Nancy Williams

Lover of classical music, the arts, and her beloved cats, Nancy Jean Williams died on Thursday, November 24, 2022, at Canyonlands Care Center at the age of 93. For those who knew her, no words are necessary; for those who didn’t, no words are enough. 

Nancy was born May 11, 1929, in Payson, Arizona, to Ruby Hansen and Leslie Paul Williams.  As a child, Nancy’s family moved many times throughout the Southwest due to her father’s work. Her favorite friends were her younger brothers, Paul and Peter, with whom she shared many adventures, some of which were rather dangerous. It was then that her love of the outdoors and her free spirit began to shine. 

After graduating from East High School in Denver, Colorado, in 1946, Nancy began her studies at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1950. She put her education to use as an elementary school music and art teacher in Elko, Nevada.

In 1952, Nancy moved to Los Angeles, California. After the births of her children, she began her accomplished career as a probation officer for the County of Los Angeles. She particularly enjoyed working with her adult caseload, where she felt her no-nonsense approach to client issues had the biggest impact in ultimately protecting the children involved. 

Nancy loved to travel through Europe and the U.S. She always said that she was “drawn to the big red rocks and clouds” of the Southwest, and Moab became a favorite destination. As a retiree, Nancy enjoyed traveling in her camper with her beloved cat, Sam. 

In the early 1990s, Nancy made Moab her permanent home. One of her joys living here was the Moab Music Festival. She was a proud early supporter and looked forward to their eclectic repertoire each year, especially the concerts in the grotto. Other favorite Moab activities were driving the La Sal Loop, July 4 fireworks, and picnics along the river. In her last years, Nancy was lovingly supported by Eldercare until she became a resident at Canyonlands Care Center in 2020. Her family thanks them all for their dedication to her care. Heartfelt thanks to Dhyana Greene, she was so blessed to have you. 

Nancy is survived by her children, Norman (Elaine) Olsen, Gayle Old-Smith (Michael Smith), and Aliene O’Malley; 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren; and her brother, Peter Williams. She is predeceased by her brother, L. Paul Williams, Jr.; son-in-law, Timothy O’Malley; and 2 grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at Sunset Gardens Memorial Cemetery in Moab on Friday, December 2 at 1:00 p.m. All are welcome.

Donations in Nancy’s memory may be made to the Moab Music Festival