Nancy Marie Robins Zadra
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Born 1930 ~ Died 2014
Our beloved mother, Nancy, died unexpectedly, but peacefully, at home from natural causes on Saturday, June 7, 2014. At Mom's request, she was cremated and will be buried next to her beloved husband, Robert E. Zadra, Lt. Col. (ret.), in a private ceremony at a later date at the National Cemetery in Riverside, California. A Memorial Service will be held at 4:00pm on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at Cloverdale Funeral Home, 1200 N. Cloverdale Road, Boise. Services are under the direction of the Cloverdale Funeral Home, Kevin Persons, Director. A reception will follow.
Nancy was born on January 27, 1930 in Baltimore, Maryland as the youngest of three children. Her parents were Raymond Rodney Robins, of Michigan, and Ruth Richards Robins, of New York. Grandpa Rob and Grandma Ruth met at a mixer and dance held at Smith College where Ruth was a student, when the co-eds invited the "handsome young gentlemen of the West Point Military Academy" to join them. Grandpa Rob penciled himself into every open line of pretty Ruth Richards' dance card. The couple married and, several years later, had three daughters, Priscilla, Mary Ellen, and Nancy Marie. The Robins family, being career military during WWI and WWII, were posted to many spots all over the world and the United States. During their second tour of duty in Germany Nancy met a dashing young Captain, Robert "Bob" E. Zadra. Unfortunately, he was dating her older sister, Mel. After Mel decided that she and Bob didn't suit, Nancy decided that she and Bob did!
Nancy and Bob were married on September 3, 1955 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Postings to Germany, the Nevada nuclear test site, the Presidio in San Francisco, and many other places ensued. A year after their marriage came their first daughter, Robin, closely followed the next year by their second daughter, Laura. Robin was named for her father and Nancy's maiden name and Laura was named for Bob and Nancy's favorite song. Bob and Nancy loved to dance and spend time with friends at the Officers' Club. Bob had a wonderful voice and sang all of the popular songs, especially Dean Martin and Andy Williams tunes, to his beloved wife. Nancy was well known for "not being able to carry a tune in a bucket" much to the hilarity of her family. Nevertheless, long family road trips always had everyone singing Rodgers & Hammerstein songs at the top of their lungs, including Mom.
Nancy worked as a professional secretary for several years after graduating from the Katharine Hamilton professional secretarial school in Washington, DC. She was highly sought after for her skills, including typing at 110 words per minute and taking shorthand. She was the Executive Secretary to several military base Commanding Officers from the time she finished school until her marriage in 1955. At the age of 36, once her daughters got older, she decided to go to college and get her teaching degree. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton (CA) in 1970, Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and received her Master's Degree in Education, in 1975, from Pepperdine University. She fell in love with teaching children at the elementary school ages and did so for 20 years in the Corona-Norco (CA) Unified School District. She particularly loved teaching the Gifted and Talented students and was also certified as a bilingual teacher (ESL). Her favorite things were to teach reading and math to students (and her grandchildren!) and watch their faces light up when they finally understood something that had been puzzling them. After retiring and moving to the Seattle and, subsequently, Boise areas with her family, she continued to substitute teach and privately tutor students until her health no longer permitted her to do so.
Nancy's true calling was to be an incredible mother. She didn't just mother her two beloved daughters, she also welcomed every friend to our home (except the boy who tried to take her younger daughter out on his motorcycle!) with a kind word, a big smile and free access to the refrigerator, the soda cabinet, and our backyard pool. She sewed clothes for her girls (and taught us to sew), always made her husband a hot breakfast in the morning and would stay up nights after tucking her girls into bed with a "momma chat," studying for her college degrees. While a very smart woman, expecting excellence and hard work from her daughters, she was all heart and created a warm and loving home where we felt nurtured and cherished.
In California, Seattle and Boise, she had many interests and friends. Until her passing, she was involved with the Bothell and Boise Senior Centers and taught adult computer education classes at the Bothell location. She attended both the St. Michael's Episcopal Church and the Methodist Church in Eagle. She was a regular participant at the West YMCA with her work out buddy, Pat Hutchinson, and all of the girls in the deep water aerobics class. She also was a "Potato Tomato" member & Queen of Vice for a wonderful group of "Red Hatters". She loved her "Grandma's Group" friends, Pat Marsh, Peggy Kenny, Marcile Vaclavik and Nancy Jacobs (until her recent passing), who met frequently for lunch to celebrate birthdays, trips or, frankly, just about anything they could think of to celebrate with each other! Mom also loved to travel with her friends, The Traveling Gems, as well as her daughters and their families.
Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; her parents, Robbie and Ruth; her sisters, Priscilla and Mary Ellen (Mel); and her beloved dogs, Beau, Zeke and Teddy. She is survived by her daughters, Robin Navert (Richard) of Eagle, Idaho and Laura Valles (Peter) of The Woodlands, Texas. She loved her six grandchildren very much; Robert Navert, Emilie Valles, R. Scott Navert, Hannah Valles, Ryleigh Navert, and Cassidy Valles. She is also survived by her beloved nieces and nephews: Dula Talbott (Bill), Greg Goss, Alexis Goss, Richard Henry (Paula), Connor Henry, Rob Henry (Anne), Ruth Willbanks (Charles), and Savannah Willbanks. She also very much loved her "chosen daughter," Elvia Gustavson (John), and their daughters, Sara and Marissa. She is also survived by her beloved little poodle, Zack.
Our family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers memorials to honor our mom's love of teaching be made in her name, Nancy Zadra, to the Bishop Kelly High School Foundation, 7009 W. Franklin Road, Boise, ID 83709 for the education of students; or to The Stonebridge Church, 1 Stonebridge Church Dr., The Woodlands, Texas 77382 for its mission work; or, to a
Cloverdale Funeral Home
1200 North Cloverdale Road Boise, ID 83713
Published in Idaho Statesman on July 31, 2014