Ryemarkable Nancy Haneman


Tell us about your family:

I have two daughters, Patricia and Nicolle. We moved to Rye when my youngest daughter was six years old. She is now 45. We have lived in the same house for all these years. When my daughters were in first and fourth grade at Milton, I became involved in the PTO and helped develop the first playground. Then, I became involved in Rye Middle School and Rye High School PTO. My older daughter, Patricia, finished freshman year at RHS and then went to Rye Country Day. Nicolle stayed all the way through the Rye Schools. Both girls played lots of sports.


Patricia now lives in New Hampshire near Exeter and has a son who is about to turn sixteen. She is a professor at UNH in the department of social work. Her husband is a timber framer, and he restores historic barns and churches. Nicolle lives in Wellesley and has three girls 10, 12, and 8 years old. She works for a biotech and my son in law works in solar energy. My husband died at 50 of a heart attack.


I then became involved in the Rye YMCA. At the time, the Y was in dire straits. I became involved in the Rye Derby when it first started with Terry Birdsong and Eamonn Coghlan. We built a strong board. I worked with Paula Liang and Ellen Mello and built the expansion for a NEW YMCA. It is a huge addition to the community, and I am very proud of my work there. I was also involved in hiring Greg Howells as Executive Director. I went with my gut instincts and he has done a fabulous job. The Y is amazing! They offer scholarships and programs for every age.

After my husband died, I worked at the Carver Center doing fundraising with Bob Izard. It was hard work but very rewarding because the need was so enormous. Food scarcity is terrifying, and the problem never goes away.


After I left Carver, I became involved in SPRYE. It's coming up on the 10th year anniversary! Recently we delivered Irish soda bread and Thanksgiving dinners to people who are alone in their homes.


Is there a woman you consider your personal hero?


I really look up to Eleanor Roosevelt who I met when I was twelve years old. My father worked with her son. I had the opportunity to go to her son’s house. I sat on the floor and I listened to her talk. She had a meeting with the Prime Minister from India, and she told us about it.


My father’s best friend was John Glenn, and his wife Annie Glenn is another personal hero. She overcame a severe stutter and did so much for people with disabilities. She sent a card to my mother every day when she was desperately ill.


Locally, Sandy Samberg of Soul Ryeders and Lindsay Farrell at Open Door are both very inspirational! They have helped so many people in our community.



Rye is a wonderful community to live in. The people are incredibly caring. No matter the tragedy, people rally and take care of one another. That's why I live here and why I'll continue to live here!