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Nancy Kailing

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Nancy Kailing Obituary
Nancy Lynne (Gunderson) Kailing, 74, of Silver City, New Mexico, passed on unexpectedly of a major heart attack on June 11, 2014. Nancy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 28, 1940, to Lynn H. and Marion Gunderson of Portage, Wisconsin. Nancy was valedictorian of her high school class in Portage; she went on to receive a bachelor of science and teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and in her later years went back to school for a master's in community psychology from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Nancy touched the lives of many children as a first grade teacher in Fairbanks, before retiring in 1995. She and husband, Steve, spent 25 years in Fairbanks where they enjoyed raising their family and building a wilderness cabin. Nancy particularly enjoyed time spent at the cabin. Nancy was well known for her compassion for others and her community activism and leadership in PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), her church UCC and other organizations that promoted peace, diversity, equality and civil rights for all. She organized PFLAG Fairbanks and served as president for many years. Nancy was also a longtime president of PFLAG Silver City. Nancy was a gardener, world traveler and adventurer. She ran a marathon, zip-lined in Belize, sailed and swam in the Caribbean, played ice hockey and hunted wild game in Alaska. She regularly attended exercise classes, participated in line dancing and was always interested in meeting new people and trying new things. She was an eternal optimist, and a happy, positive person. Nancy was a devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend. Nancy impacted so many lives. She will be remembered lovingly for her openness, honesty, generosity and kindness. Nancy was truly a special person, we will be forever grateful that she was part of our lives and we will cherish all our memories of her. Nancy is survived by her loving husband of 52 years, Stephen H. Kailing, whom she met at the UW Madison. She was the devoted mother of daughters, Sherry (Kailing) Deremer of Silver City, and Ann Kailing of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Nancy was like a second mother to Sherry's life partner, Tammy Marr, and Ann's fiancée, MaryAnn. She is also survived by her brothers, Robert H. (Nancy) Gunderson of Hudson, Wisconsin, and David M. (Sandra) Gunderson of Portage, brothers-in-law Daniel Kailing, Joel Kailing, sister-in-law Linda Kailing and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of life memorial service will be held at Terrazas Funeral Chapel on Saturday, June 21, at 1 p.m. in Santa Clara, New Mexico. The Rev. Tyler Connoley of Nancy's church, Silver City United Church of Christ, will officiate. A service will also be held later this summer at the First Methodist Church in Portage. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be made to PFLAG Silver City, P.O. Box 813 Silver City, NM 88062. Arrangements are with Terrazas Funeral Chapels "Trusted care for the ones you love" ~ 575-537-0777. To send condolences, visit
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on June 20, 2014
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