By Elaine Rucker
Many of us were saddened to recently learn Wanda Groennert had passed away. For those that did not know her, she was a lifelong resident of Nashville and was considered to be one of the area’s most knowledgeable historians.
Groennert was known as “one of the regulars” at Beatty’s Variety Store and enjoyed joining in many of the discussions concerning Washington County history and of course, the latest of what was happening in and around town.
What made her one of the best historians was her love of Nashville and the towns and villages in the county.
Throughout the years, Wanda was involved in many aspects of preserving buildings, businesses, historic sites, and family histories in Washington County. Two such endeavors she was most proud of helping to preserve were the Washington County Hospital which was at one time being considered for closure, and the Washington County Courthouse.
She attended many meetings and bent many a ear of local politicians to preserve the usefulness of these buildings to the county.
She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and sometimes, she could be a little overbearing, but nonetheless, we still have these buildings, and we should give her credit for standing up and supporting the preservation of these buildings.
History was Wanda’s passion or some would say her obsession. She was a steadfast and loyal supporter of the Washington County Historical Society (WCHS) where she earned a position as one of the Board of Directors for many years. Up until about a year ago, she remained a constant figure working behind the scenes at that organization toward the betterment of the Museum, McKelvey School, and the L&N Depot.
Known to her friends as “Madame Curator”, she would spend countless hours at the museum office documenting incoming exhibits, arranging exhibits in the three locations above, assisting people with genealogy and family histories, and researching various subjects on Washington County History.
Groennert created over 70+ booklets which contain many historical events throughout Washington County’s history. No stone would be left unturned in her research.
Making sure her facts were correct, accurate, and well documented were all very important to her. Good, bad, or ugly, she didn’t try to sugar coat her writings because, as she said, “It is our history and that’s the way it happened.”
She never tired of contributing her time and efforts toward keeping our history alive, and helping to keep Nashville and the county a great place for families to live.
Wanda Groennert’s countless hours of service to the WCHS are greatly appreciated and have been integral to the success of the organization. It is a direct reflection on herself, the WCHS, the city of Nashville, and Washington County.
We will miss her very much. Godspeed, Wanda!