September 2, 2014

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Nancy Eagleson Part 4

Remembering Nancy:

A typical teenage girl

By Paulding County Progress Staff

Part 4 of a series

Originally published Aug. 23, 2000

In the year 1960, folks were more trusting of neighbors. You could walk down the street in early evening without worry, and even leave your doors unlocked. TV shows were family oriented such as “Ozzie and Harriet,” “I Love Lucy” and the ever-funny Groucho Marx in “You Bet Your Life.” Nancy Eagleson was very trusting of people, and was a very outgoing, happy young girl. But, for all the trust in the community in 1960, it was not a safe place to be out walking on Nov. 13th. A twisted, vicious killer was in Paulding County that day, and in the early evening hours snuffed out the short life of a lovely teenage girl.


Her name might be familiar, but who was Nancy Lee Eagleson?


Nancy was born July 3, 1946, in Paulding, Ohio. She weighed 6 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. Don and Bettie Eagleson were so proud of their little “firecracker,” their first-born. Little did the family know that their baby would only live until age 14. The 14 years of Nancy’s life were happy ones, and she had a little sister nine years younger than she, whom they called Sheryl.

Bettie, Nancy and Don Eagleson in the early 1950s.

Nancy wore her brown-auburn hair shoulder length. At age 14, she was 4’9” inches tall, and weighed 99 pounds. Her favorite color was blue, and she had just begun to wear lipstick. When you are 14, lives seem uncomplicated, and worry-free.


The high school freshman was always busy, and loved to baby-sit. She loved children, and helped in the church nursery. She was active in the First Christian Church, and was a member of its Chi Rho youth group. She also liked to go to church camp. There, she had became friends with a young boy a year older than herself, and was his pen pal. At age 14, Nancy felt she was too old for toys and too young for boys. However, many boys found the petite young girl attractive.


Nancy also liked to go to the five and dime store, and put things on layaway for Christmas gifts. She would pay maybe 10 cents a week on her gifts.


At age 14, Nancy loved to try to cook and bake. One of her favorite snacks to make was onion sandwiches. She would butter bread, slice big thick pieces of onion, and salt them. It was her specialty, and made a good treat while the family watched TV. Nancy’s favorite TV show was “Dennis the Menace.” Popcorn was another snack Nancy enjoyed.


Nancy had attended the Paulding County Fair in September, 1960. Mother Bettie said, “She loved to walk around with her girlfriends and see all the displays at the fair. It was a big time for her. Nancy and her school chums talked typical girl talk, and sometimes had sleepovers at each other’s homes.”


One friend said that she remembers Nancy as a girl with a wonderful personality, always smiling and upbeat. The friend commented that she and Nancy used to go for Cokes and to the movies.


She could have been your teenager.


Nancy Lee Eagleson never had the opportunity to go to her high school prom, drive a car, graduate from high school, get married or raise a family, or ever see her younger sister Merrill. The young girl did not live to see John Kennedy elected President, the Beatles, or the age of computers. In fact, she never got the opportunity to grow up and become an adult.

Ten-year-old Nancy Eagleson holds her baby sister Sheryl, age 10 months, in March 1956.

Some of her classmates said that when they heard the news of her death, they were in total shock. “It just doesn’t happen in this little town,” said one. In 1960, the schools did not bring in outside counselors to talk to the other students when tragedy struck.


Nancy’s death is a topic that some folks still cannot talk about.


A fun-loving, happy-go-lucky girl – how could anyone destroy that? Her mother still repeats, “I miss her so.”

Next: In Part 5 of this series, some of the family’s troubling and odd experiences since the murder will be recounted, as they try to seek closure on Nancy’s tragic death. We will also be interviewing two people close to the case, who will tell their sides of the story.