Nancy Ward, of Traverse City, Mich.

Published 8:24 am Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Feb. 22, 1933 — Feb. 19, 2014

Nancy Ward

Nancy Ward

Nancy Ward, 80, of Traverse City, Mich., died Feb. 19, 2014.

She was born Feb. 22, 1933, in Chicago Heights, Ill. To Vincent and Doris (Swalheim) Ward. Nancy graduated from Niles High School in 1950 and received a BA in elementary education from Michigan State University in 1954.

Nancy took great pride in her accomplishments as an author and an educator. She was the author of three books on the subjects of arts and crafts. She taught all ages from elementary school age to senior adults.

Nancy was also a craft blogger of 10 years. She inspired those around her with her strong intellect and curiosity.

Nancy was also a substitute teacher at Cassopolis and Edwardsburg schools for a number of years, where her grandchildren Jackson and Tyson Gillen attended. All past students were some of her favorite memories.

Nancy found her greatest joy in being the mother to her six loving children. She nurtured her children with a kind and loving spirit.

Nancy was a serious chef in the style of Julia Child, who 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. Her children will always remember her wearing Shalimar perfume as an indication of a special occasion.

She will be missed.

Nancy is preced in death by her parents and by her brother, Michael.

Nancy is survived by her former husband, Jack (Barbara) Gillen of Traverse City; sons, John Gillen of Cassopolis; Dave (Kathy) Gillen, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Time (Sue Gillen of Traverse City; Joe Gillen of Toronto, Ontario; Andrew Gillen of San Francisco, Calif.; daughter, Kate (Will) Sondgerath of Lafayette, Ind.; and sister, Sally Luth of Dowagiac. Also surviving are 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the St. Mary’s Church in Niles, Mich. There will be a dinner after the service for all who which to attend.