Nancy Louise (Rill) Conybeare Obituary

Nancy Louise (Rill) Conybeare, born October 2, 1939 in Benton Harbor MI, peacefully passed away on February 20, 2021, after a long struggle with vascular dementia.

Nancy approached the last 6+ years with dignity and grace, just as she had during her 2 bouts with breast cancer.

Nancy is survived by her 5 children and their spouses, Bruce Conybeare, Jr. & Elizabeth Brien Conybeare of Ann Arbor, MI; Brian & Janna Conybeare of St. Joseph, MI; Barry & Jody Conybeare of St. Joseph, MI; Bethany Conybeare & Emery Mitchell of Mill Valley, CA and Brigid & Mark Britton of Seattle, WA; along with 19 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Nancy is also survived by her sister Marcia Kasischke of St. Joseph, MI and Marcia’s children, Kim, Karen & Kevin and their families; her children’s father, Bruce Conybeare Sr. of St. Joseph, MI and her sister-in-law Sherry Conybeare of St. Joseph, MI.

Nancy’s parents, Bill & Lillian Rill, her brother Bill Rill, and her in-laws, Robert (Chad) & Dorothy Conybeare, preceded her in death.

Nancy invested her heart and soul in raising her 5 children. She often said one of her goals was to have them grow up to love and support one another and have close sibling bonds. Thanks Mom, Mission Accomplished!

Nancy greeted people from all walks of life with a gracious smile and a kind word, consistent with her strong belief in The Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

Nancy also shared her passion for reading, cooking & baking, entertaining, traveling, and playing Scrabble with her family and friends.

Nancy graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1957. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Art in 1959 from Benton Harbor Junior College, a predecessor of Lake Michigan College. She earned a Registered Nursing degree in 1978 from Lake Michigan College. She later earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Studies from Western Michigan University and pursued coursework toward a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration.

Nancy served the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph communities through, among other endeavors, campaigning in the early 1970s for Charles Joseph, the first Black mayor of Benton Harbor; a rewarding career with Lakeland Hospital as an oncology nurse, an in-patient rehabilitation case manager, and Director of Quality Assurance; another rewarding career as Director of Development at Lake Michigan College, where she was honored in 2005 as both Outstanding Employee & Administrator of the Year and honored again in 2010 with the Alumni Service Award; and community-based leadership roles with The Rotary Club of Benton Harbor – Sunrise and the First Congregational Church, among others. She was also an avid gardener and long-time member of the Indian Hills Garden Club.

Nancy’s family will be forever grateful for the kind and compassionate care she received over the last few years from the wonderful caregivers at Lakeland Hanson Hospice and The Whitcomb.

A Celebration of Life will be planned for Summer 2021.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Nancy’s memory to the Race Relations Council of Southwest Michigan, Lakeland Hanson Hospice, Lake Michigan College, or an organization of your choice. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel & Cremation Services, 269-556-9450.