Nancy Elizabeth McEleney, age 89, peacefully entered eternal rest on September 11, 2022 in Federal Way, WA. She was born in Astoria, OR on September 27, 1932 to Oscar J. and Anna K. Erickson.
After graduating from Astoria High School, Nancy majored in Secretarial Science at Oregon State University, where she was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority.
In 1953, Nancy met her future husband, Philip J. (Jerry) McEleney, while working as a Clerk Stenographer at the U.S. Naval Station, Tongue Pt. in Astoria. They married in 1954, and Nancy began her life as a devoted Navy wife, loving mother and bowling league champion as they traveled to Bremerton, WA; Kodiak, AK; Arlington, TX and Pearl Harbor, HI. Upon Jerry’s retirement from the Navy in 1966, the now family of 6 settled back in the Pacific Northwest, making their home in Federal Way, WA.
A member of Calvary Lutheran Church for over 50 years, the Christian faith was the pillar of Nancy’s life. She recognized the importance of preserving history and used her organizational skills as the archivist for Calvary. A humble servant and heart for those less fortunate, she co-founded the Federal Way Community Caregiving Network to help those struggling to meet basic needs. She also founded the Wedding Guild and was a religious advisor “RA” to those going through confirmation. She served in the food pantry and volunteered countless hours to prepare community meals for the area’s homeless population. She cherished the ladies in her Naomi Circle, learning from God’s Word and together they put faith into action through projects that included the Lutheran Disaster Response – Lutheran World Relief.
Nancy was an ardent community activist and difference maker. She volunteered her time and leadership skills by serving on numerous Advisory Councils and was active in many local political campaigns. She was a member of the Wetlands of the West Hylebos, the Federal Way Women’s Network and the King County Republican Club. She was a passionate volunteer with the Federal Way Historical Society and facilitated the publishing of the book about Federal Way. Over the span of three decades, Nancy volunteered in various capacities to support candidates running for Governor, City Council, U.S. Senate or Congress. Her involvement ranged from working at the polling station to chairing campaigns. She was a steering committee member of FUSION, raising money to help fund housing and support services for families experiencing homelessness. She also served as the Area and District Chairman for the March of Dimes for the period 1970 – 1980. As a school volunteer, she held various positions on the PTA Board including President for Adelaide Elementary and Booster Club President for Decatur High School.
Her hobbies included playing Bridge, bowling and completing word puzzles in the morning newspaper, usually with kitty on her lap. Her home of over 50 years was the family gathering place for many holidays, birthdays and family celebrations. Always the gracious host, with a listening ear, a warm smile and a heart for others.
She will be remembered for her generous spirit, loving matriarch, appreciation for nature and selfless kindness to others. Despite living with Alzheimer’s the last few years, we never lost the essence of our beloved Mom and Grandma. Her spirit shined through silly gestures and song.
Nancy was preceded in death by her husband of 30 years, Jerry McEleney, in 1985, and sister, Betty Korpela in 2003. Nancy is survived by her daughter Deborah Anderson and husband Danny of Federal Way, daughter Julie Young and husband Rick of Lawton, OK, son James “Jim” McEleney of Austin, TX and daughter Cheryl Perez and husband Roland also of Austin, TX, as well as 9 grandchildren, Chris, Michael, Ryan, Lisa, Kyle, Taylor, Kramer, Lauren and Kienan and 3 great-grandchildren, Annabelle, Ashton and Ava.
The family wishes to thank CHI Franciscan Hospice, especially Brianna, Sylvia and Marie, for their caring support and guidance.
A Memorial Service will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church in Federal Way on September 17, 2022 @ 1:00 pm. A private family graveside service will be held at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in Nancy’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.