Nancy passed away, from cancer, at 3:00 am Friday, June 5, 2020. She was the first OMS recipient of the Hazel Bressie award, and was spotlighted in the January, 2020, issue of the Aqua Master. It was a very interesting Spotlight, submitted by Arlene Delmage, which you can find here: Nancy Milner Swimmer Spotlight
Below are tributes to Nancy, from some of her friends.
Her infectious smile and laugh will definitely be missed on the pool decks. It was a long struggle for her.
I did not know Nancy Milner well, but I was honored to get to know her a bit and swim on a relay with her at Mission Viejo Nationals last summer.
Being new to OMS at the time awards were being called for, I remember meeting Nancy and thought, “Wow”, she has to be a nominee for the Hazel Bressie award. I DID nominate her. She was gregarious, unlike Hazel, extremely friendly, and made everyone feel welcome whatever/wherever the situation. Her laugh was infectious, albeit somewhat annoying, but she was who she was – kind, real – a delight to be around. She definitely will be missed.
She was always a positive spirit, upbeat, quirky, and so very nice. She was welcoming when I was new to Oregon Masters Swimming and always took time to chat with everyone at meets. I will miss her enthusiasm and joy in swimming.
Nancy was the kind of person who could find something good in almost anyone and would not hesitate to give you the shirt off her back if needed. Some people have the motto “What would Jesus do?” Personally, I always thought, “What would Nancy do?”–though I seldom live up to either of those mottos.
Nancy was the only person that I have ever known in all my life, who was completely non-judgmental. I especially enjoyed the visits with her and her mother together.
Nancy changed the course of my swimming life when I committed, for the first time, to do the 1500 in a competition at the Mt. Hood Pool. I lacked confidence; chickened out; ran to the bathroom, locked the stall door and stood on a toilet. I could hear Nancy yelling all the way down the deck for me to get to the blocks. Now she was yelling Sue! as she came into the locker room; the only place left was in a stall. Then I saw her pop her head under the door, then she saw me standing on the toilet. She yelled at me to open the door and go! She ran right next to me all the way. We made it just in time; I had no time to get nervous. Nancy was always volunteering somewhere on a regular basis. Always.
Nancy holds a special place in my heart.
There is no way I could express what an inspiration Nancy was to me.
I was able to spend time with her while driving down to Sweet Home in the car, and staying overnight at a cute little motel, while on a trip to the Foster Lake cable swim. I wanted to know what it was like to be living with cancer, and she answered my questions, openly and frankly. It’s not often one gets the chance to talk frankly with someone about staring death in the face so many times and how that affects their living. She was particularly emphatic about the gratefulness she felt to the people who had helped her so much. She was the one with the illness, but I was the one who was comforted and uplifted!
Nancy was a free and strong spirit who faced her cancer demon with all her strength. She lived every minute as she wanted. She is missed and has left us with a void of not hearing her hearty laugh. RIP Nancy; you are a wonderful memory.
Nancy was an absolute force of nature with a great sense of humor and the best laugh you’ve ever heard. She cared for others and always took the time to check in; even when she was ill from her treatments, she put others first. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to get to know Nancy and hear about her life and adventures. She is loved and she is missed.
I am so glad I had this opportunity to work with Nancy and tell her story (see the January, 2020, Aqua Master, page 9 at: https://swimoregon.org/AquaMaster/2020/01January2020AM.pdf). She said to me “I’ve never told my life story before” and she was very happy to have this article published. Nancy’s sense of humor was always present when we were discussing what to include and what to leave out. She has so many funny stories and I am fortunate that I was able to hear some of them. Her love of family, friends, and community was very evident.
A truly amazing human being. Her story is beyond remarkable.
Christina M Malango
What a beautiful interview of an inspiring person…thank you so much! This really illustrates how teammates become besties. (Re: the Spotlight from the January, 2020, issue of the Aqua Master).
Nancy was fabulous! Ron and I had so much fun traveling to CA with her. Her sense of humor is what I love the best!! She always made me laugh even when I was traveling with a broken ankle. We have been the recipient of some of her good homemade goodies. I think Nancy was one of the most level-headed and strongest women I have ever known.
“Our Nancy” was truly an amazing person and an inspiration to us all. We’ve lost track of the number of times Nancy was in and out of remission over the past 10 years, but through it all she continued to focus on swimming, getting so much enjoyment from it – swimming fed her soul. One of my best memories was swimming alongside Nancy during the mile swim at the state meet in Hood River several years ago. It’s the first time I swam a mile in a meet (not my event!) and we filled each of the lanes with everyone from our old Mt Hood Masters group, including Kristi who arrived late and ran out onto the deck still putting her suit on and getting to the blocks just on time. As I recall, Nancy beat me.
Nancy was one of the most positive and generous people I know. Even while fighting cancer, she would never complain, even when I talked to her less than a week before her passing. She still had her contagious laugh that everybody recognized. She was a fighter and a riot. She will be truly missed on the pool decks.
Nancy was a brave soul. She endured untold hardship with magnificence. Her kindness and generosity of spirit were obvious upon our first meeting. She was a supportive teammate, a dedicated swimmer, and always pleasant to be around even when she was under the weather. I will miss her.
Nancy was a truly inspiring individual & wholesome person. I hadn’t seen her in years until this past August at Summer Nationals in Mission Viejo. She saw me and immediately treated me as a long lost friend. She had a zest for life and truly appreciated each and every day she was with us. She told me that several times over the weekend. Her laugh was contagious & uplifting & one that I will never forget.
The first time I met Nancy she treated me like we were long time friends.
She would never lead on about how serious her illness was and we rarely talked about it.
Her spirit was immense and she was always warm and uplifting.
I will miss her laugh.
A great lady….tough as nails, yet very kindly. Always had a big smile for “Mr. Bert.”