We Remember

NELSON, Mae “Nancy”

March 21, 1950 — May 7, 2024

Nancy Nelson died May 07, 2024, at age 74 in the Kelowna General Hospital. Nancy was born on March 21, 1950, in Prince George, BC. She is survived by her husband of 41 1/2 years, Ralph Nevill; her children, Max (Lua), Finn (Mitchell), and daughter, April (Todd); her grandchildren, Victor, Alice, and Hazel; and her siblings, Dave and Lynn. Nancy was predeceased by her brother Jack.

Early in her adult life, she worked as a cook on the yachts out of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. She stayed on in the Caribbean, teaching elementary school for a few more years. In the mid-1970s, she returned to Canada where she owned and ran a bookstore and art gallery in Williams Lake.

Upon her return from the Caribbean Nancy became a member of the Bahai Community in Prince George. Over the years, Nancy served the Bahai faith in many capacities including homefront pioneering to Williams Lake in the 1970’s, as an Auxiliary Board Assistant for Propagation to Reggie Newkirk in the 70’s and 80’s and as an Auxiliary Board Assistant for Protection for Cathy Reich in the 2000’s. She also did fundraising for the Maxwell Bahai School. Nancy had a laser memory of the Bahai Writings for every situation and often started her reply with “Well the Holy word says… (insert quote)”

Nancy and Ralph met through a mutual friend in 1982 while they were both enrolled at UBC where Nancy was studying ESL and linguistics. When the family moved to Virginia and later Alabama for Ralph’s graduate work, Nancy became a Tupperware sales lady and then gained her Insurance Agents license, a profession which she stayed with until she retired.

Nancy fought cancer many times. In 1991 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her goal was to see her sons graduate from high school. The family returned to Canada, to live in Victoria where she recovered and found renewed purpose in opening her home to over thirty foster children from 1994 to 2005 – mostly teenage girls. Nancy’s abilities to combine practical consequences with gardening worked well with foster parenting. For every hour late after the 11:00 pm curfew, the offending girl would have to weed the rose garden for an hour. Missing curfew seldom occurred after the first infraction. Many an evening, one of the girls would burst in the door at 10:30 exclaiming, “I’m back already!”

Nancy filled her unique life with beauty in all forms. She loved flowers, fancy hats, flashy fake fingernails, and stylish shoes. She knitted, sewed, breathed new life into thrift-store finds, and transformed her ever-growing stash of fine fabrics and wools into clothing and other cherished treasures.

As a keen reader, Nancy cherished moments lost in the pages of a good romance or mystery novel, often with a slice of her homemade pie in hand. Her ability to make a flaky pie crust is only one of a long list of culinary endeavors. She delighted in spoiling her furry companions with morsels of cheese.

Nancy also delighted in the subtle, gentle generosity of sharing her time, possessions, money, stories, skills, and knowledge with family and friends. With a keen eye for quality, Nancy was often consulted by friends about purchasing such eclectic items as kitchen faucets, cars, watches, and washing machines. Quick-witted, with the gift of gab and talent for turning her daily life into funny stories, she reminded all of us not to take life too seriously.

As a true Northern British Columbian, Nancy loved Country & Western and gospel music. The real stuff – Jones, George Jones, Patsy Cline, Waylon, and Willie. Often in the evening when you walked into Nancy and Ralph’s suite, you could hear Sweet Dreams (of you) blasting through Nancy’s headphones (due to Nancy’s poor hearing).

In Nancy Nelson’s life of love and laughter, she leaves a legacy of warmth, creativity, and an enduring appreciation for life’s beautiful, simple pleasures. We will dearly miss her and are thankful for the time we had with her.

For those who wish to make a donation to honour Nancy, please consider the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 10:00 AM (PDT) at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC. If you are unable to attend in person, please join the family online by Livestream at the time of the service (see below), a recording will be made available to view shortly thereafter.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.



Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 10:00 AM (PDT)

Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC

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Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Link: breastcancerprogress.ca


Service Information

Service Details

The service for NELSON, Mae “Nancy” is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 10:00 AM (PDT). Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC

2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC


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  • Brandy Gallagher says:

    So many beautiful memories with Nancy co-creating projects at Maxwell International Bahai School and working with youth in Care as the many needs of our busy teenagers unfolded in life! Grateful for all love, beauty, and fundraising we did together and Nancy’s sharing of family, friendship, and community. Condolences to all of her lovely family. 🙂

  • Cenie Lukas says:

    To Nancy’s dear family
    Unfortunately I missed the online service, but we said prayers and talked of Nancy with love at our little morning meeting. I’ll look forward to hearing the recording,
    I truly loved the beautiful picture and tribute, it brought her so close.
    My love and prayers to you all of you, so hold you in my heart as I forever will the memory of Nancy’s radiant spirit.
    Much love, Cenie ❤️

  • Maja Malks says:

    Very sorry for your loss. She lived a rich life of service and joy.

  • Lesley Percival says:

    I enjoyed Nancy so much and was very sad when she left Abbotsford. Now I am even sadder. All my heartfelt condolences to the whole family. So sorry I couldn’t be there for the memorial. Now I am home I am hoping some of her friends and I can have a small memorial here. Love you all

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