Nancy Julia Olmstead was born to Robert and Alyce Chalmers in Grantham, England on February 8, 1926. She had vivid memories of being a teenager during the Battle of Britain, experiencing rationing, air raids, blackout conditions, and bomb shelters. Her family housed servicemen, and she volunteered for the Red Cross and USO events, all while attending high school.
Young Nancy married U.S. Army Corporal A. Richard McCamish, Jr. of Kennewick, Washington in Grantham in 1944 and then emigrated to the US as a war bride in 1946. They made their home in Kennewick where their two daughters, Julia and Christine were born. Unfortunately, Nancy became a young widow when Richard died shortly after Christine’s birth in December 1949
With the support of friends, Nancy then moved to Spokane to pursue secretarial training. After finding live-in childcare at the home of friends, she began working at a bank during the day in the Washington Water Power building and doing housekeeping chores at night to help cover childcare expenses. While working at the bank, she met Norman Olmstead, a young engineer for Washington Water Power. Nancy and Norman married in 1952, and Norman immediately added Julie and Chris to the family unit by adopting them as his daughters. The family soon moved to Indiana, where Helen was born, and then to Minnesota, where Clyde was born.
The family lived in Edina, Minnesota for several years before Norman’s career took them to various communities in Illinois where they eventually settled in their new home in Metamora. During that time, Mother worked as a full-time mother and homemaker, served as a Girl Scout leader, participated in Bible Studies, volunteered at Methodist Hospital in Peoria, served as a library volunteer at several different libraries, and supported the local community as an election judge/monitor for Woodford County, IL. Her hobbies included sewing, gardening (she was known for her Hosta gardens), and doing crossword puzzles. However, her favorite hobby was reading, even though she was known to read the ending ahead of time to see if she wanted to complete the book. Mother, who had never owned a book when she came to the U.S., often said that “she couldn’t leave many material riches to her children, but felt that she was successful in opening up the world to her children through books.” She was also known for her quick wit and sense of humor.
After Norman’s passing, Nancy moved to The Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, California in 2011 to be near two of her daughters--Julie and Helen--and their respective families. At that time, Chris lived in Minnesota near her sons, and Clyde lived in Kansas City with his family and later moved to the Northern suburbs of Chicago. Shortly before what would have been her 96th birthday, Nancy peacefully passed away on December 18, 2021. Her ashes will be interred with her beloved husband Norman at the Harding Cemetery near Ottawa, Illinois on May 6, 2022.
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Alyce Chalmers, her sister as Sheila Tinkler (Ron), her brother Bill Chalmers (Frankie), her husbands-- Richard McCamish, Jr. and Norman Olmstead (whom she was married to for 54 years) and son in law Larry Rhiel. Nancy Julia Olmstead is survived by her daughters Julie Warnes (Charlie), Chris Rhiel, and Helen Viau, her son Clyde Olmstead (Jeanne), 10 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.
Romans 14:8 - For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.
Nancy lived in the light of the Lord here on Earth, and now she lives with Him forever in His Heavenly kingdom.
Memorial Services will be Friday, May 6th at 10:30 a.m. at Gladfelter-Roetker Funeral Home with Pastor Randy Mortenson officiating. Burial will follow at Harding Cemetery.