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Nancy McDonald

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Nancy Hanks McDonald October 21, 1934 - May 14, 2007 On May 14th a beautiful life ended. Beloved wife and mother, Nancy McDonald died peacefully at the home of her eldest son, surrounded by her children and her husband of 52 years. She was born Nancy Jane Hanks on October 21, 1934 to Alger and Calla Hanks in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She was the youngest of eight children. In 1946, when Nancy was 11, her family moved to Austria to join her father who was serving in the U.S. Army occupation forces after World War II. She attended a convent school in Salzburg, Austria for some time before going to a high school for American dependents in Linz, Austria where she met the man she later married. Nancy graduated from St. Thomas School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee in 1954. She married Willis Burr McDonald in Fort Sill, Oklahoma on Dec. 18, 1954. For the next 20 years she was a gracious Officer's wife and bore ten children while moving every few years following her husband's assignments. In 1966, they were stationed in El Paso, Texas. Nancy and the children remained in El Paso during Will's two tours of Vietnam. After his retirement from the Army in 1971, they decided to make El Paso their permanent home. In 1975, at the age of 41, Nancy returned to nursing. She worked at Hotel Dieu Hospital and later Sierra Medical Center in El Paso. During these years, Nancy became active in the Texas Nurses Association (TNA) and ultimately was elected president of their governmental affairs committee working on state and federal issues, including nurse education and compensation. During her tenure, Nancy formed a political action committee for TNA. Nancy was also active in the women's movement, she was a member of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and participated in the historic 1980 march in Washington to demonstrate support for the Equal Rights Amendment. In the spring of 1984 Nancy was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in a special election and a run-off, ultimately defeating five opponents to represent House District 76 that summer in a special 30 day legislative session on education reform. Her first full session was in 1985, when she entered the House of Representatives with another West Texas freshman, current Texas Governor Rick Perry. At the time she was elected she was the only R.N. in the Legislature. She was re-elected in 1986, 1988, 1990, and 1992 and was unopposed in all of those elections. She did not run for re-election in 1994. After leaving the legislature, she and her husband Will, retired to Austin to be near their children -six of whom were living in Austin by then. Nancy was renowned for her serene approach to life. Her calm, pragmatic wisdom was an invaluable gift to her children and grandchildren and it served her well in her public life. Although she did not suffer fools lightly, she was nonjudgmental and deeply spiritual. She is survived by her husband Willis Burr McDonald, six sons; Chuck and wife Donna of Austin, Chris and wife Cindy of Lumberton, Stephen and wife Vicki of Austin, Greg and wife Laura of El Paso, Brendan and Cheryl of Austin, Mark and wife Joyce of Austin, and three daughters; Mary McDonald and husband Kent of Placitas New Mexico, Nancy Siefken and husband Mark of Austin, Catherine Binswanger and husband Lewis of Tampa, Florida. A Mother's pain is constant Her fear continuous But immeasurable is her joy She is also survived by one sister, Betty Phillips of Nashville, Tennessee, twenty-seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, six of her siblings and her beloved youngest daughter Elizabeth Rose McDonald. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Nancy McDonald can be made to "The Elizabeth Rose McDonald Nursing Scholarship Endowment to Promote Excellence in Nursing" at The Seton Fund, 1201 W. 38th Street, Austin, Texas 78705 or by donating online at www.setonfund.org. Visitation from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 16 followed by a Rosary at Weed-Corley Funeral Home 3125 North Lamar. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Austin's Parish at 2026 Guadalupe St. in Austin, Texas on Thursday May 17 at 10:00 a.m., followed by interment at the Texas State Cemetery. For parking information at the church, go to www.staustin.org Obituary and guestbook online at wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman on May 15, 2007
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