Yancey County

County History: 
Quick Facts
People and Biographies
Notable individuals from nursing history.
  • Lisa Goldstein (1950s): Lay midwife and certified nurse midwife in the Appalachian mountains.
  • Nancy S. Shaw (1920- ): Nancy Shaw was the second of 11 children born in 1920 to George and Lucy Shaw of Grayson, Virginia. The family was tenant farmers and could not afford to send their children to college. Nancy attended nursing school at Virginia Baptist Hospital School of Nursing because there were no fees. In fact, students were paid a small stipend for their work. While working as an Industrial Nurse in Baltimore, she met and married her husband Cecil Shaw, who was a physician there. Shaw and her husband vacationed in the Blue Ridge Mountains and happened to come to Burnsville, NC. The Shaw’s stayed at Nu Wray Inn, and they quickly fell in love with the area. They chose to move to Burnsville, NC in 1968.  After a couple of years of being employed as a nurse at the old Yancey Hospital, Shaw was asked to become to first school nurse in Yancey County. She recalled helping many children get eyeglasses and dental care. She was also instrumental in establishing the first Health Occupations Program in the Yancey County school system in 1973. Shaw was the first Health Occupations teacher traveling between Cane River High School and East Yancey High School until the schools were consolidated. Mrs. Shaw loved her work and her students. She won the 1982 Yancey County Teacher of the Year Award, the 2005 Mountain Heritage Teacher of the Year Award, and was listed in Who’s Who of School Teachers.  After 32 years of teaching, and at the age of 85, Mrs. Shaw decided to retire in 2005. In 2005 she was the first recipient of the NC Association for Career Technology and Education President’s Award.  She was inducted as a lifetime member in the North Carolina Health Occupations Hall of Fame.  Generations of Yancey County youth benefited form her love of teaching, love of nursing, and love of her neighbors in her adopted community.
Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt