Nancy Sackrider Owen, born in Battle Creek, Michigan, to the late Bernice and Ard Sackrider, passed away at age 83 on June 28, 2019 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Nancy was the loving and proud wife of Dr. Thomas L. Owen DDS for 63 years. She was preceded in death by her brother, Lauren Sackrider. Nancy is survived by Tom, daughters, Cheryl Ronk (David) of East Lansing, and Jennifer Sigmond (Steven) of Chicago; her son, Ted Owen (Rochelle Kleinberg) of New York; brother, Robert Sackrider (Marilyn) of Battle Creek; and grandchildren, Irving Ronk, Owen Ronk (Cara), Juliette Sigmond, and Annabelle Sigmond. She and Tom loved walking and sailing Lake Michigan together since they started dating in high school. They found their ideal cottage and spent many years there with friends and family. When it was too cold to be at Lake Michigan, upon retirement, they made time to be in Bradenton, FL.
She loved collecting beautiful objects and art along with beautiful friends. Among her passions were entertaining and gardening, prompting her to become a member of the Club of Little Gardens and P.E.O, allowing her to share her gift for nurturing.
Nancy was honored to have graduated from Michigan State University in 1960 with a degree in art education. Her immense creativity and talent for organization were utilized during her time spent teaching art in private and public schools and directing and producing numerous ice shows in the 1970s for the Kalamazoo Figure Skating Club.
Nancy's achievements were numerous and she took joy and pride in each one. In 1979, she was named assistant director for the Kalamazoo County Chapter of the American Red Cross and later led the command center during the 1981 tornado that damaged many buildings in downtown Kalamazoo. Soon thereafter, she became the Red Cross executive director and went on to serve for 21 years. In 1989, she earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive designation. Recognizing the value of charitable organizations to the quality of life in southwest Michigan, Nancy devoted her time and career to fund raising campaigns. She formed The Owen Group, Ltd. and was honored to share her talents with numerous organizations, including the Drug Treatment Courts, Kalamazoo River Trailways, The Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and The Parks Foundation of Kalamazoo County, among many others.
Through her ingenuity and selfless giving of her time, Nancy touched the lives of countless individuals. Some of her volunteer activities included serving as president of the Kalamazoo Park Club and president of the Rotary Club of Kalamazoo in 2003, as well as being active at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. She was also an Elder and Trustee of Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church, where she was a member since 1965. But she was most proud of creating and embodying the Battle Creek Bearcat mascot for Battle Creek Central High School in 1953.
In 2007, Nancy received the Kalamazoo YWCA Women of Achievement Award. This, along with other recognitions, was special, but one that was especially meaningful was receiving the Benjamin Franklin Award for an Outstanding Fund Raising Professional from the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, West Michigan Chapter in 2012.
A celebration of her life and legacy will be held at 11am on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at the Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church. The family will receive relatives, friends and colleagues immediately following the service at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Nancy may be made to the American Red Cross of Southwest Michigan ( www.RedCross.org/donate), or to Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church (www.sanctuaryinthecity.org), or to Ministry With Community (www.ministrywithcommunity.com/makeadonation).