TRAVERSE CITY — Nancy Ward, 80, of Traverse City, died Feb. 19, 2014. She was born to Vincent and Doris (Swalheim) Ward on Feb. 22, 1933, in Chicago Heights, Ill.
Nancy graduated from Niles High School (Niles, Mich.) in 1950 and received a BA in elementary education from Michigan State University in 1954.
Nancy’s took great pride in her accomplishments as an author and educator. She wrote three books on the subject of arts and crafts. She taught all ages, from elementary school students to senior adults. Nancy was also a craft blogger of 10 years. She inspired those around her with her strong intellect and curiosity.
Nancy found her greatest joy in being the mother to her six children, whom she nurtured with a kind and loving spirit. Nancy was a serious chef (inspired by Julia Child) and passed on her love of good food to her children and grandchildren. She advocated for her children’s participation in sports and always could be seen in the stands at any of their events.
Nancy was an avid skier well into her 60s, and her family members have many fond memories of ski vacations. Her children will always remember her wearing Shalimar perfume as an indication of a special occasion. She will be missed.
Nancy’s love of family was never more evident than when she took the care of her grandsons, Jackson and Tyson, under her wing. She loved them as her own and found great satisfaction in their accomplishments. When her grandson, Billy, was born with serious medical complications she stepped in without flinching to help in his care. Her strength will be seen for generations to come.
She was preceded in death by her parents and by her brother, Michael.
Nancy is survived by her sons, John Gillen, of Cassopolis, Dave (Kathy) Gillen, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Tim (Sue) Gillen, of Traverse City, Joe Gillen, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Andrew Gillen, of San Francisco, Calif.; daughter, Kate (Will) Sondgerath, of Lafayette, Ind.; sister, Sally Luth, of Dowagiac; and former husband, Jack (Barbara) Gillen, of Traverse City. Also surviving are 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Services are planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, those considering an expression of sympathy may want to consider a donation to The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif.
The family is being served by Kalkaska Funeral Home and Cremation Services.