Nancy Gay Power, born Nancy Brett and for a spell Nancy McFarland, passed peacefully on the night of August 10th. She was 93.
Born in October of 1925 in Rocky Mountain House to Teddy Brett and Doreen (née McDermott), the family, including her beloved sister Betty, moved to Edmonton when she was a teenager. There she met her first husband, Ken McFarland with whom she had her first daughter. Later, she married Michael Power and had the second and third of her children.
Well before Women’s Lib, she liberated herself from the kitchen, from housework and immersed herself in business, where she participated as a full equal with her male counterparts, including her old friend and business partner Joe Bleviss. Involving herself first in insurance and then commercial property investment and management, she carved out a niche renting to people when no one else would, and was well known to and loved by her tenants who she visited often.
In addition to her pursuits in business, she was a tireless advocate within politics and the arts. She worked for decades with the Liberal Party both locally and nationally and served her local community through the Highlands Community League and founded the Highlands Historical Society. She was active with the Board of Family Service Association and served on Canada’s National Capital Commission. She was a founder, board president and supporter of Theatre Network and served on Canada’s National Theatre School’s Board of Governors, efforts that led to the Sterling Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Theatre in Edmonton” in 2009 and, more importantly, an outsize impact on a field she loved and the practitioners she loved even more.
She was a fierce advocate who willfully confused friend for family and brought scores into her fold. Known for her generosity, loyalty, warm humour, sharp wit, strength, elegance and deep love, she nurtured friendships across the city, the country, the globe. A kind of community and social glue, she had a deep curiosity about everyone she met (most plane rides ended with a “new best friend”), a desire to connect them with others and the commitment and strength to maintain those ties.
She is survived by her three children and their partners, Gayatri (Rene) and Tony Malmed of Santa Fe, Ted Power and Leslie Twombly of Edmonton, Nirmal (Susan) Power and Greg Miller of Vancouver, her grandchildren Jesse and Alexandra, nieces and nephews in Victoria, Edmonton and the US and dozens of unofficial family members, including Woojong Choi, her devoted caregiver for the past five years, and Cynthie Yakowich. An avid animal lover, she would be tickled to see her manifold menagerie enumerated in the newspaper: Buttons, Missy, Flo, SK, Goldie, Thinker, Spy, Chancy, Ginger, and Heidi.
We cannot always choose our endings, but can close with one of her trademark lines:
“I don’t love you… I adore you.”