Nancy G. Drapeau

Nancy G. Drapeau, age 67 of Dubuque, Iowa passed away on December 21, 2019 at Stonehill Care Center, lovingly surrounded by her family.  To honor Nancy’s life, a memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at the Van Buren Elementary School, 2525 29th Street, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  A Celebration of Life for family and friends will be held immediately following her memorial service at the Lion Bridge Brewing Co., 59 16th Avenue SW, Czech Village, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The Tri-State Cremation Center in humbly serving Nancy’s family.


Nancy was born on September 16, 1952 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  She was one of 3 daughters born to William G. and Dorothy I. (Gearkee) McCrory.  Nancy graduated with her Master’s degree from the University of Iowa and spent the majority of her life in the Cedar Rapids area working on behalf of children as a special education teacher at Kenwood Elementary School, an administrator and, finally, as principal as Van Buren Elementary School.  Nancy devoted her professional life to making sure each child she worked with was seen, heard, and understood.  She helped countless students find joy and opportunity through education; she cared deeply and took great pride in her work.  After retiring, she moved to Dubuque with her husband, Jim, where she tended to her pets, flowers, birdfeeders, and an overflowing vegetable garden.


Nancy poured herself into creative pursuits in her spare time.  She was an avid photographer, always ready to chase down a swan if it meant a good photo.  Nancy loved to write.  She was the editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper and pursued journalism in college before settling into education.  From staff memos to personal essays, everything Nancy wrote was imbued with her thoughtfulness and oddball wit.


Family time was extremely important to Nancy.  She traveled the world with friends and family, from Japan to Sturgis to the beaches of Florida – one of her favorite places since childhood.  Nancy loved family gatherings, particularly around the holidays, where she decorated the house from top to bottom and made her famous “pizza balls.”


Nancy was a kind and generous soul who only saw the good in people.  Her gentle spirit was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her. Even through the devastating Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Nancy sought peace, not only for herself, but also for those she would leave behind. 


Those left behind to cherish the memory of Nancy include,


her loving husband,

James “Jim” Drapeau, Bellevue, Iowa;


her 2 children,

Matthew “Matt” Raw and his wife Maggie Campbell, Brooklyn, New York,

Kathryn “Katy” Raw, Minneapolis, Minnesota;


her step-daughter,

Jennifer “Jenny” Wilking and her husband Mike, Stony Brook, New York;


her 4 grandchildren,

Charlotte Campbell-Raw, Wilder Campbell-Raw, Vivian Wilking, and Alexander Wilking;


her sisters,

Linda Drzycimski and her husband John, Cedar Rapids, Iowa,

and Sue Oldaker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin;


along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends, and neighbors.


Nancy was preceded in death by her parents and a brother-in-law, Russ Oldaker. 


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Nancy’s name to the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, 4111 West Frontage Road, Highway 52 NW, 2-700, Rochester, Minnesota, 55901.


Nancy’s family would like to thank the Mayo Clinic, along with the nurses and staff at Prairie Care, Stonehill Care Center and Hospice of Dubuque for all of their professional, compassionate and tender care of Nancy, and her family. 


Online condolences may be shared with Nancy’s family at

Memorial Service

Van Buren Elementary School
2525 29th Street, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52404
January 4th, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Celebration of Life

Lion Bridge Brewing Company
59 16th Avenue SW, Czech Village, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52404
January 4th, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

14 comments on “Nancy G. Drapeau
  1. Steve and Deb Siegworth says:

    With our deepest sympathy to Jim and his family during this difficult time. Nan was such an amazing Lady! May she Rest In Peace.

  2. Lisa Hamilton says:

    I was saddened to hear of Nancy’s passing. She hired me as a teacher while she was principal at Van Buren. She taught me how to hold students to high standards, but how to do it with kindness. I will forever remember her witty sense of humor. I am a better teacher having worked under Nancy, and there are thousands of students out there that are better off because of the ways Nancy enriched their lives. She will be sorely missed.

  3. Kimberly Malcolm says:

    This is heart-wrenching news to hear of Nancy’s passing. I had the honor of serving as Nancy’s school social worker while she was the principal at Van Buren Elementary in Cedar Rapids. I learned so much from her leadership and cherished our friendship. Nancy once played a prank on me and my husband while we were away celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in Galena. She managed to find the hotel we were staying in and had the hotel staff leave us a card while we were away. I was convinced she was hiding somewhere in the room. We had a hearty laugh that following Monday…although my paranoia stayed with me.

    I am sickened by her loss but I am so blessed to have had her in my world.

    Go on friend. Your presence lives on in us all.

  4. Carrie Buelow says:

    I am so saddened by the passing of Nancy. She took a chance and hired me for my first teaching job! We always had great conversations about our pets and how much they meant to us.

    Nancy was always one who would be in on a good prank! But I have to admit she was also the recipient of a few pranks. I can still hear her laughing and just shaking her head.

    She will be sorely missed and I have nothing but admiration for her. So many people are better off for knowing her!

  5. Sandra holmes says:

    My condolences go out to Nancy’s family she was my 4th 5th and 6th grade teacher at Kenwood Elementary she was an awesome teacher any day that we got our homework done and our school work done at the end of the day she would let us go over to the record player and play the record Greece with headphones she taught me so much in school had it not been for Nancy I would probably be struggling but she had a lot of faith and heart put so much effort into teaching each and every student in her class I am so saddened to hear that she’s gone but I know she earned her wings because there was no other teacher like Nancy

  6. Susan Wilkey says:

    My sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to Nancy’s family. I had the pleasure and honor of having Nancy as my principal for more than 10 years. She was compassionate and caring for all children in her charge, wanting to do right by them. I always enjoyed her clever sense of humor and was lucky enough to hear her read aloud from her personal writings. She used her talents well and we are better for having known her.

  7. April Sharp says:

    I am saddened deeply by Nancy’s passing, what a beautiful person she was! I am blessed to have met her while working at Prairie Ridge. Condolences to her family.

  8. Joan at Stonehill says:

    Bless you dear Nancy….you’ve received your wings to a better place….. Rest in Peace..

  9. Courtenay Flynn says:

    I am sorry to hear of Nancy’s passing. She was such a sweetheart. I had the privilege to take care of her at Prairie Ridge, so many fond memories of her. Will miss her so much. My prayer and love go out to the entire family.

  10. Beverly Gourley says:

    Dear Jim and Family,
    I am deeply saddened to learn that your beloved Nancy has passed. I know she was strong through her health struggles and you were there by her side through it all. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

  11. Dawn Dempsey says:

    With thoughts and prayers to Jim and his family. Without really knowing Nancy, just reading what others thought of her, it’s easy to get a feeling of such a wonderful happy person. May your memories of her, and her love for you, always warm your heart.

    Dubuque Police Dept.

  12. Teresa Dodds says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Nancy’s passing – Jim and family, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time!

  13. David & Pamela Wilcox says:

    May your spirit live free, and fly with the angels Nancy. You suffer no more and your memory will live on with those that knew and loved you. You are missed.

    Dave and Pamela Wilcox

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