Our wonderful Mother passed away peacefully and with dignity with her daughter, Maria, at her side on Monday, June 9, 2014. She passed away exactly one year to the day that her husband Jack died. They are now together again.
Nancy was born in Seattle, Washington on September 10, 1936 to the late Richard and Lorene Bell; the third of four children.
Nancy met her future husband, Jack Gustavson, while working at the PX at McChord Air Force Base. After a whirlwind three month romance, they were married on December 22, 1956 and moved back to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She quickly became a Mom - giving birth to three children in three years, Kari, Lauri and John. Maria was born seven years later. Typical of Mothers in that era, she was a stay at home Mom - always home when needed, tending to every need of her busy family. Nancy always cooked homemade meals and was always on top of her health. Annual trips back home to Seattle allowed Mom to stay connected to her family and provided for great memories for everyone.
After eight years in Eau Claire, the family moved to Minneapolis and had nine great years there. Despite initial protests, Mom moved to Green Bay in 1974. She grew to love the town she learned to call home and was of course an ardent Packer fan. Mom was very active at Calvary Lutheran Church and the community. She and Jack loved to go to church - they made many friends at Calvary and she especially loved Easter Sunday. She found the strength to attend her last Easter Sunday service this year. Despite being an occasional golfer, she grew to love the sport and achieved a "Hole in One" many years before her husband, Jack - which she always made sure to mention when he became too boastful. The years flew by and before too long everyone had grown and moved on.
Toward the end of her child raising days, Nancy really began her second phase of her life by working at US Paper Mills in De Pere. She was Executive Secretary to Walter Cloud and worked there for 24 years. During those years, Mom made many lifelong friends and found new purpose to her life. After her professional career, she was active in the Cloud Family Foundation. Her years of service culminated in the Cloud Foundation naming a classroom after her at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens.
Nancy is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Kari (Paul) Morris-grandchildren, Charles Morris, Lorene (Kevin) Hardie - great-grandchildren, Caroline, Ben and Will; daughter, Lauri Toepel - grandchildren, Melissa Matos (her partner, Kelly Peake) and Mike (Brooke) Matos - great-grandchild - "Nicolas"; a son, John Gustavson (fiancee, Cathy) - grandchildren, Carl, Anne and Gail; daughter and son-in-law, Maria (Tony) Malzone - grandchildren, Isabella, Sophia, Angelina and Anthony Dominic (AJ). She is further survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Rick (Karen) Bell and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends.
Nancy had 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She spent as much time as she could with them, going to the zoo or walking up to the hill to the park or attending school events. Nancy had a wonderful spirit toward the grandchildren and they will miss her very much.
After caring for her husband as he descended with Alzheimer's, she was ready to enjoy her life. But it was two weeks before her planned trip of a lifetime down the Danube with her brother Rick and her sister- in- law, Karen that she learned of her Ovarian Cancer. She courageously underwent surgery at Mayo Clinic and was given two years to live - against all odds, she made it six! During these years, Mom found great comfort in her dog, Aurora and her cats, Astro, Ayla and Winks.
Her last several weeks were in the loving care of daughter, Maria, assisted by daughter, Lauri. Many of her grandkids paid their last respects, looking over pictures and reminiscing about those earlier, carefree times. It was what she deserved!
Nancy was preceded in death by her two sisters, Shirley and Donna.
Visitation will be held on Friday, June 13, 2014 at Calvary Lutheran Church, 1301 S. Ridge Road, from 10:00 am until the memorial service at 11:00 am with Rev. Earl Vorpagel III officiating. Online condolences may be expressed at www.lyndahl.com
A thank you to Unity Hospice of Green Bay and the Hospice of Kankakee Valley. A very special thank you to Dr. Mitch Winkler with Green Bay Oncology whose honesty and gentleness gave Mom her strength for the last six years. She trusted him so much.
In lieu of flowers, memorials will be given to the Hospice's who were involved in Nancy's care.
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from June 11 to June 13, 2014