Nan Haffenreffer was born in 1950 in Fall River, Massachusetts. She is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Community Health. She has made an impact on Little Compton, in many ways.
Nan grew up with her family in a small neighborhood in South Swansea, Massachusetts. Her home neighborhood was directly across from Fall River, Massachusetts where her father’s family owned Enterprise Brewing Co, making both Old Tap Ale, and Boh Beer. Her father’s name was Adolf Fredrick Haffenreffer Jr. His family came to Little Compton from Fall River frequently. That is how he met Nan’s mother, Lois Gladding, from Pawtucket RI, as a teenager at Briggs Beach.
Nan’s earliest memories in Little Compton were at her grandfather’s retreat that everyone called “The Shack.” Her grandfather had since sold his property on Peckham Road and bought a 60 acre area on Quicksand Pond where Nan’s husband and she, as well her brother’s family still live. As kids, Nan and her siblings would explore the great outdoors. They would walk on the path, into the woods, with their Grandmother Gladding, in her long skirts, looking for Christmas Greens, and Jack in the Pulpits. The Haffenreffer kids had an unusual relationship with the Shack. At the time, it was a “mens only cabin,” women were only allowed in at certain times. But that wasn’t why they had an unusual relationship with it. It was there that their father died of a massive heart attack, at 51 years old. Nan was only 18. Three and a half years later, Nan’s mother died, just after building a new house on the Little Compton property.
After all this, Nan returned to art school, in Boston, Massachusetts. It was there that she would meet her future husband, Larry Anderson. During this point in her life, Nan and Larry did many things. They would travel to Vermont frequently to visit friends. It was here that Nan learned how to cross-country ski. Eventually, Nan knew it was time to come back to LC, so that she and her brother could take after each other. And they did. Nan and Adolf were living at the Shack, working and having parties. Nan continued her weaving, something she learned while in Scotland, with her loom set up in the Shack’s living room. All very casual and free for the two young siblings.
Finally, in 1976, Nan Haffenreffer married Larry Anderson at the Stone House. After this, Nan went to nursing school. Public Health Nursing had always intrigued Nan, but something had always gotten in the way of it. Not this time. Nan finished Nursing school with a BS in Nursing from RIC and eventually a Master’s in Community Health.
Nan and Larry, along with their son Sam, moved back to LC on the land her grandfather purchased in the 1940’s. She got a position as a Public Health nurse at Little Compton Nursing Association in 1985, and worked with this organization until 2012. Nan is currently working at Visiting Home & Hospice, where she still serves the LC community. Today, Nan still does her part to help Little Compton. She does, and always has made an impact towards Little Compton. These ways include presently being on the board of Sakonnet Preservation Association, Stay at Home Advisory, and Sakonnet Peace Vigil, all non-profit organizations. I’m proud to call her my great aunt.
Written by: Rose Manning, Grade 6 – Wilbur & McMahon School
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