NANCY LOW was born Nancy Carol Nelson to a Swedish couple, Maurice Nelson and Helen Johnson Nelson, in Portland, Oregon on October 27, 1939. She was born quite some time after her two older brothers, Richard and Earl, both now deceased.
Feeling almost like an only child at times, Nancy loved to find company where she could. As a young child she would often sit on the corner and engage passers-by, asking them many questions, sometimes to the consternation of the neighborhood. She had a lifetime of being very sociable and loved conversation with friends. Being easy-going, she could enjoy most any social situation.
Nancy grew up in Northeast Portland, attending Alameda school for her primary years and Grant High School for her secondary education.
She began her college years at Oregon State University. It was during this time she was invited by a young woman named Sue Palmer to a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting. It was there that she asked Jesus into her life as her Savior.
Nancy finished her college years at Portland State University, majoring in Business Administration. After college, a doctor's office in Portland's Hollywood District discovered a goldmine in Nancy Nelson. She was very responsible and adept at learning and performing a variety of duties there, including reception, admitting patients, and bookkeeping. Even in her later years she often spoke of that time in the doctor's office as wonderfully enjoyable and fulfilling work.
In the early 1960's, Nancy was invited to a bowling social at "Mayfair Lanes at 82nd and Division" by Carol, her close friend from Grant High School. In the mix of young people there, Nancy was introduced to Tom Low known to both Carol and her boyfriend, Gordon Matthews. Not knowing how to score the game, Nancy asked Tom for assistance. Tom admits to being quite smitten with Nancy at this first meeting. He was immediately interested in her, but he heard from Carol that she had a boyfriend at the time. Shortly thereafter, Nancy's boyfriend joined the army, and when the romance waned, it was time for Tom to make his move and pursue Nancy.
Tom and Nancy began to date. Some of their favorite hangouts were Yaw's Top-Notch, Old Country Kitchen, Goldberg's in the Lloyd Center, as well as socials at church. Soon Tom was not interested in dating anyone else. He recently stated that with Nancy he was never bored.
In October of 1961, Tom planned a special birthday for Nancy at the The Quay restaurant on the Columbia River. Walking through the dark parking lot, he stopped under a streetlight. Beneath its glow, Tom took out an engagement ring and asked, "Nancy, will you marry me?" She said yes. They celebrated at dinner.
On August 17, 1962 Thomas Arthur Low and Nancy Carol Nelson were married at Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in southeast Portland in a stunning ceremony surrounded by many friends and family.
In the early years of their marriage the couple wanted to save for a down payment on a house. Nancy was on board and began working at a local hospital to build their fund. Their dream came true in 1967 when they purchased a Cape Cod-style home in the Rose City Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. They still own it today.
In 1970, Tom and Nancy Low had their first child, a girl named Karen Anne . Karen became a big sister when Kristin Michelle was born in 1972. Their family was complete when two more daughters joined them: Jennifer Kay in 1975 and Melissa Lynn in 1977.
Nancy was creative and thrifty. She organized coupons to stretch the family budget. She was known for her good cooking, including her annual Swedish Christmas fruitcake. She visualized changes that could be made to both home and garden, and her creative, hard-working husband was able to make many of these visions become reality to the home their family loved so much. The family took many vacations together and made memories near home and away. Nancy entered contests and once won an all-expense-paid trip to Disneyland for the entire family!
Nancy enjoyed craft projects and business endeavors. Most of these were in partnership with Carol Matthews who originally brought Tom and Nancy together. Projects included sewing and selling "Belsnickels" (a sort of German Santa Claus) and quaint stuffed animals. Nancy also created memory photo books for her daughters.
Tom and Nancy were especially blessed with an array of wonderful, lifelong friends. For instance, they shared a beach house with such friends for more than 45 years. Early in their marriage they joined a "potluck group" meant to keep good friends in touch. This group met faithfully monthly and only in recent years has given up their regular schedule. But the friendships are as strong as ever. These friends are still with Tom at this time of his loss, calling him, writing him, supporting him.
Nancy and Tom had a motto for marriage: "A husband and wife need to pull in the same direction." They did. There was rarely real friction between them, and they enjoyed 58 years of marriage together.
Nancy was diagnosed with dementia in 2019 and went to live in a memory care facility. Tom visited her frequently there, and she was able to recognize him and smile, even to the end.
When Nancy did not wake up completely one morning at the care facility, Tom and the families of their children were informed. Tom stayed at Nancy's side for all his waking hours for 3 days, speaking to her, holding her hand, kissing her cheek. He affirmed his love, thanked her for a wonderful life, and delighted in the fact that she would be waiting for him in Glory when it was his time to leave this earth.
Nancy passed away on November 7, 2020 at 3:01 am.
She is survived by her loving husband, Tom, her four daughters, and 9 grandchildren.