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On September 20, 2022, surrounded by her family and care givers, Nancy Lee Saunders, 82, was welcomed home into the arms of Jesus her Savior. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His assurance of heaven to all who accept Him as Lord, we know Nancy is more alive than she has ever been, walking and talking with Jesus!
Nancy was born in Rockford, Illinois on July 6, 1940 to Charles and Evelyn Gustafson. Her sister Peggy joined the family two years later and they became inseparable. They remained best friends until the very end! It was through Peggy that Nancy met the love of her life, James (Jim) Saunders. They were married September 11, 1976 in Glendale, CA. Jim was one of the best things that ever happened to Nancy, stepping into her life and the life of her four children. Nancy loved to serve James as a homemaker and took pride in making their house a home. They spent 46 loving years together. From moving around California, then to Idaho in the early 2000s, then moving into assisted living together and then eventually to memory care, James and Nancy were never apart. It’s a love that some people dream about. Growing old together. Feeling loved and cherished, in sickness and in health, to the very end. Holding hands, stealing kisses, and sitting together, even with no words exchanged. With no expectations. This is their love story. They lived their vows and loved each other deeply.
Nancy loved the Lord and surrendered her life to Him in September of 1984! She was forever changed, the old had gone and the new had come. 1 Peter 4: 8-10 says this: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. This is a passage that Nancy lived out in her daily life. She loved people unconditionally, with no strings attached. She never met a stranger; her smile was contagious and heartwarming. She was kind and offered grace to everyone, even if others thought you didn’t deserve it. She was forgiving and held no judgement or grudges. She represented Christ’s love in all that she did and to everyone she met. Hospitality was a gift Nancy had been given. She LOVED to fill her home with family and friends. Hosting holidays was her favorite. Having her entire family under one roof brought her so much joy. But above hosting, the thing she loved more than anything, was spending time with her grandkids and her great grandkids.
Grandma Nancy was the epitome of a loving and doting grandma. She loved to spoil her grandkids in whatever ways she could; a birthday card with money, attending sporting events, a phone call to say hi and she’s thinking about them, a special cupboard at her house with all their favorite treats, or letting them crawl into her bed in the early morning hours after grandpa left for work. Whatever it was and however it looked, there was no doubt in any of their minds that they were loved by her! She was kind and gentle. Always loving and affectionate with them. She thought so highly of each of her grandkids and was so proud of all their accomplishments, their marriages, and their families. She found so much joy in her grandkids and their lives.
Grandma, you loved each of us unconditionally. Thank you for setting the perfect example for us to follow. You were the very best. You will be forever missed on this side of heaven! You were loved more than you ever knew.
Nancy is survived by her loving husband, James Saunders of Nampa, Idaho; her children Garry (and Evelyn) Swanson of Tehachapi, California; Tia Crank of Merced, California; Mark Swanson of Riverside, California; and Dianne (and Calvin) Owens of Melba, Idaho; her mother, Evelyn Gustafson of Nampa, Idaho; her sister, Peggy Rowell of Nampa, Idaho; her grandson Derek (and Sarah) Wilson, her grandson Jimmi (and Danielle) Swanson, her grandson Jason (and Amy) Wilson, her granddaughter Jennifer (and Noah) Vasquez, her granddaughter Sarah (and Cody) Ziemer, her grandson Bradley Swanson, her granddaughter Rachel (and Ryan) Ross, her grandson Zachariah (and Samantha) Owens, her grandson Cody Swanson, and her grandson Christian Crank. She is also survived by 20 great grandchildren that she loved and adored.
Nancy is preceded in death by her father, Charles Gustafson; her brother-in-law Wynn Rowell; and her son-in-law Roy Darwin (Dar) Crank.
We want to give a special thanks to Park Place Assisted Living in Nampa, Idaho for caring for and loving Nancy the last three years of her life. We appreciate all that you did on her behalf, we love you! We also want to give a special thanks to Journeys Hospice and her nurse Robin. Thank you for loving and serving Nancy in all the special ways that you did, we love and appreciate you!