Nancy Jean Stirewalt Wilson passed away at her home on Butte Creek surrounded by family on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 after a nearly two year fight with brain cancer. Nancy’s unfathomable faith, grace and grit were a true testimony during her 23 month battle.
Nancy was born on January 10, 1950 to Jim and Effie (Snabel) Stirewalt of Kimberly, Oregon. She attended grade school and high school in Monument where she was involved in sports, cheerleading, theater, and dancing the Charleston. She was a Grant County Fair and Rodeo Princess and a Spray Rodeo Queen. Nancy participated in 4-H from age nine until her passing. Stirewalt Ranch activities were an enormous part of Nancy’s childhood and that love of ranching lasted throughout her lifetime. Nancy attended Eastern Oregon State College and graduated from Northwestern Business School in Portland in 1970.
Nancy was married to Phil Wilson of Mayville on July 25, 1970 in Monument. They spent the first two years of their marriage in San Luis Obispo, California while Phil finished up his schooling at Cal Poly. Nancy was employed at the university in Ag Business Management and Home Economics.
Phil and Nancy moved to the ranch on Butte Creek outside Fossil in 1972. It was here that they raised their three children Milne, Kara, and Zane. Nancy was well known for her abilities as a seamstress. She also enjoyed baking, canning, crocheting, embroidery, and gardening.
Ranching was in Nancy’s blood and she was a true partner to Phil in all aspects of raising cattle on Wilson Ranches. In March 2000 Phil and Nancy opened Wilson Ranches Retreat Bed and Breakfast to nurture guests’ body and soul, offering an opportunity to experience ranch living and the beauty of Eastern Oregon’s high desert. Guests from all over the world have become a part of the Wilson Ranches family.
Nancy’s deepest joys were celebrating the life she created with her Cowboy and family. Nancy started horse racing as a young girl and was in her final race at the Spray Rodeo at the age of 45, breaking a wedding vow. She loved that she raised her family on horseback and taught thousands from around the world to ride. Nancy will be remembered for her smile, laugh, and the amazing hugs that made strangers feel like family.
Nancy was involved in the Bit and Spur Club, Wheeler County Fair Board, Wheeler County CowBelles, Oregon CowBelles, Eastern Oregon Pioneer Association, and as a 4-H leader. Nancy was so honored when she and Phil were asked to be Grand Marshals of the Wheeler County Fair in 2015. Nancy worked as a bookkeeper, receptionist and eventually administrator at Asher CommunityHealth Center. She was instrumental in bringing Home Health to Wheeler County and was so blessed to benefit from the care of Home Health in her final days.
Nancy is survived by her husband Phil Wilson of Fossil; children Milne (Mike) Macy of Culver, Kara (Brian) Anglin of Fossil, Zane (Marissa) Wilson of Madras; grandchildren Tegan and Kailee Macy, Marina and Dima Anglin, Nate and Sam Wilson; great-granddaughter Lillian; sisters Judy Bertsch, Dina Stirewalt, Elizabeth Parke, and brother Jim Stirewalt; and numerous nieces and nephews. Nancy was preceded in death by her parents Jim and Effie Stirewalt and sister Lula Daniels.
A celebration of Nancy’s life will be held at Julia Henderson Pioneer Park on Saturday, July 21 at 10 am. Nancy had a lifetime love of county fairs starting in Grant County. The Wilson Family asks in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Nancy’s honor to 4-H and FFA programs in your county or to the Eastern Oregon Pioneer Association.