Nancy Ellen Larsen (nee Dickinson) died at peace in Newport, Oregon on March 5th at the age of 74. Nancy is survived by her wife and partner of 30 years Louise Hemphill, her children from her first marriage, Steve Larsen, Eric Larsen and Jenny Larsen, her sister Willa Dawson and sister in-law Margie Dickinson, her 6 grandchildren Nick Larsen, Riley Larsen, James Larsen, May Larsen, Abi Larsen and Jeffrey Hayes. Nancy had many cousins, nieces and nephews and had a special bond with her nephew David Dickinson and her niece Wendy Ryan. Nancy is preceded in death by her father, mother and her brother Earl Dickinson.
Nancy was born in January of 1947 in Fort Collins, Colorado to Earl Dickinson and Ruth Dickinson (nee Heckenlaible). She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1980 with a degree in Education. She undertook her Master’s degree at the University of Oregon from 1985 to 1987. She was an educator in Washington state, in Waldport and Toledo High School in Oregon, teaching English and Theater. She had a significant impact on the lives of many young people, and to her joy, many of her students kept in regular contact throughout her life. In 2000 Nancy’s life was extended by a kidney donation from her dear friend and neighbor Bo Harrington.
Creativity was the guiding force in Nancy’s life, and she expressed it through her passion for theater. In addition to teaching theater Nancy would produce plays and musicals with her students. She would take her Toledo High School Students on trips to London and New York to experience theater. In the early 90s she was a director for Peace Child, a theater collaboration with the Soviet Union, Peace Child took her to Russia with a group of American children. At the Performing Arts Center in Newport, Nancy directed many shows with The Red Octopus Theater Company. Her first at the PAC was Quilters and sparked her love of Quilting. “Pieces of lives, patches and tatters. All of the precious, the little, the matter of our lives.” (Quilters)
When Nancy was not in the classroom or theater, she was putting her creativity into her art. Her medium was thread and fabric and she was a master at her crafts. The quilts that Nancy made for family, friends and competitions are treasures that will last generations. Every member of her family has special heirlooms that will continue to bring joy. Her unfinished projects and materials will be taken up and finished by the hands of the Knotty Ladies, a quilting group Nancy was a part of that not only inspire each other but support each other with love.
Nancy was cared for by the kind staff at Samaritans hospital before her passing and was comfortable and at peace. It was her wish to not have a service. Nancy was a traveler in life and was ready for the next journey.
Her final show at the Performing Arts Center was Hamlet,
“To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream
ay, there's the rub,
For in this sleep of death what dreams may come...”