Nancy Kay Rader Burrow of Indianola


Nancy Kay Rader was born Oct. 25, 1953, in Toledo, Ohio. She was the daughter of Richard Allen and Norma Jean Griswold Rader. She joined her elder brother, Bob.

While Nancy was still a little girl, the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is where Nancy began school. Later the family moved to Crystal, Minnesota, one of the booming suburbs of the Twin Cities in the early 1960s.

When Nancy was in fourth grade, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and was one of the first patients in the U.S. to receive Harrington Rods to correct the curvature of her back. In junior high and high school, Nancy was part of the marching band, playing flute. Her senior year she was part of the first class to attend the brand new Neil A. Armstrong Senior High School — even though the building was not completed until after Christmas break, which meant that she had to attend the old high school in shifts for the first semester. She graduated from Armstrong with the class of 1971.

Nancy went to Saint Cloud State College (later University) and earned her Bachelor of Science, majoring in special education.

Her first teaching job was in the Shelby-Tennant School District in western Iowa — a job she hated. The following year, she moved to Oskaloosa Senior High School and stayed there the rest of her career.

In her third year at Oskaloosa, she met Paul Burrow, a fellow teacher. The two were married on Sept. 8, 1979, at Central United Methodist Church in Oskaloosa. To this union two children were born, Rachel Ann and Timothy Andrew.

Nancy served as mother and support for Paul as he negotiated contracts and served as the grievance chair at school, and she still found time to prepare her classes and truly cared for each and every student she taught. Nancy continued teaching until 2009, when she retired.

After retirement, Nancy kept quite busy with crafts, supporting Paul as he transitioned to becoming a full-time pastor.

In 2020, just before the pandemic hit, Nancy was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension. She spent her last 3.5 years on supplemental oxygen but was still able to get around and enjoy life almost up to the end.

Nancy died Aug. 15, 2023, at her home in The Village in Indianola, Iowa, under hospice care.

One of Nancy’s greatest loves was music. She sang in the choir at church every Sunday. She also participated in numerous performances of Handel’s “Messiah” in the George Daily Auditorium in Oskaloosa.

Nancy also loved doing handwork and was never seen without a bag of some sort of craft to work on.

Nancy was a very good cook but really did not like to bake.

Paul and Nancy loved to travel. Nancy visited all but one of the 50 states, most of the provinces of Canada and many other foreign countries over the years, including Mexico, Spain, France, the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Morocco, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Cuba, Jamaica, Colombia and Panama.

Church was extremely important to Nancy. She attended Sunday School, Bible Studies, served on numerous church committees, was a member of United Methodist Women (now United Women in Faith) in every church she was a part of — and of course sang in the choir.

In addition, Nancy was a lifetime member of the Iowa State Education Association and the National Education Association. She was a member of the Rippey Lions Club for 10 years and served as its secretary and president. Nancy was also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society of outstanding women educators. She served as president of her local chapter and attended many state, national and international conventions.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Dick and Norma; and by a sister-in-law, Margaret Sullivan.

She is survived by her husband, Paul; daughter, Rachel Burrow of Des Moines; son, Timothy (Jessica) Burrow of Rock Island, Illinois; granddaughter, Olivia Burrow; brother, Robert (Judy) Rader of Maple Grove, Minnesota; niece, Jennifer (Karl) Burkum of Maple Grove, Minnesota; nephew, Rob (Jennifer) Rader of Mankato, Minnesota; many cousins and in-laws; and many friends.

The memorial service for Nancy will take place Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. at the New Virginia United Methodist Church, with Pastors Jay and Terra Amundson officiating. The family will be present an hour before the service to greet friends. Inurnment will take place at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Indianola.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be given to Wesleylife Foundation Indianola. In the memo, include Good Shepherd Fund Village Endowment in Nancy’s memory. To sign an online condolence, visit our website at


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