Obituary of Nancy Lorraine MCNABB

May 29, 1949 – Vankleeek Hill, Ontario
April 26, 2021 – Calgary, Alberta

Nancy McNabb of Calgary, AB, passed away on Monday, April 26, 2021 at the age of 71 years. 

Mom was many different things to many different people. Born on May 29, 1949 in Vankleeek Hill, ON, Nancy married John in 1967 and as they travelled across Canada, they had Ian in 1972 and Kim in 1974 before settling in Calgary.

Mom’s unwavering sense of right and wrong, tradition, manners and old fashion hospitality was rooted in family. Despite settling in Calgary, far away from rural Ontario where she was born - Nancy’s heart was always with family. No one knew Nancy better than her siblings and often us children, as well as nieces and nephews, learned more about mom from the stories Barbara, Ruth, Shirley and David would share. Travel was not her thing and often that was misinterpreted as perhaps disinterest but nothing could be further from the truth. Address books, birthday journals, handmade cards, calendars with dates, mom seldom forgot a birthday or anniversary. She was not able to travel far to celebrate, but she was there in spirit. That spirit soared with each new grandchild, a true blessing and the source of many well-worn photos in her wallet as she was a huge fan of actually keeping those school photos. Danielle, James, (Ian and Lori) and Darwyn, Lexi (Kim and Ryan), were always close to her heart! 
As a friend and neighbour, mom always had a friendly wave and hello. She supported almost anything you wanted to do, had boxes of everyone’s home party business products, supported fundraisers (unless you were asking for her empty bottles – those she did not part with!) and would be the first to smile and encourage your undertaking. What was hers - was yours and she gave freely of her time to bake you cookies or cakes to celebrate with. Though she was never seen at the annual street block party or stampede breakfast – she would curl up in her kitchen, watch the goings on with a smile and be content that she was part of a community while going about her own quiet pursuits. Those pursuits lead to her own successful business in Calgary for over thirty years – Nancy’s Ceramics. As an entrepreneur and Duncan teacher, mom found her kindred spirits. She was most comfortable away from home only while at “The Shop”. For years when mom didn’t answer the phone at one place, you knew she was on the road to the other. The countless number of students and colleagues that came and went and came again or stayed around for years are too numerous to capture. The out pouring of support anytime mom needed it, but especially over the last year as mom battled courageously first with a heart attack and later with her cancer diagnosis, speaks volumes to the community that was and will always be Nancy’s Ceramics. As some of you so eloquently shared in your notes and letters, Nancy’s wasn’t just a place to do ceramics, it was a place to find others and be creative, a place to share a laugh, a place to be social…(that included some four legged friends as well!)

Nancy’s love for all extended to those dear furry cats and dogs that found her. We always knew that when a creature came to live with mom it would be the luckiest sole as it would receive exclusive rights to her love for its lifetime! Mom said goodbye to many pets over the years and we hope that each is waiting on the Rainbow Bridge to be united with mom again in this new chapter.

So while we may all know each other from different paths and avenues, and may have seen different sides of Nancy, one thing we will all agree on is mom’s unwavering loyalty (and her love of all things yellow and taste for lemon!)). Once you were part of her circle, she would do anything for you and made you feel the same towards her. And that smile…oh that smile! (Aunt Shirley said it was just like their Daddy’s!) 

Mom’s journey ended too soon as most journeys do. We all would have liked to help Nancy enjoy her well-deserved retirement. However, we can’t depart without saying a deep, heart felt thank you to the staff of almost every unit at Rockyview General Hospital (including ICU, Internal Medicine, Nephrologyand Unit 57!) as well as a fond thank you to Dr. Debru from PLC and the experts out of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. To the Palliative Home Care Team and Home Enteral Team, you gave us the ability to fulfill mom’s last wish – to come home before heading to hospice and for this, my brother and I will forever be grateful. Finally, mom’s last stop on her medical journey this past year was the Foothills Country Hospice. There are no words to describe the care, dignity and compassion this hospice team demonstrated – we appreciate you more than you can know.
While the medical journey raged in the forefront, our friends and family, neighbours and Nancy’s Ceramics community rallied behind us and mom.  (Jennifer we could not have done this without you!) We thank you for the gifts, the flowers, the food, the shoulders to cry on, the strength and support when we thought we had none left, the words of encouragement and the words of condolences. Most of all, we thank you for being part of a beautiful life, a lifetime of creativity.

Now with your sadness, or your fond memories, instead of sending flowers, go and create something, put something beautiful out into the world, dedicate it to Nancy and send us a pic!

Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Nancy’s obituary at If friends so desire,to Honour Mom’s love of animals and courageous battle with cancer, memorial tributes may be made directly to A.A.R.C.S. – Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, 5060 – 74th Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB T2C 3C9, Telephone: (403) 250-7377, or to the Canadian Cancer Society, 200 – 325 Manning Rd. N.E., Calgary, AB T2E 2P5 Telephone: (403) 205-3966, email We would be so grateful.

In living memory of Nancy, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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