Two women have figured prominently in the history of Nancy's Home Cooking, dating back to 1970. Neither was named Nancy.
The latest person to be the face of the iconic Clintonville eatery, Sheila Davis Hahn, died on Nov. 7. She was 41 and succumbed to cervical cancer after being diagnosed with the disease only a few months earlier.
"It's a blessing for her, but it's a curse for us," Airica Haag, an employee at the diner, said late last week of the brevity of the late owner's suffering.
Although she's only been at Nancy's Home Cooking, 3133 N. High St., for two years, Haag said she had come to love Hahn.
"She was like a mom to me," Haag said.
Hahn, according to her obituary in The Columbus Dispatch, was a member and elder of Crestview Presbyterian Church. She attended Columbus Alternative High School and graduated from Linden McKinley High School. She went on to more education at Columbus State Community College and was on her way to a master's degree in social work at Ohio State University when she put that career on hold to reopen Nancy's, which had been closed by her aunt, Cindy Sue King Moore on June 1, 2009.
King had run the diner for 38 years.
"The more I went to see Cindy and saw how heartbroken she was, the more I wanted to do it," Hahn told The Dispatch in a story that ran Feb. 16, 2010, on the eve of a reopening. "She gave this place 40 years of heart and soul.
"My grandparents worked for Cindy. I would come in with them and make coleslaw. I've been in this restaurant since I was 5, but I never thought I would continue it. It was Cindy's life, not mine, but things happen for a reason."
Cindy King died March 3.
"The community's love affair with King became apparent in 2009 when she announced that she was closing the restaurant because of financial problems and health issues," a Dispatch story stated following the former restaurant owner's death. "Former customers raised about $15,000 to help out, and eight months later the restaurant reopened with her niece, Sheila Davis Hahn, at the helm."
Now, Hahn is gone, too.
"She meant everything here," employee Haag said. "She resurrected this place once Cindy the original owner's health failed.
"She's going to be very, very missed."