Updated: Sep 13, 2018
Born and raised in a Christian home in the Charleston area, First Baptist Church was Mrs. Lassig’s home Church for over 58 years! She served as Director of Children’s Ministry, Senior Adult Program Director and Chair of the Home Bound Ministry. “Nell’s heart was truly touched by the young and the elderly” says fellow Church Member Sue Murner. Friend and also a fellow Church Member, Jane Ezell Hamrick states “age made no difference! Serving God was her first priority.” Mrs. Lassig’s Pastor, Marshall Blalock ‘75, shares his favorite Nell Lassig story as “one that is about her being someone who was ahead of her time. She grew up in a world where women were accustomed to taking a back seat to the men. She did not see herself, or any other woman, as inferior. She broke some barriers in her lifetime, serving in some key roles in the church, often among the first women to do so. Twenty years ago she was the only woman on a very important Church committee, and the first order of business was to elect officers. Eleven men and Nell were in the room, so as they considered who would be secretary, all eyes were on Nell. At that moment she looked at the men and said, ‘I am pleased to serve on this committee, but there are two things you may not ask me to do: Be the secretary or fix your coffee.’ She wanted to be taken seriously, and from that moment there was no ambiguity about her standing on the committee. She was a full member, not a token. Mrs. Lassig lived a full life on many levels. She lived every moment to the fullest, she loved others fully, she served her Savior fully, and she made others feel fully cared for. First Baptist School has had many great role models over the years, but none to excel Mrs. Lassig.”
Throughout Mrs. Lassig’s years, she was never afraid to share how she felt. However, Mrs. Lassig always found a way to “tell you like it is with grace” shares Lynda Hatchell Miller ‘76. Gloria Askins, retired Lower School Principal, remembers Mrs. Lassig as having a wonderful sense of humor and being very upbeat. She also adds “it was uplifting to be around her. Mrs. Lassig was a lady who could give a joke and take a joke!”
Mrs. Gloria Askins worked with Mrs. Lassig for 22 years at First Baptist School. “Mrs. Lassig was our best Bible teacher because of all she did. She actually lived her faith!” Dr. Scott Wise ’94 will never forget Mrs. Lassig’s gift of grace and complete forgiveness given over 25 years ago after he confessed to doing something wrong in her class. “I expected condemnation and anger but what I got was the total opposite” remembers Scott. Pastor Blalock ‘75 states “Nell Lassig blessed the lives of students over the course of many years at First Baptist School; I should know, I was one of those students when she first volunteered as a substitute teacher fifty years ago. Mrs. Lassig would go from substitute teaching to investing her life full-time to help children come to know the Bible and to develop their faith in God. She saw every child as a gift from God, she loved each one, but that never meant she was a push-over. She possessed a solid core of profound faith and strength that carried her through every situation.”
Fellow Church Member and co-worker, Debbie Mack, feels Proverbs 31:10-12, 20, 25-31 defines Mrs. Lassig beautifully. “Proverbs 31 has always been a passage of scripture that gives direction to the life of a woman, but it is truly a description of my dear friend, Nell Reeves Lassig. She welcomed me to First Baptist Church as a college student, supported me as a young wife and mother, and loved me as if I was her child. She was a true example of a Godly woman and a Christian educator. As she taught Bible, she wanted the students to learn and understand the scriptures, apply them and live by them. She taught them by example. They knew that she loved and cared for each one of them. They knew that she lived by the very scriptures that she taught. Nell was an example for each of us that worked with her. She supported us emotionally and prayerfully each day. She lived a life full of love and grace. Her memory lives on in each of us that had the privilege of being her friend. Our lives have been truly blessed by her life among us.”
Just like in her marriage, Mrs. Lassig preferred serving behind the scenes in her volunteer and other positions at First Baptist School and Church. She asked for no glory but only encouraged you to embrace who Christ is and who He desires you to be. Mrs. Lassig was a lifelong learner with an insatiable desire to study God’s Word. Long time friend Lynda Hatchell Miller ‘76 remembers Mrs. Lassig often asking her “what are you studying in your Bible study? Do you have any notes to share?” With every Bible study in which Mrs. Lassig participated, she would have a special notebook with pages and pages of notes. Friend and co-Worker, Sue Strock Wise ‘ remembers that Mrs. Lassig knew the Bible back and forth!
Granddaughters Elizabeth Rodelsperger Curry ’05 and Sarah Rodelsperger Rickman ’11 remember her Bible always open next to her den chair. All day long Mrs. Lassig would study and read, saturating her life with who God was. In her home she had shelves of commentaries and her own library of apologetics and books. Mrs. Lassig’s family would often find notecards with Scripture written on cards in various drawers around Mrs. Lassig’s home. Daughter, Karen Lassig Rodelsperger ‘76, describes her mother as a true prayer warrior pouring over her Bible daily. She constantly sought to hear God’s voice and to seek His face.
