Nancy Lou Fehlner

Back in September 1960, at Johns Hopkins University, this author was taking the organic qualifying exam (for the second time!) when he noticed a new student sitting behind him taking the same exam for the first time. Not long after he decided on the spur of the moment to attend the Newman Club meeting off campus where, for the first time, he met this student, Nancy Clement. He was pleased to find that she had noticed him as well. As if we were stones at the top of a hill, that meeting was the push that sent us moving down through life together with its bumps and bruises as well as moments of close pleasures: engaged in 1961, married in 1962 and parents of a son in 1963 born on the day I received (in absentia) my PhD degree. Recently we shared an elegant tapas style dinner with a group of residents in the courtyard of Andre Place, Holy Cross Village; an event for residents that fortuitously was held on our 60th wedding anniversary July 28th.  We celebrated with good food, wine and company and privately grinned at our good fortune.

Nancy Lou Clement was born on February 24, 1939 in Brooklyn New York, the second daughter of John E. Clement and Anna T. Menges. At a young age Nancy moved with her family to Freeport, NY  on the south shore of Long Island where she lived until leaving for St. Francis College in Loretto PA in 1956. She graduated with a BS in Chemistry in 1960 and chose Johns Hopkins for graduate school where she held an NIH fellowship and received an MS degree. A second son born in 1964 and her husband’s position at Notre Dame beginning that fall prevented her finishing her PhD.  But in the mid 1970’s, when the kids were older, she went back to university, Notre Dame this time, and earned a MTh degree.  After a year as a parish religious education director, she joined the faculty of St. Joseph High school where she taught both chemistry and theology courses for 13 years until she retired. Her favorite story from this time is the one where a group of her science students entered a contest in which the entry was the number of helium atoms in the Goodyear blimp at a certain temperature and altitude…a challenging calculation. The prize was a ride in the blimp in Florida.  Their calculation was correct and they won! A trip to Florida ensued for the students and their teacher and Nancy got great pleasure in relating to her professor husband how she got to fly the blimp…he was green with envy.

We raised our kids in a bi-level home on Kenilworth Rd in Clay Township before moving to a 17 acre “farm” on Niles Buchanan Rd north of the border in 1990. This summer we moved back to Indiana into an apartment in Riverside Place in Holy Cross Village…good memories from three very different places. Although she disliked long flights, Nancy enjoyed exploring the many varied places all over the world that involved either work or family.  Most notable are our longer stays Benson, UK, Sendai, Japan, Bath, UK and Rennes, France where she had time to meet and interact with some of the local residents. She enjoyed relating how she would discuss with the butcher in Benson the difference between British and American cuts to find the type roast she wanted for our dinner…or how the local shop keeper in Sendai would help her solve the food problem with unfamiliar food, currency and language…then there was the mysterious winkle picker that arrived with her seafood platter at a restaurant in Bristol…turned out Nancy liked winkles which was no surprise. She grew up with the ocean as a neighbor and she was very fond of seafood her whole life.

Nancy died October 21, 2022 in Dujarie House at Holy Cross Village as a result of a stroke suffered exactly one month after our 60th anniversary. She was 83. Nancy is survived by her husband Tom; her sister Norine in California and  brother Jack in North Carolina; son Thom in Sydney, Australia and daughter Anne in Vail Colorado; three grandchildren, Angela, Nicole and John; and three greatgrandchildren, Clementine, Deliah and Eloise.  She is predeceased by her parents and two children, Peter and Jeanne. There will be a funeral mass at 11 am on Saturday, October 29th at St Mary of the Immaculate in Niles, MI followed by food and conversation in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to a charity that you support.