Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Nancy Saxton

October 26, 1944 - December 17, 2023
Grand Rapids, MI



Wednesday, December 20, 2023
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
(616) 361-2613
Driving Directions


Thursday, December 21, 2023
11:00 AM EST
West Cannon Baptist Church
5760 Cannonsburg Rd
Belmont, MI 49306
1 (616) 874-6740

Visitation from 10 AM until the start of the service

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Rest Haven Homes
1424 Union Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Web Site

Bangla Ministries Worldwide
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


As her family and friends can surely attest, Nancy Saxton truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength and encouragement, even in the most difficult of times. Nothing brought Nancy greater joy than spending time with her loved ones. She was always willing to go above and beyond to serve those around her, and her selfless heart allowed her to touch the lives of countless others. Forever loved, Nancy will be deeply missed by those who knew her best.

The 1940s was a tumultuous time for the United States and the rest of the globe as WWII raged on. Countless brave servicemen were called away from home to fight for their country while those who remained stateside supported the war effort, faced strict rationing, and kept their radios close, waiting for news. It was during this time of great change that Harland Carter and Helen (McMicken) Carter of Retta, Pennsylvania, were eagerly anticipating the birth of their first child. On October 26, 1944, their wait was over, and they welcomed their daughter, who they named Nancy Elizabeth, into the world.

Growing up, Nancy was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in a multigenerational home alongside her four younger siblings, Phyllis, Calvin, Barbara, and Jeannette. Nancy’s father worked as a dairy farmer, and the family owned 100 Jersey milk cows. The Carter children would help out on the farm. When Nancy was in elementary school, she and her sister wanted to go bowling. Their father told them he was too busy with the farm but jokingly said walking was an option. The girls took him seriously, packed a lunch for themselves, and started off on the 35 mile walk to town. Before long, their mother noticed they were missing and found them just a few miles away. From a young age, Nancy was not afraid to chase after what she wanted.

Throughout her childhood, Nancy attended local schools. Her first school was Auburn Center Elementary, a single building with two floors. When the school had fire drills, the upper level would have chutes for the children to slide down. Nancy always looked forward to having fire drills for that reason. She attended Elk Lake High School and graduated in 1962, in the top 10% of her class. After high school, Nancy moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she enrolled in technical school and worked as a nanny. She then moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the late 1960s and began working as a lab tech at the Leech Farm VA hospital.

New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Nancy as she met the man who would quickly become her husband. His name was Walter Crawford, and he was a biomedical engineer. There was an instant spark between them and Walt joked that Nancy would break the equipment just so he would have to come and fix it. They soon began dating, and their relationship blossomed into something truly special. Nancy and Walt were married on September 3, 1971, by a Justice of the Peace in Pittsburgh with Walt's sister as their witness. The newlyweds then took a honeymoon in Florida before returning to Pittsburgh to begin their lives together.

All who knew Nancy can certainly agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her loved ones above all else. She and Walter were overjoyed to welcome their first child, Rodger, in 1973, followed by Amy in 1975 into their hearts and home. Nancy thrived in her role as a mother and left the workforce to care for her children for a time. She was always very involved in the lives of her children and was their biggest supporter. Though she was devastated to lose her husband, Walter, to cancer on January 20, 2000, Nancy was always grateful for the time and children they shared. Later in life, she was thrilled to become a grandmother as well. Nancy always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.

In the fall of 2002, Nancy was introduced to the man who would become her loving and devoted husband. She met Paul Saxton on the eHarmony matching site. The two exchanged emails for several months, and when it became clear they were both interested, they exchanged phone numbers as well. After two months of talking over the phone, Nancy and Paul agreed to meet in person. They made eye contact across the Pittsburgh Airport, and the rest was history. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Nancy and Paul were married on February 14, 2003, at Penn Hills Alliance Church with a reception at Nancy’s home. They honeymooned at a local motel near Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula before settling down in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nancy was also overjoyed to watch her family grow to include her stepchildren, Benjamin, Dave, and Holly, through her marriage to Paul.

Never one to sit still for long, Nancy pursued many hobbies in her free time. She enjoyed traveling, and over the years, her family took many vacations and camping trips, especially to Civil War battlefield sites and the Big Bear Lake Campground in West Virginia with their Airstream trailer. Nancy was very artistic and was known for her crafts, her handmade dresses and macrame, and her sewing skills. She loved playing piano and organ. Nancy was an active member of the Penn Hills Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, where she taught Sunday school, played piano, and participated in the choir. She liked cooking traditional American farm meals with bacon grease and baking cookies by the hundreds. Nancy had a sweet tooth and loved ice cream. She was an avid reader of the Bible and other Christian themed books, and she loved being involved in Bible study.

When reflecting on the life of Nancy Saxton, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. Her primary focus in life was fostering deep and personal relationships with those around her. A caring wife, mother, and grandmother, Nancy was beloved by many and a friend to all she met. She was well known for her adventurous spirit and her unshakeable faith, and she was a shining example of kindness and generosity. Though she will be dearly missed, Nancy leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.

Nancy Elizabeth (Carter Crawford) Saxton, age 79 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on December 17, 2023. Nancy is survived by her husband of 20 years, Paul Saxton; her children Amy Crawford (Laurel Snow), Rodger Crawford; step-children Benjamin Saxton, Dave (Marybeth) Saxton, Holly (Richard) Peffer; 8 grandchildren, Ruth Ann (Tyler) Law, Grace (Jonathan) O’Brien, Rebecca Saxton, Faith Saxton, Suzy Saxton, Joshua Peffer, Alaina Peffer and Bethany Peffer; sisters Phyllis (Roy) Darling, Barbara (Roger) Fike, Jeannette Zang; brother, Calvin (Robin) Carter; several nieces and nephews and many friends. Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Crawford, in 2000. The service to remember and celebrate her life will be held on Thursday, December 21, 2023 at 11 AM at West Cannon Baptist Church, 5760 Cannonsburg Rd NE. Friends are invited to visit with her family on Wednesday from 6-8 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE and for one hour prior to the service at church. Interment in Washington Park Memorial Gardens. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Rest Haven Homes or Bangla Ministries Worldwide are appreciated. To read more about Nancy, to share a memory or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com