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Welcome to the memorial page for

Nancy Ward Urban

December 19, 1948 ~ October 11, 2019 (age 70)


Nancy Ward Urban, 70, of Rehoboth, MA, died peacefully on Friday, October 11, 2019 at her beloved antique home in Rehoboth surrounded by her two sons and husband. She endured a ten-year struggle with Dementia. She was the wife and soulmate of Martin P. Urban. Born in Pawtucket, RI, she was the daughter of the late James T. & Hazel V. Ward.

Nancy had a passion for history, genealogy, travel, and animals. She raised Golden Retrievers, owned and rode horses, and had many cats over a 35-year span. She did much research on the history of her home, family, and the Town of Rehoboth, working with E. Otis Dyer for over 20 years cataloguing the town’s newspaper articles. She traveled to Ireland many times in search of her ancestral roots.

She was the co-owner of Country Reflections, an antique and folk art shop in Rehoboth for 10 years. She was a past member of the Rehoboth Garden Club, The Carpenter Museum, past secretary of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, a member of the local horse club: Horses and Adults, a den mother for Cub Scouts Pack 2, and a member of the National Preservation Trust. She was a licensed travel agent, working with Anchor Travel of Pawtucket, RI. She was a parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Seekonk, MA.

In addition to her husband, she leaves a brother, Barry Ward of Norfolk, MA, a daughter, Colleen Fitz and two grandchildren of Dunbarton, NH, a son Andrew and his wife Dr. Nichole Grenier of Saunderstown, RI, and a son, Michael of Worcester, MA. She also leaves her new family member Bailey II, the cat.

Her Mass of Christian Burial in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church with burial in Stevens Corner Cemetery will be private. Calling hours have been respectfully omitted. As Nancy's final gift, her brain has been donated to Mass General Hospital Dementia Research.  Donations in Nancy’s memory may be made to Mass General Hospital, Dr. Dickerson Lab, Dementia Research, 149 13th St., Suite 2691, Charlestown, MA 02129. (Please memo: Nancy W. Urban in your donation).  Online donations may be made in Nancy's name directed to Dr. Dickerson Lab at www.giving.massgeneral.org/donate

Arrangements have been entrusted to J.H. WILLIAMS & CO. FUNERAL HOME.

Mass of Christian Burial Eulogy Written by Martin Urban 

I met Nancy in May of 1978.  She was a single parent with a young daughter.  She bought her own home and kept her daughter in parochial school while working full time.  She was one of the original woman's libbers, but we didn't know it.  

After a 3 month relationship, when we both knew we had something more; Nancy used to call me her knight in shining armor.  At that time, I was not.  She had achieved on her own without any support, what many females would be afraid to do at that time.  Owning her own home and maintaining a solid life for her young daughter.  

Nancy's life has been cut short being clinically diagnosed 10 years ago with the terrible disease of Frontotemporal Dementia with evidence of it earlier in life.   Nancy had some unfinished business in her life.  Mainly seeing her loved antique home in Rehoboth restored.  I take blame for that.  However, many of Nancy's dreams were fulfilled.  She got her barn and horses as soon as we moved to Rehoboth and raised golden retrievers.  She collected antiques and co-owned an antique and folk art shop for 10 years.  She was a member of horse clubs, the antiquarian society, a den mother for Michael's Cub Scout pack, a member of museums, preservation societies, and a licensed travel agent.  

Nancy loved history and did a lot of genealogy work on the Ward family, traveling to Boston seminars and to Ireland; the birthplace of her ancestors.  Nancy also cataloged the town of Rehoboth's newspaper articles for over 20 years on behalf of a local historian. 

Nancy was the sweetest, kindest, most sincere and unselfish person I have ever known.  She could never have enough friends and would always put other people and her family before herself.  I could remember when Andrew was 15 years old and had a chance to become a lifeguard at a summer camp pool.  He was told about the job in May and only had a short window of time to become a certified lifeguard.  Nancy put her life on hold and did whatever it took to help Andrew get it done by supporting and transporting him wherever he needed to go.  In other words, she put her family and other people before herself.  A lot of people can say they are like that, but Nancy lived it.  She would never look for, or accept anything in return.  

Everything was taken away from Nancy in the last 10 years of her life in a low progression.  This was a terrible disease that made it painful to witness and endure.  We lost her 'one thread at a time' as I have said many times.  The first 7 years of Nancy's disease presented many challenges.  Nancy was sometimes hard to control because of her youth and excellent physical health.  She knew in most cases what she needed or wanted to do but her mind would not allow her to do them in an appropriate way.  I could tell you lots of stories, but I won't.  

​Caring for Nancy at this time would not be possible without the support of many people.  It was with the help of social day programs, adult day programs, and in home aides that allowed me to keep Nancy safe and at home.  During this time, my biggest help came from my sister Pauline.  Every Wednesday she would drive an hour each way to care for, watch, and chase Nancy from 9 to 5.  I know Nancy was difficult, but Pauline never complained or gave up.  Pauline is very much like Nancy-unselfish and never asking for anything in return.  

Nancy and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Again, thank you and we love you.  I will never forget it.

After Nancy's fall, she became a lot more work and presented a different set of challenges.  I did not expect Nancy to live as long as she did.  It was 3 years that Nancy could not talk or do anything for herself.  The care provided to Nancy enabled her the enjoyment of seeing her oldest son Andrew celebrate his wedding.  Something I thought she would never do.  Not only was she part of the wedding party sporting a beautiful dress, she even made it to the dance floor, wheelchair and all.  

I have a lot of people to thank for this chapter in Nancy's life.  The great nurses, doctors, and aides from Hope Hospice.  My present aides: Tiffany and Jill (please stand) who did their job diligently and put up with her husband.   

And last but certainly not least, Almerinda Andrade.  Almerinda faced all of our challenges with us.  She has been with us for 5 years, caring for Nancy before and after her fall.  Almerinda became Nancy's friend and Nancy became her white Ma-Ma.  Her care was from the heart and it was obvious.  She always came for her shift, rain, snow, or injured foot with a boot on it.  I can remember a snow storm when they banned driving and it was her day for her to work and make Nancy's "special soup" which I will leave unnamed.  I told her not to come but she could because of her CNA license and said to me "but what about Nancy's soup?" needless to say, she came form 3 hours to make the soup.  I was always impressed that whenever she walked in the door or I called her, the first thing out of her mouth was "How's Nancy?" (I was second fiddle).  In fact, her husband Nilton who worked for me in the yard would immediately ask "How's Nancy?" they are both fine people from Cape Verde and I am proud to say they are both U.S. citizens.  Although sometimes Almerinda would break things around the house, and blame it on the cat, I knew that every Wednesday I left at 6:30 am, that Nancy would never be b broken and she was getting the safest and the best possible care that anyone could possibly provide.  Almerinda, I thank you.  Nancy and I love you and you will always be special to us.  

Nancy encouraged me to be an organ donor when I first met her.  This, she felt was the ultimate most unselfish gift.  This is why Nancy's brain was donated to Mass General's Harvard Medical Research Center for Frontotemporal Dementia.  It is her final gift.  An irreplaceable gift from a person ho was my lover, the mother of my children and absolutely my best friend.  If I was Nancy's knight in shining armor, it was at the end of her life when she could no longer take care of herself.  

I could not and would not have cared for Nancy the way I did if she did not deserve it for the way she lived her life.  

​I was not the saint; she was.

 

Amen.  

 


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