Sibyl Whelchel Nestor

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Sibyl Whelchel Nestor died peacefully on July 25, 2015, in Gallatin, TN, surrounded by her family. Sibyl was born in Gainesville, GA, on June 1, 1932. As a young child, she moved with her parents, Clarence and Sibyl Aiken Whelchel, to Columbia, TN. She graduated from Brenau Academy in Gainesville and attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia for a year before marrying her high school sweetheart, Charles William (Bill) Nestor, Jr., in September 1952.

Bill and Sibyl moved to Oak Ridge, TN, in 1953 so that Bill could attend the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology. After Bill graduated, they moved to Livermore, CA, but returned to Oak Ridge in 1955, where Bill joined the staff of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Sibyl was active with the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, and the Childbirth Education Association. When the youngest of their five children began kindergarten, Sibyl enrolled at the University of Tennessee and completed a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s in library and information science. She worked as a school librarian at Claxton Elementary School and Clinton High School in Anderson County and as a technical librarian at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, and the Institute for Energy Analysis at Oak Ridge Associated Universities. As a trained information specialist, she was the proud owner of one of the first “portable” computers, an Osborne 1.

In the early 1980s, Bill and Sibyl moved out of Oak Ridge to a house that they built in the Merriwater Homepark on Watts Bar Lake. Sibyl created and maintained an extensive wildflower garden, volunteered at the Kingston Public Library, and was an active member of the Bethel Presbyterian Church book discussion group. She and Bill also traveled extensively, participating in several Elderhostels and making three trips to Ireland, two to Alaska, and one to the Mediterranean. They stayed connected to their friends in Oak Ridge in part through weekly visits to the Oak Ridge Farmers Market, where Sibyl was a regular customer for more than 50 years.

Bill and Sibyl celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in September 2014. In May 2015, they moved to an assisted living facility in Gallatin.

In addition to Bill, Sibyl is survived by their five children and their spouses: Nell Nestor and Steve Yeldell, Hendersonville, TN; Bonnie Nestor and Charles Crume, Oak Ridge; John Nestor and Theresa Donahoe, Bridgewater, NJ; Will Nestor and Karen Oakley, Phenix City, AL; and Anne Nestor and Alan Cady, Middletown, OH. Sibyl was “MomBear” to nine grandchildren: David Johnson, Laura Arneson (Marcus Arneson), Sarah Yeldell (Todd Watts), Elizabeth Morgan (Josh Morgan), Kay and Anna Nestor, and Abigail, Andrew, and Angus Cady. Her four great-grandchildren are Daniel and Alex Morgan and Micah and Aerin Watts. Among the many “sayings of the MomBear” that they will all remember are “People are different,” “Always measure everything precisely” (usually while adding a healthy pinch of something to a dish), and “Anything worth doing makes a mess.”

The family extends its warmest thanks to Dr. Mukesh Sharma, Dr. Raul Couret, Caris Hospice, and the staff of NHC Place, Sumner.

A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 212 N. Tulane Ave., Oak Ridge on Saturday, August 1, , at 2 p.m. Interment of ashes will be in St. Stephen’s Memorial Garden immediately following the service. The family will receive friends at a reception in the Parish Hall following the interment.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Tennessee Native Plant Society, PO Box 159274, Nashville, TN 37215, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Cole & Garrett Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Goodlettsville, TN, is in charge of arrangements.

One Comment to Sibyl Whelchel Nestor

  1. Franklin Coleman
    July 30, 2015 10:08 am

    When I was growing up in Oak Ridge, and especially during high school,Sibyl was a second mother to me. Looking back, it seems I was in her house at least weekly — it was a home always filled with love and support. Even after moving away, I would try to visit with her and her family when I was in town. She had a fondness for Social Tea Biscuits (“STB”s), which for some reason were not sold in East Tennessee, so I would always bring her a box or two. I will miss her.

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