Nancy Joyner


Nancy Carol Joyner, 83, died Thursday, December 19, 2019, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

She was born on July 27, 1936, in Asheville, N.C., to John C. Joyner Sr. and Edith Pickens Joyner.

Nancy received her bachelor’s degree from Meredith College (1958), master’s degree from Columbia University (1960) and PhD from UNC-CH (1966). She began her career teaching English and American literature at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. In 1970, she joined Western Carolina University where she taught for more than 27 years.

Nancy was president of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association and a longtime active participant in many professional organizations devoted to the study of American literature, particularly the writings of women and authors from Appalachia and the South. In addition to her critical bibliography of Edwin A. Robinson and a novel with her Aunt Kate, Nancy lectured and published on many other authors including, Thomas Wolfe, P.D. James, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and Mary Lee Settle.

Her dedication to literature was exemplified through her encouragement of her students and numerous contemporary authors. Colleagues and authors always found a warm welcome and introductory party in her homes in Lexington, Cullowhee and Chapel Hill.

She is survived by her two nephews, William Lindsley Humbert (Julie) and John Bryan Humbert (Roshanak); niece, Nancy Humbert Sweeney (Christopher); two great-nieces, Austin Humbert, Alison Sweeney; and great-nephew Patrick Sweeney.

She was predeceased by her long-time partner, Coye Rogers; sister, Jeanette Joyner Humbert; and brother, John C. Joyner Jr.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. at Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Meredith College, Western Carolina University, Binkley Baptist Church or St. David’s Episcopal Church (Cullowhee N.C.)