Nancy Clay (Hughes) Lee, 79, passed away at Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga,
Tennessee on January 12, 2018 after a brief illness. At the time of her death, she was a
resident of Cozy Manor Personal Care Home in Lafayette, Georgia.
Nancy was born on July 29, 1938 in Glasgow, Kentucky to Paul D. and Ella P. (Downing)
Hughes of Flippin, Kentucky. She spent her early years around the family farm and also at the
Lane-Webb store in Flippin where her father Paul was storekeeper. Her mother Ella was a
schoolteacher and was postmistress for a time in Flippin. Nancy attended Flippin School and
graduated from Gamaliel High School in 1956. In 1960, she graduated from then-Western
Kentucky State College with a degree in education.
Nancy’s career took her to many different places over the years. She taught school in Jefferson
County (KY) for two years and worked for the Kentucky Democratic Party for a brief time before
moving to Washington D.C. in 1962. She worked as a staff secretary in several agencies before
joining the staff of Virginia Senator William B. Spong. She returned home to Kentucky in 1970
and then moved to Nashville, Tennessee. She worked for a time with the Tennessee
Democratic Party and also with Cain-Sloan Co. in Nashville in various merchandising
While she was living in Nashville, Nancy reconnected with a high school classmate, Paul R.
Lee, and they married on December 7, 1974 (they later divorced in 2012). She moved home to
Kentucky and was a homemaker. In 1975, she had a daughter, Ellen Downing Lee, and twin
sons, John Adrain and William Paul Lee. The family lived for a time in Flippin and then moved to
Gamaliel in 1980, where they would remain.
Nancy returned to work in teaching in 1983, working for several years as an elementary grade
teacher in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. After several years there, she returned to teaching
in Kentucky for the Monroe County (KY) school system as a special education teacher. She
taught first at Tompkinsville Elementary School and then later at Gamaliel Elementary School,
where she remained until her retirement.
Nancy used her retirement to pursue many of her favorite interests: gardening, playing her
piano and singing, writing, and spending time with her friends and family. She was active with
the Homemakers Club and the Monroe County Retired Teachers Association. She was known
around the community for her love of flowers, especially her prize African violets, a love she
inherited from her mother.
Nancy was well-known for being active in her church and community. She was a member of
Indian Creek Baptist Church of Flippin, Kentucky for many years. The last church she attended
was Redeeming Love Church of Gamaliel, Kentucky. Nancy loved to help teach in her churches
whether it was Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, or working with youth groups over the
years. Her faith was very strong and she loved to attend meetings and conventions in Nashville
and elsewhere in the southeast over the years. Most of all, Nancy was known for her love of her
friends and family. She was a loving and compassionate person who was always there to offer a
helping hand and kind words to people in need. She was proud of her family, most especially of
her children. She always supported them in their many endeavors and interests, and most of all
just enjoyed spending time with them.
Nancy Clay Lee is survived by her daughter, Ellen Lee Releford of Monteagle, Tennessee and
her son, John Adrain Lee of Nashville, Tennessee. She was preceded in death by her son,
William Paul Lee; her mother, Ella D. Hughes; her father, Paul D. Hughes; and her stepmother,
Eula L. Hughes. A private funeral for her immediate family will take place in Monteagle,
Tennessee on January 18, 2018, with a memorial for friends and family to take place at 2:00 on
March 31, 2018 at Redeeming Love Church in her longtime home of Gamaliel, Kentucky.