ROLL, Nancy Lucille (Michener)|
After a long illness, Nancy Lucille Michener Roll died on January 21, 2014 at the Querencia Plaza in Austin. She was under the care of Hospice Austin, the Plaza skilled nursing staff, and her husband. Nancy is survived by Peter, her husband of 58 years; by her three children Peggy Roll, of Austin; Phillip E. Roll and wife Mari of Des Moines, WA and John P. Roll and wife Mary of Crystal, MN; by two grandchildren Kari Elizabeth Hovden Roll and Michael Peter Hovden Roll of Crystal, MN; and by two step-grandchildren Dylan Ricards of New York City and Zachary Ricards of Seattle, WA. Her parents and two brothers all preceded her in death.
Nancy was born to William Henry and Edna Cornell Michener on May 22, 1932 in Wilkinsburg, PA. She grew up with her two older brothers, John and Frank, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, graduating from Taylor Alderdice High School in June 1949. After high school, Nancy moved to Meadville, PA and attended Allegheny College, where her father had taken a physics faculty position. She graduated in 1953 with a degree in economics and moved back to Pittsburgh, working as a bookkeeper.
Nancy met her future husband, Peter, at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh. After "she chased him for several months until he caught her" (her description), they were married on August 20, 1955 in the Meadville Unitarian Church. Nancy accompanied Peter through several moves as he began an academic career: four years in New Haven, CT, working as a bookkeeper to help support Peter's PhD studies and then the first two babies; five years in Princeton, NJ and the third baby; one year in Ann Arbor, MI; and 18 years in Minneapolis, MN; 11 years in Evanston, IL and finally 15 years of retirement at Sun City Texas in Georgetown, TX and her last three years at Querencia in Austin. Eighteen years, one son and two grandchildren in Minnesota made that location feel like home. Nancy's primary job category through her life has been "homemaker." She raised the kids and managed the household, and did a good job of it.
Nancy shared her love of music with Peter, a semi-professional and avocational French horn player, attending most of his concerts, from the New Haven Symphony through the Austin Civic Orchestra. As long as she was able, Nancy and Peter regularly attended performances of the major orchestras where they lived, ending up with the Austin Symphony and Lyric Opera.
During the years in Minnesota Nancy was active in the Golden Valley League of Women Voters. She served a term as its president and co-authored a major report for the Golden Valley City Council on managing financial and budgeting processes as that community grew and matured.
Nancy was a pretty-good knitter, supplying family members and others with beautiful knitted garments, many of which survive her. She was an active member of the Northwestern University Circle's Stitch 'n Bitch group, and she helped organize the Sun City TX Fabric 'n Fiber Club. Also in Sun City, she provided invaluable support to her husband as he organized the Sun City Computer Club. She created the job of membership chairperson as that club grew from a handful of members to a few hundred (today well over 3,500 members).
From cradle to grave, Nancy lived her entire life in a family of physicists and similar nerds: her father and husband were physics professors; her older brother was a physicist; she raised two sons trained as mechanical engineers (close enough to physics), and her daughter (a lawyer) shares some these characteristics, too. The two grandchildren are showing serious symptoms of inheriting this family gene. Nancy tolerated all this nonsense and bad humor with good humor and grace. And told us when to cut it out.
Nancy will be missed and remembered by her family and by many friends for her smile, and for her toughness and courage through her last days. Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice Austin at 4107 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 100, Austin 78759 and http://www.hospiceaustin.org; or to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin at 4700 Grover Ave., Austin 78756. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the First Unitarian Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Avenue, followed by a reception at the church.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 8 to Apr. 9, 2014