Heaven welcomed a special Angel on Feb. 12, 2021. Nancy Ann Whitmer passed away peacefully in her home with family by her side. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Mom’s greatest gift was loving everyone right where they were in life and making everyone feel heard and seen. Mom’s love language was a special “hello sunshine” greeting, hugs, baked goods and feeding anyone who came to her house.
Nancy was born on Sept. 6, 1948, to Newman and Doris (Olson) Olsgaard in Jamestown, ND. Newman was a traveling salesman and Doris worked as an accountant at Whites Drug; both were active in the local Masonic community. Her older sister, Beth, was her best friend and partner in crime as they tackled life together from marriage, children, sickness, loss of their father and brother, Dave. Mom adored her younger brother, John, so much so that she charged the neighborhood kids a nickel to hold him, and forever pinched her pennies thereafter. Although John and his family lived in South Carolina, they shared long conversations and laughed together over the years. A great sense of humor was an Olsgaard family hallmark. Mom’s laughter instantly filled a room with joy and she always had a twinkle in her eye.
Nancy graduated from Jamestown High School and her classmates revered her exceptional kindness — she was a friend to everyone. In 1968, she leaped into her next big chapter of life and took a train with her best friend Madelyn to Billings and started her amazing 49-year career in banking with Norwest (Wells Fargo). Lloyd and Elenore Lee, friends of her own parents, we her another set of parents and helped her transition to life in Billings. Friends Mom worked with at Wells Fargo shared her lifelong commitment of caring for others and were another branch of her family tree. Through the years, they shared deep friendships and cared for one another as each decade passed. Another special gift was Mom’s compassion when working with the elderly and assisting those who are often overlooked. She volunteered to balance checkbooks at assisted living, and for elderly friends who dropped off their check registers at the house.
Mom met her sweetheart and husband of 50 years, Tom, at a New Year’s Eve party six months after he returned from Vietnam in 1969. Dad immediately fell in love with the Jamestown girl who baked bread and wore cowgirl boots, and even brought her to meet his family two weeks later. They married that following Thanksgiving and raised two daughters, Chris and Eileen. Throughout years of work and raising two daughters, she was constantly aware of the needs of others.
Mom did it all. She worked full time, always had dinner on the table, supported musical and athletic endeavors and still found time to read romance novels. Mom empowered her daughters to reach for the sky and commit to their dreams no matter how tough times might be. She tirelessly prayed for them as they pursued careers, started families and dusted them off when they needed it. Mom especially enjoyed baking cookies with her grandchildren, Tate, Lilly and Porter, and was delighted when they left the kitchen smiling and devouring the batter.
Nancy is remembered by many for her unlimited capacity to love everyone around her. She maintained a steady correspondence of cheery cards and notes to friends and family everywhere. Notes that continued even as her health declined. Attending church was a standing appointment and God was an essential part of her life. Her faith in God found a home at Peace Lutheran Church, where she enjoyed livestreamed services for many years. Mom’s heavenly welcoming committee of loving family members rejoice on the clouds with this special reunion.
Nancy is preceded in death by her parents, Newman and Doris (Olson) Olsgaard of Jamestown, ND; siblings, Mary Beth (Vern and Linda Anderson) of Bismarck, ND, Dave (Addy Chambers) of Jamestown, ND, John (Jane Olsgaard) of Columbia, SC. Nancy is survived by her husband, Tom; daughters Christine Soileau (Scott) and Eileen Purcell; Aunt June Lund (Al) of Bismarck, ND; five grandchildren, Brian, Tori and Porter Soileau, Tate Fox and Lillian Purcell; two great-grandchildren, Estelle and Brixton Soileau; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family wishes to express their deepest thanks and appreciation for the Gallagher family and staff at Compassus Hospice during the last days of her life. The love and care of Mom and her family was truly exceptional. We were all so blessed.
A public visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. A private ceremony is being held for immediate family on Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. and the public may view the service by livestream. A graveside ceremony will be follow at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, at Mountview Cemetery.
Link to Peace Lutheran Church website: https://www.peacelutheranbillings.com/worship.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Christikon.org.