Nancy Fleming

Nancy M Fleming

1945 - 2020

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Obituary of Nancy M Fleming

Nancy M Fleming passed away on June 19, 2020, in her home - as she wished among family and friends. She was 75 and had been repeatedly hospitalized for COPD during the last two years. Our family thanks Tacoma Allenmore Hospital’s ICU and 2nd floor nurses, aides, respiratory therapists, doctors and PAs for their much-appreciated care and kindness, and for support from Home HOPICE team.

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents Marvin & Lois Merrill, and her brother Stephen Merrill, all of St. Paul, Minnesota. She is survived by her devoted husband of 57 years, Michael (Mike) D Fleming, and sons Todd A. Fleming of Portland OR and Scott E Fleming of Tacoma WA, sisters Mary Kampa of Inver Grove Heights MN and Dona M Lencowski of St. Paul Park MN, sister in-law Jozette (Jo) Merrill of St. Paul, brother-in-law Robert (Judy) Fleming of St. Louis Park MN,  nieces Amy (Timothy) Zwetow of Wichita KS,  Kelly Gaspard of St. Paul Park and nephew Chris Kampa of Inver Grove Heights, Pete Merrill of Mustang OK and numerous cousins around the country. We all will miss her mightly.

Nancy was born on June 13, 1945 in St. Paul, Minnesota. After high school, she was married at the St. Paul Cathedral in June 1963, then moved to Tacoma Washington in 1967 with her husband and first son. She went to work at the newly opened 6th Avenue K-Mart starting as a checkout clerk, advanced to checkout supervisor, then to a department head. She also served on a work team that traveled to other cities to assist with their grand openings after training new hires.

Nancy (along with several other young mothers) held preschool classes in her basement for neighborhood children. Educating youngsters became her calling.  She left retail sales and went to work for the Tacoma School District, at much less pay, as a “Teachers’ Aide”.  Years later she helped convince the District to reclassify Aides as Paraprofessionals. Her specialization was an “Interpreter for the Hearing Impaired”, but she did so much more working with a variety of the handicapped.  During her 27-year career, she worked at Jason Lee, McKinley, Birney Elementary, and Whittier in Fircrest.  Nancy was great with kids, especially preschoolers. Teaching them sign language came naturally to her, as both of her parents were deaf.  Nancy retired in 2000.  She missed the kids and her coworkers so much she returned as a volunteer. Numerous former students and coworkers kept in touch with her over the years.

She also had wonderful long-term friends.  Nancy was genuine, she readily expressed her true feelings and opinions. Other traits people liked were her cheerful attitude, engaging personality, and her generosity. It was in her nature to “take charge” and also to help others.  She was an avid reader and enjoyed playing cards.

A founding member of the West Slope Neighborhood Coalition (WSNC), she served in various Board Member positions, including VP.  Nancy had a talent for managing the food at get-togethers, be they small or large.  She was known for hosting newsletter mailing parties, and for decades coordinated the WSNC’s family picnics at Titlow Park.  And in later years, she orchestrated the food serving at WSNC’s annual Oktoberfest meetings held in the TOA clubhouse.  People recognized her as “the hard-working lady wearing an apron”. Her 30-year involvement contributed significantly to the WSNC organization and to her community.

Nancy was renowned for her baking and cooking.  She loved entertaining family and friends with big holiday dinners.   “Nancy place” was a favorite get-together hub. She hosted nearly fifty Super Bowl parties.  Neighbors and friends often dropped by to chat, usually having a beverage and a bite to eat.  No one ever left her house hungry.

Nancy was proud of her home with its decorated patios and splendid views of the Tacoma Narrows and sunsets over the Olympic Mountains. She was a Master Gardener and relished time in her greenhouse and tending to sprawling flower beds around the yard showcasing her array of flowers and blooming shrubs.  As an aging volunteer, Nancy enjoyed helping make floral arrangements at a nearby HOSPICE facility.

On top of all that, Nancy was a loving wife and mother.  In turn, she was loved by her family and relatives, and liked by so many others who knew her.  Our lives won’t be the same without her.  A celebration of a life well-lived will be held at a future date at her home, where she wants her ashes spread around her favorite rose bushes. Messages for the family can be emailed to mnfleming@netzero.net or be posted at www.edwardsmemorial.com

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