Nancy Christensen, 71, of Atlantic, Iowa, died Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic.
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Nancy Lorene Grebert was born on October 9, 1947, in Clarinda, Iowa, the daughter of Hilbert and Frances (Johnson) Grebert. She grew up on the family farm with seven siblings; this being where her love of the outdoors began. Nancy’s early years of school were in a one room school house with the other students mostly being her siblings. Since the family didn’t have a horse, she rode a cow to school. She attended Clarinda High School and was on the cheerleading squad; graduating in the Class of 1965. Following graduation, she followed her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, and enrolled in classes at Peru State College. While there she was member of their gymnastic and cheer team.
On December 6, 1969, she was united in marriage to Don E. Christensen at the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Clarinda. The couple was blessed with two children, Andrea and Anthony. Don was always grateful he met such a happy, intelligent, and loving woman. Following their marriage, it was time to decide where to plant their roots and after choosing a teaching job in Atlantic over Colorado; Atlantic would be home for the next 50 years. Nancy was a 3rd grade teacher for Atlantic Community Schools for 45 years, and after retirement continued to substitute. Her career began at Jackson and then later moved to Washington; where she implemented the idea to plant a garden in the railroad tie retaining wall on the west side of the school. Her passion for teaching led to long lasting relationships with her students and coworkers. Nancy was adamant that time in the classroom needed to be fun, and what better way to make that happen than to be a kid at heart; often joining them for a game of kickball. Her fun and outgoing spirit led to many classroom traditions that are still going today.
Her love and commitment to her family was never questioned; they were her #1! When the kids were growing up and summer hit, the family enjoyed many camping adventures. Fishing was never Nancy’s favorite thing to do but she always went along; laying her blanket out on the bank to read or take a nap, but not before casting a single line in to see what she may catch. How could someone that didn’t care to fish always catch the biggest fish? Nancy was never one to travel, preferring to stay home to be near her family. Thursday nights were reserved for going out to eat, playing games and catching up on all that was going on in her kids’ lives. Her children often wondered how it was possible that she thought it was ok for the grandkids to have ice cream at 8 a.m. (hence, her being called Grandma Ice Cream) and also paint in the living room; Nancy looked for ways to spoil her grandkids any chance she got.
Nancy is survived by her husband of 49 years, Don; children, Andrea (Alan) Woodruff of Cumberland and Anthony (Rachael) Christensen of Lewis; grandchildren, Ellisa (significant other, Steve Butcher) Woodruff, Craig (Nicole) Woodruff, Chance Woodruff, Kenna Christensen and Grant Christensen; brothers and sisters, Betty Naico of Essex, David (Connie) Grebert of Clarinda, Judy (Tom) Graham of Essex, Susie Grebert of Clarinda, Dennis (Tammy) Grebert of Shenandoah, and Ronnie (Kim) Grebert of Clarinda; sisters-in-law, Sherry Grebert of Shenandoah and Marletta (Ted) McKercher of Omaha; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Hilbert and Frances Grebert, mother and father-in-law, V.E. "Barney" and Betty Christensen; brother, Al “Sonny” Grebert; and brother-in-law, Robert Naico.
Visitation with the family present will be from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday, May 20th at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 21st at Zion Lutheran Church in Atlantic.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Nancy’s family and her arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com
IN REMEMBRANCE OF
October 9, 1947
May 15, 2019
At the age of 71 years, 7 months & 6 days
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Zion Lutheran Church
Pastor Daryl Tompkins
“In the Garden”
“Mary Did You Know”
By Heidi Hinman
The family invites you to join them immediately
following the service for lunch in the fellowship hall.