Nancy Ellen Nelson, beloved mother and sister, passed away at the age of 75 on November 30th. Her passing came after a seven-year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. She was born Nancy Miles on May 2, 1945 to parents Fred and Janet Miles.
Nancy was born on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, near where her father was stationed during World War II. After the war, the family moved to Yuba City, CA, where Nancy grew up. In Yuba City, her father operated for more than 50 years a successful office as a financial adviser, with her mother assisting. Nancy recalled that her mother had an extraordinary gift for remembering names, birthdays, family information, and other tidbits about clients and friends, a gift which Nancy herself possessed.
She attended Yuba City High School, where she was a top student, Editor-in Chief of the high school newspaper, and head of the local Theta Rho chapter. After graduating from high school in 1962, she then pursued a teaching degree at California State University, Chico. While at Chico, she met and married her first husband Bill Offutt. In 1965, Nancy and Bill were in a serious car accident wherein Nancy had her back and one of her arms badly broken. She spent months in the hospital but was able to resume and complete her college studies in 1966, despite still being encased in a full upper body cast. Despite the hardships caused by the accident, she nonetheless graduated with a near straight-A grade point average.
Due to her husband’s job, the two of them moved around a great deal in the next few years, leading Nancy to teach at elementary schools from Bakersfield, CA, to Salem, OR, and at many places in between. During her time in Salem, Nancy decided that, whenever she retired, she would return to the Pacific Northwest.
Serious changes came in Nancy’s life in the early 1970s, when her first marriage came to an end. After her divorce, she decided to pursue a new career as an accountant and so enrolled in the MBA program at California State University, Hayward. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in 1976, Nancy’s first worked at the national accounting firm of Elmer Fox Westheimer and Company, where she earned her CPA status. She was then hired as the full-time in-house accountant for Atlas Metal Spinning Co. in South San Francisco.
While working in the Bay Area, Nancy met Douglas Nelson, whom she married on February 12, 1983. Shortly after their wedding, Nancy and Doug moved to Glendale, CA, where they eventually had two children: David (1984) and Melanie (1986). In 1990, Doug’s job as a top executive at McKesson brought him back to the San Francisco Bay Area, and the family moved to Lafayette, CA, where they would spend the next seventeen years.
Nancy’s pride and joy were her children, and she decided it would be “more fun to stay at home” with them rather than to continue working as an accountant. She devoted her time to her children, including scripting and filming elaborate home movies, volunteering as a classroom helper, working on the PTA, and serving as an assistant Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts. Her creativity, diligence, and artistic abilities always made her a welcome contributor and leader in numerous classroom and extracurricular projects throughout their childhood.
In 2006, Nancy and her family moved to Camas, WA. There, Nancy became a member of the Clark County Newcomers Club, where she made many friends in her new home. She loved cooking, crafting, puzzles, and reading lighthearted mystery novels – what she called “her cozies.” In the last decade of her life, she and her husband also traveled extensively – taking trips throughout Europe, around the tip of South America, across the breadth of Russia, and along all the waterways of Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
In November, 2018, Doug Nelson, Nancy’s husband of 35 years, passed away unexpectedly. Although Nancy had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, her health deteriorated rapidly after her husband’s death.
Nancy is predeceased by both her parents. She is survived by her children David Edward Nelson and Melanie Anne Nelson; by her brother Don Miles (wife Marta Arriandiaga); by her sister Marilyn Frerichs (husband Ray Frerichs); and by numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, no memorial is currently planned. The family requests that any donations in Nancy’s honor be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
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