Nancy M. Heidal
Published 8:07 pm Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Age 87, of St. Cloud, passed away peacefully on December 19, 2021, after living a life that was filled with finding ways to care for others.
Nancy was born in Triumph, MN (now Trimont) in 1934. She was raised on a farm outside nearby Rushmore, MN, and graduated from Adrian High School. She received her teaching degree from Mankato State University and taught elementary school for a few years before moving to Albert Lea with her husband John, who was a high school teacher and coach. Nancy then started a daycare business in her home, taking care of numerous children over the next 30 years. She had an incredible gift for nurturing children and touched many lives during her long career. She also raised her own children — John (Jr.), Tom and Susan – during those years.
Even after she closed her daycare business, Nancy continued to look for new challenges. She volunteered to help care for children while their parents were learning English as a second language. She also made amazing bulletin boards for the Early Childhood Center, with detailed artistic elements to represent the changing seasons. She helped to run support groups, including an Emotions Anonymous group for people dealing with serious mental illnesses within their families, and took communion to shut-ins at local nursing homes. She also gave generously throughout her life to several Native American schools, the ASPCA, and various wildlife and conservation groups.
From the time Nancy was a young girl caring for horses and dogs on the farm, she loved animals. She had many dogs over the years, including miniature schnauzers Prancer and Pepper. She enjoyed daily 3-mile walks until it wasn’t physically possible anymore. She was an incredible cook and enjoyed hosting family gatherings for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other celebrations throughout the year. She delighted in spending time with her children and grandchildren.
Nancy was also a devout Christian and long-time member of First Lutheran Church who wrote down daily Bible readings that she turned to for spiritual sustenance. She was a vocal supporter of the Democratic party and a big sports fan who rooted for the Twins, Timberwolves, Gophers, and other Minnesota teams. Most importantly, she was a role model for her children, grandchildren, students, daycare children and many others over the years.
Preceded in death by husband John and parents Robert and Elaine Thom. Survived by children John (Carolyn), Tom, and Susan (Kevin) Schiltz; brother Robert Thom Jr. (Carole); and grandchildren Eric Heidal, Lindsey Heidal, Aidan Schiltz, and Zachary Schiltz. Special thanks to the Memory Care staff at Talamore Senior Living in St. Cloud and St. Croix Hospice for their compassionate care and assistance.
Nancy’s memorial service in Albert Lea will be a small family gathering. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to St. Croix Hospice, the Alzheimer’s Association, and St. Joseph’s Indian School (Chamberlain, SD).