Nancy D.'s Story

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Nancy (Durgin) Zollner was born in Exeter, N.H., on May 13, 1924, and passed away in Exeter on June 7, 2016, at age 92. She was the daughter of George Henry Durgin and Alice Robinson Durgin.
Nan grew up in Bridgewater, Mass., where she was valedictorian of the Bridgewater High School, Class of 1941. In 1944, she graduated from Radcliffe College early as a member of the class of 1945 to join the war effort. During World War II, she worked in Washington, D.C., breaking Japanese code.
Following the war, she worked for Houghton Mifflin in Boston until the birth of her first child. In 1947 she married Robert Stager Zollner. Together for 64 years until Bob's death in 2011, they raised their four children—first in Cambridge and Watertown and then, from 1954 on, in their beloved town of Andover.
Nan was a talented musician. When she was 10 years old, her teacher was so impressed with her classical piano abilities that she brought Nan to perform for a group of piano teachers at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Nan's piano was a source of pleasure and comfort for her entire life. In her empty-nest years, Nan also enjoyed playing recorder in an early music consort of dear friends. During the holidays they would perform for family and friends. Beyond classical music of all kinds, she also loved the Blues, the Beatles, and folk music.
Nan also was interested and active in politics. She was a member of the League of Women Voters, attended every possible Andover Town Meeting, and worked with "Save Abbott Academy" and with local environmental efforts.
When Bob moved his legal practice from Boston to Andover in 1985, Nan became his legal assistant, mastering the role of paralegal on the job, and served in that role until their retirement in 2004.
Nan's wit, intellect, knowledge, and pleasure in conversation naturally drew many people to her. She was not one to venture forth very far, but many could not resist visiting Nan for great communication and connection. Inheriting an independent mind and legendary sense of humor from her father, Nan was not afraid to question authority. Fiercely loyal to her family, she loved spending time with them on Lake Winnepesaukee, at home and at holiday gatherings, and at grandchildren's sports and music events. A naturalist at heart, Nan passed on her love of plants and birds.
In 2005, Nan and Bob downsized to the Riverwoods Community in Exeter, N.H., a town where they both had deep ties and personal history and that was close to offspring. There they enjoyed years of independent and not-so-independent living. Nan especially enjoyed the drumming circle there and therapy dog visits at Riverwoods. She felt deep gratitude for the expert and loving care of all the Riverwoods staff.
Nan was predeceased by her husband, Bob Zollner; her sister, Marjory Durgin Thomas; and her brother, Warren Robinson (aka George Warren Durgin). She is survived by her children, Cynthia Hartnett and her husband, David Hartnett of Montpelier, Vt., Jennifer Zollner and her husband, Andrew Christiansen of East Montpelier, Vt., Richard Zollner and his wife, Deborah Zollner of Exeter, N.H., and Laura Smith and husband, Frank Smith of Kensington, N.H. She is also survived by her devoted grandchildren, Caitlin Hartnett of Port Hardy, British Columbia, Canada; Rebecca Zollner and her fiancé Michael Johnson of Exeter, N.H., Zoe Christiansen of East Montpelier, Vt., Elizabeth Zollner and her husband, David Parks of Killeen, Texas, Anders Christiansen of Mexico City, and Benjamin Smith of Kensington, N.H.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the League of Women Voters or Christ Church Andover. Burial arrangements are being made by Conte Funeral Home in Andover. A private graveside service was held at Christ Church, Andover, on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 11 a.m. For online condolences please visit www.contefuneralhomes.com.
Published on  June 16, 2016
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