After a valiant battle with a combination of lower bowel obstruction and neuroendocrine cancer, my wife of 40 years, Nancy Jeanette Grisdale, age 75, tragically died on June 14th at the Hospice of the Valley, Thunderbird Palliative Care Unit, Glendale, Arizona. She was predeceased by her parents Kathleen and Ralph Porter of Clawson, Michigan.
She was loved by and a friend to everyone and I am heartbroken she is gone.
I met Nancy and we dated three years prior to our marriage. Her father, Ralph, died just one prior month before we met. When Nancy and I started dating, and aside from her natural beauty, I was very impressed with the care and attention she gave to her son, Aaron. She worked hard to motivate him to succeed in school and always found time to attend his baseball and football games. Her mother, Kathleen, welcomed me into their small but loving family. And that included inclusion into their close-knit neighbors, whom we later took several vacation trips with. Her mother and I shared an interest in baseball, particularly the Detroit Tigers. Occasionally, she would invite me over during an afternoon to watch them on TV and enjoy a beer. Everyone should have a mother-in-law like that!
While I am now 78 years old and in possession of a less-than-satisfying memory, I’m sure I’ve overlooked some of Nancy’s biographical information. She attended numerous elementary schools throughout the United States. Her father was employed with the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM), requiring relocation to various Army installations. When her father was assigned to the Warren, Michigan base, her family settled in Clawson, Michigan where Nancy graduated from Clawson High School in 1966.
After graduating from the Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Lexington, Kentucky, she began a 40+ year career in health care. As an RN working in ER and other hospital departments, her knowledge and experience transitioned into the human resources area of nurse recruiting and employee management. She was employed by several nationally recognized healthcare systems. These included Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Health Care Systems, and eventually she was recruited to improve employee recruitment and retention at Aurora Healthcare in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2013, she retired with the position of Employment Manager for the 20,000+ employee system.
Nancy achieved numerous awards and community citations. She was engaged in several human resource organizations throughout her healthcare career.
On a personal level, I can vouch for Nancy’s impressive culinary talents. She was a great cook! She loved entertaining family, employees, and neighborhood friends spanning Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona the past ten years. She was an avid reader, and started several book clubs. She loved art, travel, and above all, she enjoyed decorating her homes and planting flowers every year.
Nancy loved animals, particularly cats. Her sense of humor was especially enjoyable when she “spoke” to her cats. “Lindsey” was the retirement cat and enriched Nancy and I during our post career years.
Throughout the past 25 years, Nancy displayed incredible courage enduring several types of cancer ad episodes of lower bowel obstruction. For the most part, she preferred to keep her health challenges to herself. Sharing her pain was limited to her family and close friends. For the past coupe of years, the combination of lower bowel obstructions, increased Atrial Fibrillation events, and the gradual increase of neuroendocrine tumors in the intestinal area spreading further were too much for Nancy to overcome. Unable to ingest solid food for her last several months led to significant weight loss, increased weakness, and an intolerance for treatment.
As her spouse and fulltime caregiver, I was fortunate to be with Nancy during her final hours. She was still conscious (but in severe pain) when I accompanied her in the back of the transport ambulance on the way to the Thunderbird Palliative Care Unit in Glendale, Arizona. I was fortunate to be able to express my final words to her.
Per her wishes, Nancy was cremated and a Memorial Service will be provided in the last week of October at Thompson Funeral Chapel in Goodyear, Arizona. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Neuroendocrine Care Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF), a 501(6)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible. Contact netrf.org for more information.
Nancy’s son, Aaron and I would like to thank the entire staffs of the Phoenix Mayo Clinic and the Hospice of the Valley Palliative Care Units (PCU) of Surprise and the Thunderbird location in Glendale, Arizona.