Nancy Jay Stevens, 68, died on July 7, 2012 at her home in Silver City, N.M. surrounded by her family and lifelong friends. Nancy was born Nov. 23, 1943 in Pecos, Texas, the daughter of Thomas Jay and Bettie Jane Smith. Growing up in Texas, Nancy thoroughly enjoyed cheerleading and social activities and was known to her family and friends as a "social butterfly." Nancy graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and attended McMurry College, where she met Joseph Edward (Ed) Stevens, her husband of 48 years. Nancy and Ed moved to Silver City, N.M. where Nancy graduated from Western New Mexico University with her bachelors and masters degrees. Silver City has been the home of Nancy and Ed since 1965. Nancy began her career as a fourth-grade school teacher, while raising her two children, Christina C. Rigtrup and Gary E. Stevens. Throughout her career, Nancy touched the lives of hundreds of children and colleagues with her kind-heartedness, sincerity, humor and love. As a teacher, Nancy relentlessly pursued countless opportunities to improve the lives of children and teens in Grant County. In this capacity, Nancy taught kids of all ages about living a drug-free life through Nancy Reagan's Red Ribbon campaign and the Drug Free Schools program. Nancy recognized the need to assist troubled teens and helped establish the Grant County Teen Court in conjunction with the Juvenile Probation and Parole Office (JPPO). After 26 years, Nancy retired from teaching. Despite being retired, Nancy remained extremely active in the community by hosting events such as the Teacher Academy and by establishing the Bootheel Consortium, where she brought together leaders from across Southwest New Mexico in an effort to improve access to technology for thousands of Grant, Hidalgo, Luna and Catron county schools students. More recently, Nancy worked part-time fundraising for the Gila Regional Hospital Foundation and Gila Regional Medical Center where she helped raise funds for needed equipment through golf tournaments and other activities. Throughout her life, Nancy strived to make a difference in the lives of everyone she met, and was never without a smile or a kind word. Nancy remained an active member of the Kappa Kappa lota Teaching Sorority both during her exceptional teaching career and well into her retirement. In addition to their activities, Nancy loved visiting with friends and family, visiting her son and daughter-in-law in Washington, DC, and attending sporting events for both her grandchildren. Nancy is survived by her husband, Ed; her son, Gary and his wife Allison; her daughter, Christina and her two grandchildren, Shelby Jane and Brent Joseph; relatives and countless friends. Individuals can attend the viewing on Friday, July 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Terrazas Funeral Chapels, 1 Ft. Bayard Rd. Santa Clara, NM 88026 with the holy rosary being recited by Belen Montoya to begin at 7 p.m. The funeral service will be celebrated Saturday, July 14 at 10 a.m. at Terrazas Funeral Chapels with Gary Stailey officiating. Repass (reception) will be held at "the Patio" in Hurley immediately following the services. Dear Wife, Mom, Grammy, Sis, Teacher and Friend - May you find comfort in the arms of an angel. Cremation will take place at Terrazas Crematory. Arrangements are with Terrazas Funeral Chapels and Crematory "Trusted care for the ones you love." (575) 537-0777. To send condolences, visit www.terrazasfuneralchapel.com.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on July 11, 2012