She raised her family in the Hobcaw neighborhood of Mount Pleasant. It was at this home that she nurtured a loving marriage for almost 38 years. Before Don passed away from a brain tumor, Mrs. Lassig demonstrated what a Proverbs 31 wife defines. Mrs. Lassig took joy in respecting her husband and lifting him up in prayer consistently.
Mrs. Lassig loved her two daughters, Karen Lassig Rodelsperger ‘76 and Linda Caroline Corbisello, fully and unconditionally. Karen is carrying on her mother’s tradition by teaching 2nd grade at First Baptist School for over 15 years. Mrs. Lassig was also a grandmother of four and a great-grandmother of three! Grandson, Robert Rodelsperger ‘01, remembers his “Grandmamma” always adding Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 in every Christmas card and every birthday card. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Mrs. Lassig loved her grandchildren well and had a special relationship with each of them. Mrs. Lassig’s love for her family and love for First Baptist School coupled together has achieved three generations of Christian education! Robert was the only grandchild to actually know his Grandmamma also as his Bible teacher. Robert even had to attend Personal Growth and Development with Mrs. Lassig in 6th grade! Elizabeth Rodelsperger Curry ’05 inherited Grandmamma’s love of antiques and the joy of a vintage find. Elizabeth’s husband, Jason, grew very close to Mrs. Lassig as he spent many hours with her refurnishing antiques. Mrs. Lassig was still refinishing furniture at 91 years old and was not afraid to get dirty! Granddaughter, Sarah Rodelsperger Rickman ’11 shares Mrs. Lassig’s love of entertaining and dancing! Sarah is spunky just like her Grandmamma and will always remember doing the Shag and Charleston dances in her Grandmamma's den! Sue Murner, adds “her family was blessed by her deep love. Members, who passed away before she did, were mentioned frequently. Others who remained here to grieve were her pride and joy.” Daughter, Linda Caroline Corbisello, shares “My Mother was a kind, sweet and generous person. She was always there to take care of someone and help all she possibly could. She touched hundreds of children's lives in her church and school teachings. When I was a child, I recall the many times she would kiss me on my head and tell me how special I was to her and Daddy because they chose me to be their daughter.”
When asked what comes to mind when thinking of Mrs. Lassig, Mrs. Lynda Hatchell Miller ‘76 speaks of Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live…, Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Mrs. Lassig embodied this Bible verse as she encouraged the older ladies of First Baptist Church to be models for the younger ladies in the Church as they love and respect their husbands. Mrs. Lassig’s passion was to nurture and disciple these younger women first and foremost in Biblical ways but also in practical ones! For every First Baptist Church bride, Mrs. Lassig would teach the younger ladies how to organize a Bridal Shower at her home with all her polished silver. She always said “If you are going to do it, do it right.” Friend and fellow Church Member, Esther Faulkenberry explained it beautifully by saying “people always say that Nell demanded perfection, but what Nell really was doing was giving her first fruits to our Lord.” Nell consistently gave her best to others, therefore God. Mrs. Gloria Askins adds “people listened to Nell. In a kind and loving way people would be agreeable with her because how she approached others.”
In her free time, Mrs. Lassig loved to garden and arrange flowers while also enjoying many years being a part of the Hobcaw Garden Club. Her artistic passions extended to antiques, furniture and frames! She loved antiques so much that she became longtime friends with the Page family of Page’s Thieves Market in Mount Pleasant. Linda Page, owner of Page’s Thieves Market, remembers delivering furniture to Mrs. Lassig’s home as a child with her father, Carl Page. Mrs. Lassig was a true treasure hunter seeking “the finds” visiting the store sometimes five times a week! Ms. Page remembers Mrs. Lassig as a beautiful lady, animated and fun and goes on to share “Mrs. Lassig would become so excited when a new antique shipment would arrive that she and other regular customers would help us unload the truck so she could be the first one to see the new arrivals! Mrs. Lassig was one of Page’s Thieves Market’s best customers I will never forget her.” Mrs. Lassig shared her passion and knowledge of refinishing furniture with all her grandchildren. She even had her own special painting outfit that she only wore while crafting.
Mrs. Nell Lassig is a woman who is defined by Scripture. There may be no better way to recognized as a Christian. For as much as she was loved, she loved others even more. “At Mrs. Lassig’s funeral, many school families were represented. It could be said this time was enjoyed as a reunion of sorts. The far reached collection of those present to celebrate her life was a true testament to her teaching career and the impression she left to all those who met her” comments Gloria Askins. Sue Murner adds “personally I miss her compassion, her honesty, her hospitality and her companionship. Even a telephone conversation could lift my spirit.” Jane Ezell Hamrick shares “through our many years of friendship of good and difficult times, her sense of humor brought laughs, smiles and relief. Her friendship, talents, beauty- inside and out- will never be forgotten. What a full life Nell lived!” Matthew 25:21 “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”