Age: 25 years, 8 months, 21 days


DOB: December 17, 1951
Beecher, IL, USA

DOD: September 7, 1977
Austin, Travis County, TX, USA

Daughter of Arthur and Charlene (nee Saller) Graham



Sister to: Susan Kay (Ronald L. Clausing), Charles Arthur (Susan Unknown) Graham

Wife of John William “Jack” Fenske, married Aug. 9, 1976



We do not have an obituary for Nancy. If you can help us understand her life, please let us know.

We have pieced together some information about Nancy. Friends have told us that Nancy was a very intelligent, loving and caring person. She taught many of the Beecher children to swim in her parents’ in-ground swimming pool and was a synchronized swim instructor from 1970-1972 or 1973. At one time, she worked for a banjo company.


In the mid 1970’s, she found her way to Boulder, Colorado, where she met and married her husband Jack on August 9, 1976. Shortly after their marriage Jack and Nancy moved to Jack’s hometown area of Austin, Texas to be close to Jack’s family. Their happy marriage was suddenly cut short in less than a year when Nancy suffered a brain aneurysm and died at only 25 years of age. Nancy was brought back home to be buried alongside her family in the mausoleum.



Nancy’s other family members resting in the mausoleum are:
Mother & Father: Charlene (Saller) Graham & Arthur Graham
Maternal Grandparents: Herbert C. Saller & Dorothy (Bahlman) Saller
Great Grandparents: Charles H. Bahlman & Sophia “Minnie” (Schweer) Bahlman
2nd Great Uncle & Aunt: Henry Fred Bahlman & Emma (Wehmhoefer) Bahlman
2nd Great Aunt: Lena Caroline Bahlman
2nd Great uncle & Aunt: John H. Bahlman & Anna L. (Wehrmann) Bahlman
2nd Great Uncle: William F. Bahlman
1st cousins 2x removed: Lillian (Bahlman) Wegert  & Henry H. Wegert
1st cousins 2x removed: Lora (Bahlman) Hinze & Arthur A. Hinze
1st cousins 2x removed: Henry W. Bahlman & Marguerite (Toleson) Bahlman
1st cousin 2x removed: Carolyn M. Bahlman
1st cousin 2x removed: Donald W. Bahlman
1st cousins 2x removed: Ferne (Bahlman) Hildeman & William R. Hildeman


4 thoughts on “NANCY GRAHAM FENSKE

  1. Nancy Lee Graham Fenske was my sister-in-law.
    She and my brother, John William (Jack) Fenske met in Boulder Colorado and were married 8-9-1976 in Boulder County, CO. They moved to Austin Texas that fall, where they started to build their new life together. Sadly, she succumbed to a sudden illness (aneurysm) and passed away in September, 1977 (Travis County, Texas).
    She was a kind and loving person to everyone she met and I know my brother Jack loved her very much. I don’t think he ever got over her passing. He died in August, 2004 in Houston,Texas.

  2. I knew Nancy all my life. I was her neighbor in Beecher and we grew up together, though I was two years older. I remember the summers when she taught swimming lessons and could hear her across the alley yelling “pull, pull” to her students. She was a cheerleader in school for a year or two also – I forget if it was in grade school or high school.
    In grade school I distinctly remember two things: first, she loved the taste of beer (didn’t drink it, but loved the taste), and I hated it; secondly, she had a crush on my father (Dr. Richard Hiatt) – said he was “cute.” That was just weird to me.
    Her boyfriend in high school was Mike Bushong, also her age and in her class. They went together a couple years. Bushong was also a lifeguard out at Eagle Lake – and a great basketball player..
    When the ’60s rolled around she was the first hometown “hippy” girl I ever knew. We both went to different colleges. I think she went to Northwestern, but I’m not sure. She was her own person and was “strongly” independent. She left for Boulder, Colorado, “alone” and on her own – a very courageous thing to do in those days. I followed suit and moved to Denver a year or two later in 1973. We kept in touch in Colorado. She came down to see me once or twice and went up to Boulder a couple times. There I met Jack and her friends at the “Ome” banjo factory. We were all “hippies” then. Those were really great times.
    Then one day she told me Boulder was growing too big and too fast for her and Jack. They were looking for somewhere else to live, but didn’t know exactly where at that point. The next thing I knew she and Jack had moved to Texas. That was the last I had seen or heard from her.
    I’ll always remember Nancy — a great gal, pretty lady, strong-willed, and independent. She was her own person and “did it her way.” No one who knew her would ever dispute that.
    Lastly, sadly, I remember once when visiting Beecher I visited her “place” in the Beecher mausoleum. It was so disappointing. I was shocked at how run down the mausoleum had gotten. Her brother, Chuck, told me it had been vandalized – windows broken, vault walls smashed, and so forth. It wasn’t my place to say it, but I always thought Nancy would have been happier cremated and her ashes spread in the Colorado mountains (how I personally plan to go!). — But that was a long time ago now, and at least I’m glad to hear that the mausoleum has been refurbished and is now an historic landmark. To those who took it upon themselves to fix it up – thank you.

    • Richard,
      It was so nice to read your remembrances of Nancy. I can tell you that she attended the Univ of Illinois at Champaign from 1970 to at least 1971. We were both freshmen when we met in an advanced calculus class (so yes she was very smart). She spoke some French and had played the French horn in high school. She also had that kind of hippie look (long light brown hair, a wide-brim hat, and fringed jacket). She was very pretty, and the first girl I dated at college. We went out a few times that fall, then it just ended. I tried following up with one of her girlfriends, but we never got back in touch. I think her mother got sick around 1971-72 and Nancy probably dropped out and helped take care of her mom back home.
      Many years later, I was absolutely shocked to learn that this wonderful girl had passed away so young and so suddenly. It had a surprisingly strong effect on me. A few years ago I left a bouquet of roses at her crypt inside the mausoleum, just to let her know she hadn’t been forgotten, and that her short life meant a great deal to me, even decades later.

      At the time, I had to get a key from someone to unlock the mausoleum but at least it was still open, in that sense. Like you, I’m grateful to the people who helped preserve it and I pray for its future.

      Nancy’s sister Susan Clausing lives in Naperville, IL, a Chicago suburb. I tried to reach out to her in 2023 but couldn’t find her by phone. What a shame.

      I’m a retired freelance attorney and recently moved to South Carolina from the Chicago area. I am open to hearing from anyone about Nancy and her life. (My contact info w/cell # is on LinkedIn.)
      Dale Kurth

      • DALE,
        if you every want to get inside the mausoleum again, there are keys at the Beecher Village Hall, the Township offices and at Hack Funeral Home.
        you can always get ahold of me at my cell 815-382-7703 Sandra Lee Thielman. I’m the one that has been restoring the building since 1984.
        Thank you for your comments also.

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