. After starting and raising her large family, she went back to school in her late 30s and earned her Associate of Arts degree from Mohawk Valley Community College in Rome, NY. After a small hiatus to have her sixth and last child, she went back and earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree at Saint Leo University, Newport News, VA and followed it immediately with a Master of Social Work graduate degree from Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA. She went on to do her practicum, internship, and specialty training with the VA Hospital, and achieved her certification as a Clinical Licensed Social Worker (LSW). She worked in many different areas within her psychotherapy career before establishing a Family Therapy practice with Hampton Roads Mental Health Associates, and was known by friends, family, and co-workers for embracing change and striving for life-long learning. A talented public speaker, in professional settings she’d often say, “I’m constantly amazed by life and have never stopped being a student,” believing deeply in the power of daily self-improvement.
“Ms. Nan” was a respected mental health professional and spent her life coaching and teaching empathetic communication and the importance of compassion in all our relationships. Starting her training as a Family Therapist after 20 years as a stay-at-home mom and Human Relations Enrichment (HRE) Training Leader for La Leche League International, she was the only intern with gray hair and teenagers at home, but she brought decades of life experience to her chosen profession. She raised and homeschooled six children, owned many small businesses, and worked part-time ventures to help make ends meet. She sold Avon and Discovery Toys; she made beautiful custom wreaths and handmade cloth dolls; and she worked as Assistant Manager of the NASA Visitor Center where she’d give presentations to school kids at the Virginia Air & Space Center. All this while managing to move her family over 17 times in 17 years as an active-duty Air Force member’s spouse. Traveling and living in so many different places, meeting so many different people, and creating homes for her family all over the globe, gave her a unique perspective as a therapist and as a parent.
She was an intuitive, empathetic, yet insightfully blunt family psychologist. She’d heard or done it all. Even her family knew that you could never surprise Nan. Her life experience and ability to personally relate to any person and any situation instilled confidence and trust in her patients and her friends. She was the mother that everyone wished they had – “A Mom to the World”.
She is survived by her loving husband of 48 years, Richard Vollette; her six children and their families: Lauren (Montague) Vollette, Marisha (Chris) Vollette, Jenna (David) Vollette, Neely Vollette, Hannah (Ashley) Weymouth, and Ethan Vollette. She was a beloved Nana to 20 grandchildren; 17 of them earthbound and 3 that were waiting for her in the stars. She is also survived by her older brother, Robert (Lynne) Jonas. She was predeceased by her parents, Elizabeth McClain (née Rice) and John Jonas, and her parents-in-law, Donald and Marjorie Vollette.
One of her greatest attributes was her love of human beings with all our quirks and flaws, and her fascination with all of life’s relationships and how they influence our decisions and actions. She believed that we’re all connected in some way, often multiple ways – through energy, through common thought and ideas, and through love and shared experiences. Although agnostic in religious practice, she was very spiritual and deeply respected all religions and beliefs. After her initial diagnosis, she said that she believed that she would always be connected to us and all the people she loves, in life and in death. Her family takes comfort in that belief now and we feel her love and spirit surround us every day.
A Memorial Service to celebrate Nan’s incredible life will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at 3:00 pm at Weymouth Funeral Home in Newport News, VA with Visitation to follow. The service can be viewed live on Facebook Live, and the link will be posted shortly before the service begins.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the charity of your choice in her name would be a beautiful tribute.
The causes she felt most strongly about were organizations that help provide care and resources to those suffering from mental illness in the US, the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org ) and DLBCL / PCNSL cancer research, and La Leche League, an organization that provides support for successful breastfeeding (www.llli.org) .
Arrangements by Weymouth Funeral Home.