May 7, 1930- February 27, 2020
Dear Nancy, you would have been 90 years old yesterday and I decided that today would be a good day to celebrate you and your life with a non-traditional obituary. You were very much a non-traditional kind of lady. Independent, determined, smart, stubborn, quirky and caring.
I can only say that the past year has been quite a ride as your friend, your practically adopted daughter and finally your end-of-life caretaker. We talked all the time and I learned so much about you and even though you didn’t want an obituary, I want to share to the world the friend that I got to know.
You were born in Clinton, Iowa and your parents were Olin Harold Berryman and Delle Vila Fuller and you had an older brother, Charles. You told me a lot about growing up during the depression and many stories (good and bad) about being the youngest child during that time.
I suspect that your independence led you into the universities, where you achieved two PhD’s, in art and religion. So many stories of your teaching art at University of Wisconsin and how much you enjoyed those years. During those years you became an amazing artist of pottery, of which I have many pieces now collected from your home and barn. You were even published!
As I’ve been piecing together your life’s journey I can share that outside of your university teaching, you’ve owned real estate in down town Chicago, you traveled to many places around the world, you had many friends and a handful of loves in your life, you were quite the tennis player and athlete, you suffered from severe chemical sensitivity (which you fought years to become recognized in the medical world as a true medical condition), you lived in your suburban for a few years camping and traveling around the US, finally ending up in Santa Fe the city you loved most, your soul city.
At some point you became involved with the terra cotta industry. Designing and improving terra cotta roofing materials and various decorative bricks and tiles. You were Architectural and Terra Cotta and Tile, Ltd and Berryman Enterprises. Back in those days, you were a predecessor for women in the building industry. I can only imagine what it would have been like to work with you in that industry with your intelligence and creative mind. I’m sure you rocked a few worlds back then.
Estes Park became your home around 2003, where you purchased your home from friends that you frequently house and cat-sat for. You loved your house, your neighbors, the senior citizens center, the farmers market, Via, EV library, and Estes Park (most of the time).
Your spirituality became a big part of your life. You established Temple of the Unveiled God and The Office of the Overseer of Dedication to Enlightenment, and you even became an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Universal Life Church. This journey was a tough one for you as your search for healing through sounds, light, energies, vibrations, supplements, organics, god and love couldn’t stop the aging process.
Giving up your drivers license was the hardest thing you ever did and I know it hurt in more ways than I will ever know. It meant giving up your independence.
When your eyesight began to fail and your world went dark, is when you told me that you have nothing to live for and I saw the end of your journey come quickly.
I am saddened that you had no family to be with you. Your mom passed when you were 30, your dad and brother also both gone. When I asked about nieces or nephews, you didn’t know, and you weren’t interested at this late game of life. So, becoming your friend and caretaker got even more instilled in my heart for you and all your quirky ways.
Now that you are gone and I promised I would take care of your things, get your ashes made into a beautiful glaze on an amazing piece of pottery and return you to Santa Fe. Somehow, some day, I promise!
I know that you are with family and friends and I thank you for introducing me to them in those final days and hours in the hospital rooms. Know that you were loved, know that your life made a difference to many people. Rest in peace, my friend.
Memorial donations in Nancy’s name may be made to the EPSCC, Inc., (Estes Park Senior Citizens Center), Via or the Estes Valley Library for their talking books program.