Life Story / Obituary
NANCY GARGOL ROSS July 12, 1953 - March 23, 2020 Nancy Ross, passed away in her apartment on March 26. Nancy’s life journey was filled with tragedy, triumph, heartbreak, adventure, and passion. During her journey she had to fight her mental health issues as well as the painful, medical disabilities which plagued the last years of her life. Once very active, hiking the beautiful parks of this country while savoring their beauty and wildlife, she was reduced to living an indoor reclusive life away from all that she loved. During the good years she spent her time volunteering within the Traverse City community. Her love of animals led her to AC PAWS to find homes for the abused, unwanted, and abandoned. There wasn’t a goat, horse, bird, guinea pig, cat or dog that could escape her love. She saw the beauty and wonder within all of God’s creatures. She also volunteered at the Governmental Center where she helped those in need of assistance or information. She enjoyed interacting and helping the members of her community. Her love of nature and the outdoors led her to volunteering at the Conservancy, a non-profit organization which advocates for acquiring and preserving the beautiful parks and lands of Michigan for future generations. Her love of country and the dream of an equitable and just future for all Americans led to volunteering during the 2016 election. Nancy was a result of the best and the worst of the Community Health System. There she found the foundation she needed to rebuild her life. The staff provided her with medical treatment, direction and friendship. They made a promise that if she could prove she could lead a responsible and productive life on her own, they would release her after five years from their constraints. When she had completed their requirements, she was not released until two years later when she stood alone under the threat of being jailed before a judge to plead her case. She finally regained her independence. Nancy did not always chose the conventional paths in life. These choices led to some wonderful experiences and others which negatively impacted her life. At times, she seemed incapable of comprehending how her choices could lead in the future to a bad outcome. She had a stubborn nature that allowed her to survive difficult times but also placed her in harm’s way. I remember when she was about 4 years old, she was determined to take several pennies to bed with her. In the morning, I noticed the pennies were missing so I asked her where they were. She had swallowed them. Several years ago I asked her why she had swallowed the pennies and she replied, “That she wanted to.” Our poor mother had to check the toilet bowl until all were found. In another instance during her high school years, she started skipping school. This resulted in my father driving her to school and dropping her off at the front door. One day as my father was dropping her off he said, “Don’t go out the back door.” She had a good laugh at the time. Her elementary Catholic school education and teachings were embedded in who she became. In the many beautiful churches and holy places she visited throughout the country, I believe she found solace from a world in which she did not always feel comfortable. I remember her First Holy Communion picture where she was in her white dress with her golden curls and angelic face. That spiritual, trusting child was present when she entered a church or a place she loved. Nancy was a survivor. She endured some horrific experiences which would make a best seller. I was amazed that she could go through frightening, unsafe, dangerous situations and somehow come out with a sense of humor. Nancy had first hand experiences with both the private and state institutional aspects of the mental health system. If given the opportunity, she would have become a voice for the mentally ill who are incarcerated in our institutions, and jails. She also would have expressed that patients like herself did not respond to the rigid traditional mental health practices found in the state and county systems. Alternative treatments were needed. Nancy was a Phoenix who throughout her life rose out of the dark places to shine brightly. Unfortunately, this time her body gave way before she could rise again. I pray that she is in a place of love with our family where she is climbing mountains, hiking trails without pain or anguish, and surrounded by the animals she so passionately loved. She is finally free to soar amongst the heavens. Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to share your thoughts and more.