Nancee Olsen lost her battle with Multiple System Atrophy on February 11, 2021. Her family has created this page in the hope of raising awareness and helping others cope with this terrible disease. Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized by difficulties with walking, speech and nervous system function. To learn more, visit The MSA Coalition Website.
Nancee was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who we all miss dearly. She fought MSA with strength, courage and grace until the very end. Please consider donating in her memory. More about Nancee's remarkable life below:
Nancee Olsen was born March 9, 1946 in Kansas City, Missouri to William and Marie Coard. She spent part of her childhood in Kansas City with her older sisters, Suzee and Judee, before moving to Arlington, Virginia, at age 6, where they were transferred for her Father’s work with the IRS. They lived in Virginia for a period of time before moving back westward to Omaha, Nebraska, when Nancee was older. Her family moved again, to Denver, for her high school years, and she attended and graduated from Cherry Creek High School in Denver.
After high school, Nancee attended the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, Kansas. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Education. She was also active in the Delta Gamma sorority and made many friends, a number of whom remained close to her through her final days. She also met her husband, Steve, while in college and they were married on January 27, 1968 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Nancee’s parents were living at the time.
Following college, the newlyweds remained in Lawrence for a brief time, where Nancee began teaching. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to Denver, Colorado, where Nancee started her long career in education with Denver Public Schools. She taught for many years at Kaiser Elementary School. She later obtained her Master’s in Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. After many years at Kaiser, she transitioned to teaching middle school math at Henry Middle School. Nancee ultimately retired from over 30 years of teaching in 2001. Throughout her career, she dedicated herself to her work both in and out of the classroom and inspired many students to greater achievement over the years.
In her spare time, Nancee was an avid golfer, reader, and gardener. She loved to read and looked forward to the opportunity to talk books with friends at their monthly book club gatherings. She also loved spending time outside gardening, hiking, and golfing. She had many good friends from her ladies’ golf group and she treasured her chances to spend time with them each week. Nancee also loved spending time outside hiking in the mountains, particularly on trips to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park and on family trips to Vail. Nancee also loved singing and dancing and would often break into song with family. Hearing her sing was a gift and her voice would light up a room. She loved hearing others sing as well, especially her kids and grandkids.
Nancee also loved playing games of any kind - ranging from bridge and mahjong with friends to puzzles, to games of any and all sorts with her grandchildren. She loved challenging her mind by doing crosswords, Sudoku, and any kind of logic puzzle. She also loved card games. She played bridge with friends in her younger years and taught and learned many different card games of all sorts with her granddaughters when they were able to learn and play with her. She was always up for any type of game with her kids and grandkids, whether it was a card game or board game or hungry hippos, she just loved the chance to enjoy this time with family and friends.
Nancee was beloved by her family and is remembered as a wonderful wife, Mom, and Grandmother (or Nana as she was known to her four granddaughters). She raised two sons, who remember her as a kind and generous spirit who was always dedicated to the well being of others before her own. She was a Mom who cared deeply about doing the right thing, not necessarily the easy thing and in giving back to her community, especially those less fortunate. She had a great and witty sense of humor and always managed to find the bright side in situations, knowing the right thing to say to lighten the mood. She also loved cooking and baking and eating good food. She enjoyed spending time in the kitchen when she had the chance, and passed this love on to her sons and granddaughters. Nancee also loved animals, especially dogs. In her final few years, she and Steve doted on their dog Archie.
Not having daughters, Nancee truly adored her four granddaughters, who thought the world of her. She loved any and all opportunities to spend time with them and never passed up a chance to see them. They spent time together doing all sorts of things, including sleepovers, making crafts, cooking meals, singing and dancing, painting, gardening, and just talking. She loved it all and it never seemed to tire her, even after a long sleepover weekend. Through all of these activities, she passed on a love of life and of spending time with and creating and doing for others that greatly influenced her grandkids.
In her laters years, Nancee had a second role as a caregiver for her husband, Steve, as he dealt with the effects of serious spinal cord injury leading to major challenges with walking and the use of his hands. She faced a number of health challenges herself, including breast and squamous cell cancers. Toward the end of her life she was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy (MSA) which led to the gradual inability to walk, speak, and care for herself. Complications from MSA ultimately took Nancee’s life and it was in her final years that her courage became most apparent. Though these illnesses took a tremendous toll on her body, her perseverance in the face of this adversity was inspiring to many of her close family and friends, especially as her illness progressed during the pandemic.
Nancee is survived by her husband Steve, her son Blaine and daughter in law Shawna, son Randy and daughter in law Kristin, and her granddaughters Tessa, Lucy, Tatum, and Campbell. She is also survived by her sister Judee Emison, She is best remembered for her sense of humor and wit, her intelligence and inquisitiveness, her giving nature, and for always putting the needs of others before her own. She inspired countless students through her teaching and touched the lives of many others through her many hobbies and activities outside the classroom. Nancee would have wanted her friends and family to take heart in knowing that she lived a good life and didn’t suffer through her illness. She would want others to live life to the fullest and make the most of their opportunities to be with the ones they love.