Nancy Lu Kohl.

Nancy Lu Kohl, 83

June 29, 2024

Nancy Lu Kohl of Concord passed away peacefully on June 24, surrounded by her two children and her husband. She was 83.

Born in Fostoria, Ohio to James (Jim) and Rose Middleton, she grew up alongside her three siblings: Rose Ann, whom she nicknamed Rog-er, Virginia (Ginny), and James (Jimmy). A granddaughter of a Methodist minister, and a member of a deeply religious family, she developed a faith in God that would be with her for the rest of her life.  

Throughout her childhood, she also developed her innate talent for the creative, becoming an excellent seamstress and cook. She also loved to act in school plays and was inducted into the International Thespian Society in high school.

Nancy also had a talent for numbers and attended Findlay College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business. Having always been interested in living in the Boston area, after graduation she traveled to Massachusetts to look for work. Not finding a position that was acceptable to her, she returned to Ohio where she worked at the Toledo Ohio Chamber of Commerce and became the second-ranked officer of the Chamber, the first woman to serve in that role nationally.

She left her position at the Chamber because she was treated by the men in a way that she considered unacceptable. She then took a position at the University of Toledo computer center and taught business courses at the university’s community college.  

A short time later, mutual friends set her up on a blind date with a physics graduate student. She loved to tell the story of how she expected a small, skinny guy with a pocket protector, only to open the door to find John, a 6-foot-tall, 220-pound former college football lineman. They connected immediately and married a year later. They were married for the next 58 years.

Thrilled that John obtained a postdoctoral position at the Harvard College Observatory, Nancy and John moved to Massachusetts in 1969, allowing her to realize her dream of living in the Boston area. They first lived in Watertown, and then settled in Concord.  

Shortly after moving to Concord, their daughter Betsy was born, followed three years later by son James. She was an incredible mom. Filling her kids’ lives with love, support, hugs, and important life lessons that they are now passing on to their own children.

While busy in the home, Nancy also worked part-time while the kids were growing up as the assistant treasurer of the First Church in Cambridge Congregational, was hired to work closely on special projects with Harvard University’s Secretary of the Corporation, and was the comptroller of a small engineering consultant firm in Lexington. Later, after the kids were off to college, Nancy began working at Calico Corners in Acton, where she became the in-home decorative consultant and was the top furniture salesperson nationally two years in a row.

Dedicated to service, Nancy volunteered in many leadership positions in her church, and as member and president of both the Louisa May Alcott Association and Harvard Neighbors of Harvard University. She and John also served as the leaders of the West Concord Union Church Youth Group for many years, building deeply meaningful relationships that continued throughout her life.

Upon her retirement in 2010, she and John began to split their time between Concord and their summer home in Trenton, Maine, where she spent many happy years filled with boating, reading, gardening, visiting with family, and taking in the beauty all around her.

In 2007, she welcomed her first grandchildren, Jack and Angel, followed three years later by her twin grandsons, George and Sam. She loved them and was so proud of them all. She often wore a necklace with silhouette charms on which were written their names and birthdays, so she could keep them close to her heart.

Nancy is survived by her husband John and their children, Betsy (Carl) of Newtown, Connecticut, and James (Sarah) of Bow, New Hampshire; and their families, including her four grandchildren, Jack, Angel, George, and Sam; along with her sister Rose Ann Pistole of Aiken, South Carolina, sister Virginia Beasley of Bethel, Connecticut, brother Jim Middleton (Betty) of Wesley Chapel, Florida, and many nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will gather for a funeral service at Concord Funeral Home at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 1, followed by a graveside service at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. A reception will be held at the Colonial Inn following the services.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Nancy’s name to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury.

Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, Concord.  To share a memory or offer a condolence, visit