NANCY MARIE "NANCE" O'BRIENNancy Marie "Nance" O'Brien, 55, died peacefully at home with family by her side on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in Duluth.
Nancy Marie "Nance" O'Brien, 55, died peacefully at home with family by her side on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in Duluth. She died of ovarian cancer, first diagnosed in 2009 and determined to be incurable in November of 2010.
Nance was born in Duluth on May 13, 1957, the third of five children of Martha Jeanette (Czerniak) and James Woodruff "Bud" O'Brien.
She grew up in Duluth in the Grandview Avenue home her parents built near Chester Creek and graduated from Duluth Cathedral High School (now, Marshall School) in 1975. After high school. Nance moved to Montana and graduated with honors from the University of Montana at Missoula. She completed graduate work through CSUS at the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico and the Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.
Nance was a Spanish teacher and absolutely loved her students. She spent most of her career, from 1983 to the present, teaching in the upper school of her alma mater, Marshall School. There she taught all levels of Spanish offered, worked as the chairwoman of the foreign language department for 20 years, and established the school's Advanced Placement Spanish program.
Nance was preceded in death by her parents; her younger brother Michael Gregory O'Brien, and special aunt and longtime housemate Joyce O'Brien.
She is survived by sisters Mary Ann (Gerald) Kaster, and Diana Lea "Tune" (Jerry) Powers; brother James Patrick O'Brien; nephews Luke, Jeremiah, and Joel Kaster; nieces Brenna (John) Lowry and Keeley Powers; and grandnephew Matthew Lowry.
Nance would like to thank Dr. Annie Tan, Dr. J. Baker, Dr. Thomas Nelson and Dr. Addie Licari. Heartfelt thanks to the amazing nurses and staff of St. Luke's infusion clinic and St. Luke's Hospice. Enormous thanks also to all of Nance's former students and colleagues who sent such encouraging messages and shared memories with her through calls, cards and visits over the past three years.
In lieu of flowers. Nance requested that memorials to any of the following be considered: The Nance O'Brien Scholarship Fund, Marshall School, 1215 Rice Lake Rd., Duluth, MN, 55811. This endowment will pay for student financial aid. The Big Red Bookshelf, a local program that promotes an active love of reading in very young readers. Donations may be made online or by mail to: United Way of Greater Duluth, 424 W. Superior St., Suite 402, Duluth, MN 55802. The Chester Bowl Improvement Club. a program that works to clean up, maintain, and improve Nance's beloved Chester Creek and its trails. Donate online via PayPal or mail to: CBIC, 1801 E. Skyline, Duluth, MN 55812.
Out of respect for Nance's wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service. Her heartfelt desire was that her students and those she knew would gather and share memories of their time together.
Arrangements for cremation by Dougherty Funeral Home, Duluth.
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