Nora Stanberry, an inspiration for all

Nora Stanberry exercisingNora Stanberry storyBy ANTHONY AKERS

Special to the SWT


There are many wonderful people living in our great community who serve as an inspiration to us all. One of the most inspirational resides in the Fair Acres neighborhood on the outskirts of Dublin. Her name is Nora Stanberry.

Nora is a pillar of our community and one of the most inspiring individuals anyone could have the privilege of meeting.  She was born in Smyth County Sept. 3, 1925, and has lived in Pulaski County since 1957, along with her late husband of 60 years, James, who passed away in 2006.

James and Nora loved to travel in their pickup truck and camper while visiting every state in the nation, except for Alaska. She has a son named David who resides in Dublin with his wife, Sandra, and their daughter and granddaughter.

Nora retired from the Pulaski County School System after many years of service in the cafeteria of the former Dublin High and current Dublin Middle School.

On Sept. 3, Nora celebrated being 88 years young! What classifies Nora as young? She has remained an active and faithful member of Hensel Eckman YMCA in Pulaski since 1975. Her daily and weekly routine consists of water aerobics, walking in the gym, and working out in the fitness center.

One might say this is amazing for her age but to consider her physical obstacles, her zeal to improve her health daily should serve as motivation to us all. Nora has had two knee surgeries, two hip surgeries, two mini strokes and many days of just feeling poorly. Despite numerous excuses for not working out and remaining healthy, Nora constantly chooses to “smile past her pain.”

“Nora is a hero to me and to all that know her,” said Dot Sowers, Nora’s dear friend and a faithful member of the YMCA. “She never gives up, never stops smiling, and rarely misses a class session.”

Nora loves people and is special to everyone who knows her. Her constant smile and love changes the atmosphere of the room. “Our lives would be better if we practiced the love she shows to all,” Sowers added.

When Nora was unable to drive, Sowers and two other YMCA members, Anita Taylor and Barbara Guthrie, picked her up and returned her home after aerobics classes at the Y. “Our aerobics class is a tight-knit group,” said Sowers. “We take care of each other, send cards, have group prayer, and make phone calls in our times of need.”

Spending time improving her health is just a small portion of Nora’s agenda during the day. As a member of Dublin Baptist Church since 1957, she serves on the outreach committee and visits the church shut-ins. She spends a great deal of time praying for others.

Her Sunday school teacher, Thelma Ratcliff, says, “If the doors of the church are open, Nora is there. She is a faithful member and perfect example of what a Christian should be.”

Nora served lunch for the Head Start pre-school program for 11 years. She has volunteered at Pulaski Health and Rehab Center for over 10 years. She enjoys reading the Bible or other books to rehab residents. She is a tremendous Christian influence on everyone she meets.

No doubt Nora’s steadfast example of peace, patience, love and kindness played a major role in her husband James’ ultimate commitment to the Lord and baptism at age 79. Not only does she take care of those in her community, she also spent many years taking care of her own brothers and sisters.

Despite being faithful to the YMCA, Nora also makes weekly visits to Randolph Park for year round walking and summer swims.

As Randolph Park manager, I can attest that despite Nora’s ailments, she always has a positive attitude and a beautiful smile. I recall a very cold morning at the park when I saw her walking the track. I could not believe my eyes. I knew she was dedicated but it was freezing outside. I started to say something to her but I was afraid she’d make we walk with her.

Nora would come to the Evelyn Alexander Water Park several times during the summer with $2 in hand and a warm smile greeting the park staff. She’d swim in the pool with hundreds of kids splashing her, all the while exercising and occasionally splashing back!

I vividly remember Nora’s smiling face in the cafeteria when I was a student at DMS back in the early 80’s. Nora epitomizes what it means to live a happy and wholesome life. I find her to be one of the most inspiring people that I have ever been around.

Dan Grubb, YMCA board member, said, “I believe Nora’s motivation for keeping herself healthy is for the benefit of others. Anyone that knows her realizes she emphasizes others over her own self.”

Y Executive Director Allison Hunter added, “I am amazed by Nora’s dedication and commitment to others.”

Perhaps serving others may be the reason Nora is so happy and always smiling. Her Bible remains open on her kitchen table, but more importantly, God’s word is alive in her heart. Nora lives by the two greatest commandments, “Love God” and “Love People.”

We should take comfort in knowing this 88 year “young lady” continues to set the example on how we all should live as part of our great community! She extends a warm and cordial invitation to anyone in our community to come and be a part of all the great programs that are taking place at the Y.



One Response to Nora Stanberry, an inspiration for all

  1. Donna Campbell

    November 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    What a sweet lady, always so humble and having a big smile. We met her in 1973 when we moved to Dublin and as someone has already commented, she was a devoted member of Dublin Baptist Church at that time, and it seems that remains a special part of her life. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login