PLAINVILLE – Following the recent death of Nancy Eberhardt, president of the Plainville Historical Society, fellow historians recall her passionate love of local history and dedication to her community.
Eberhardt, 78, died Aug. 12 following a brief illness. Born in Palmer, Mass., she moved to Plainville in the 1960s, earning a Master’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University and working as a teacher in the New Britain school system for 35 years.
Eberhardt had been a member of the Plainville Historical Society for more than 30 years and served as the organization’s president. She was also a longtime member of First Lutheran Church of Southington and a Stephen Minister.
According to her obituary, Eberhardt was also a lifelong lover of Hammonasset beach and campground, making annual trips there for 75 years.
Rosemary Morante, recording secretary with the Plainville Historical Society, said Eberhardt, or “Nan” as she was known by friends, was “totally dedicated to keeping Plainville's history alive.”
“The Historical Society is an all-volunteer group and Nan epitomized what it means to be a volunteer,” said Morante. “She spent countless hours at the Historic Center, whether researching a topic, planning an event, or taking care of administrative tasks. Even with her health challenges, Nan stayed with it.”
As recently as this July, Morante said, Eberthardt wrote the historical society’s summer newsletter and was planning the Plainville Historic Center’s reopening later this fall.
“She was especially excited about the arrangements she made for a Nov. 16 program featuring Civil War reenactor Kevin Johnson who will portray an African-American soldier who served in Connecticut’s 29th Regiment,” said Morante. “Nan was determined to keep us moving forward. She will be greatly missed.”
Gert LaCombe, corresponding secretary with the Plainville Historical Society, said that Eberhardt took over the Plainville Historical Society from Ruth Hummel. LaCombe said she put together a display with a different historical theme each summer for children to check out over the summer months.
“It was always her goal to involve school children in our programs,” said LaCombe.
During the winter, Lacombe said Eberhardt was also very passionate about the Historical Society’s “Festival of Trees” fundraiser. The annual event saw the center set up with Christmas trees and wreaths, each labeled with an item that visitors could bid on. People could then pay for a card that allowed them to access the Historic Center to check on their bids and place new ones.
On a personal level, LaCombe said that Eberhardt was “very inquisitive” and always wanted to know more. She said that Eberhardt was constantly working to improve the Plainville Historic Center, even when struggling with her health.
“She was determined to fight through it all and keep on going,” said LaCombe.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.