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Nancy Porteous

Obituary Condolences

Nancy Porteous Nancy Porteous, longtime Novato resident, passed away while surrounded by her children on December 10, 2013 after a brief illness, she was 90. Nancy was preceded in death by the love of her life, husband, Robert Porteous, brother, Joseph Galea and her parents, Charles and Victoria Galea. Nancy is survived by her three children, Bob (Mary) of Redding, Karen Cooper of Santa Rosa and Diana Merz (David) of Penngrove. She is also survived by two grandchildren, Cheryl Catrucco (John) of Redding and Dan Merz of Penngrove plus two great grandchildren, Michael and Johnny Catrucco of Redding. She is also survived by a sister, Rita Galea of Lincoln, CA. Nancy also has numerous nieces, nephews and cousins throughout the area and afar. Nancy was born and raised in San Francisco and after meeting and marrying Robert, she moved to and worked in Belvedere before she and Robert decided to buy property in Novato. They purchased some land in west Novato in 1948 and at the time it was considered the "boondocks". This was to be their spot for the family home. Nancy, Robert and son Bob moved to Novato in 1949 and Robert started the task of building the family home almost singlehandedly. When a portion of the home was built, the family which now included a new birth, Karen, moved into the newly built structure. It wasn't long after that when a new daughter was born to the family, Diana, which kept Nancy busy with two in diapers. Those were the days of cotton diapers, full diaper bucket, a washer but no dryer. Lots of work. Throughout the 50's, Nancy not only raised her three children but also became a foster mother for many years. The family's many camping vacations were in the fresh air of the Eel and Russian rivers which Nancy greatly enjoyed. In the meantime, Nancy was involved in her children's activities, including being a room mother numerous times, Cub Scout den mother, the Brownies, cooking and sewing teacher in 4-H and also attended some summer 4-H camps in the hills above Angwin as a leader/chaperone. With all of the activities in her life, she always made time to pick fruit around town (very plentiful back then) and can 350-400 quarts of fruit every year. In additional to Nancy's activities, she always found time for one of her real loves and that was as an avid gardener. She always loved plants and flowers and when spring came to the household, the yard surrounding the home was completely alive with brilliant colors from dozens of different kinds of flowers. Begonias, roses, irises by the dozens throughout the yard along with daisies, dozens of bulbs and Roadies were some of her favorites but when spring sprung, the house appeared to be surrounded by a huge vibrant bouquet with a rainbow of colors. After the children were raised, Nancy and Robert bought a 35' "pumpkinseed" sloop called the Polaris that was built in 1906 which allowed them to enjoy sailing around the bay for several years and were members of the Corinthian Club in Tiburon. They anchored the Polaris on the Delta for several summers along with numerous friends, old and new, and enjoyed living on the boat in a neighborhood of dozens of other sailing vessels with families doing the same thing. That is something that Nancy thoroughly enjoyed even though she was afraid of the water. The Polaris has now been restored and is docked at the Spaulding dock in Sausalito. Later Nancy and Robert (Robert was a bona fide sailor) decided to rent a large sail boat along with two other couples and sail around some islands in the Caribbean. It was an absolute delight for both Nancy and Robert. While Robert was at work, prior to the trip, Nancy secretly took swimming lessons which was a big deal, for Nancy's idea of swimming was to dangle her feet in the water. After the group sailed to their first emerald colored island cove, the anchor was dropped and Nancy dove into the pristine water. Robert, unaware that Nancy could swim, dove in after her in a panic and was shocked to learn that Nancy overcame her fear of water and could swim. Later on, Nancy felt adventurous and took two trips to Europe, one with a childhood friend, Agnes Stewart, and the other by herself. She visited many places in Europe before reaching her main destination, Malta, the birth place of her parents. She had several cousins to visit while enjoying the sites and history of the small island. Nancy has always been the centerpiece of the family and will be sorely missed by family, friends and her loving pet, Minnie, a Maltese dog. A celebration of life will be held at the family home for family and friends on January 11, 2014 from noon until 4 p.m.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Jan. 1, 2014
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