Cover photo for Nancy (Kirsch) Chandler's Obituary
Nancy (Kirsch) Chandler Profile Photo
1936 Nancy 2020

Nancy (Kirsch) Chandler

March 4, 1936 — November 19, 2020

You are invited to remember Nan Chandler with us on a 1-hour Zoom meeting this Sunday, December 13, 2020, 4:00 PM-5:00 PM (UTC-07:00) Mountain Time (US & Canada) at Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link, no password required. Meeting ID: 915 1744 8808.

Nancy (Kirsch) Chandler, born in Decatur, Indiana, March 4, 1936, died from Alzheimer’s and Covid on November 19, 2020 in Bozeman, Montana. The last 13 years of her life were a long sometimes painful goodbye. Thank you to her caregivers at Spring Creek Inn for the love and attention she received once she could not find her way home from wandering the trails she loved in every season.

Nan was the youngest of three children (sister Carol McCrory and brother Don Kirsch both deceased) born to Helen and Leo Kirsch. Nan was an adventurous soul and left Indiana at age 21 after finishing her nursing degree at Ball State in Muncie. The story we heard was that she was engaged to marry Chuck whose family had a furniture store in Decatur, and they even put the announcement in the local paper. Unfortunately for Chuck, Nan had grown up sure she was meant to go west, and ski and she wanted to do it before getting hitched. Her brother Don was in Bend, Oregon so off she went, took some ski lessons from a ranch kid from eastern Oregon named Dan Chandler, and well, sorry Charlie.

She moved to Corvallis, Oregon where Nola and Doug were both born before the family moved to Bozeman in 1960. Nyla was born soon after, and Nedra in 1965. Nan and Dan divorced in 1966 yet co-existed within a mile or so of one another for the duration of both their lives in Bozeman. In 1972 Nan married Salah Sayed-Ahmed and divorced in 1974. Dan married Mary Ken Wellcome in 1974 with whom he shared the rest of his life ending in 2006.

Nancy went to graduate school, raised kids, and worked full time loving her work as Gallatin County public health nurse, the director of the MSU nurses services center, and ending her career as a tenured nursing professor through her retirement in 1998. Nan was known for her presence and capacity to listen, both rare qualities that were so natural to her. Even after moving to Spring Creek for memory care we suspect she thought she worked there as she continued to care for those around her.

She cherished her students at the MSU School of Nursing and so many loved her back. She was known as a great teacher of clinical skills, and nursing process. She was kind, liked to laugh, was unassuming, and always seeking more and more learning. For just one example among too many to list, she completed nursing graduate programs in Rochester, NY and Indianapolis and became a family nurse practitioner.

After retiring from MSU she began a quest that included massage school in San Diego, coming home with gadgets like a chi machine and a horse massager that she delighted in showing her grandchildren. She also pursued years of Dharma study in Bozeman and a few silent retreats. As part of this study she often sent her kids CDs of Eckhart Tolle with names like, “Get Friendly with What Is” and” Even the Sun will Die.” She did get friendly with what is and like the sun and every living thing she eventually died. She was an unusual mom, a ‘fellow traveler’ to her kids yet consistent and true, and we have to believe Mom chose to die after losing her “job” of caring for others due to the isolation of Alzheimer’s and Covid.

Nancy is survived by her children: Nola Chandler (Dave Landstrom) of Kalispell; Doug Chandler (Sonja) of Bozeman; Nyla Chandler (Steve Bracken) of Bozeman; and Nedra Chandler of Salt Lake City. Six adult grandkids Alex, Claire, Elaine and Skyler Chandler, and Oscar and Willa Fossum. She is also survived by treasured nieces, nephews, friends and sisters-in-law Dorothy Kirsch, Patsy Chandler, and Joan Fowler.

She also loved her three generations of sheltie dogs, Turner, then Duchess and Keira who were her faithful walking companions on the many trails from “Main Street to the Mountains”. Donations in her name can be made to the Gallatin Valley Land Trust in Bozeman.

Nan loved a good hike, reading books and listening to music. She spent a lot of time gardening and doing all kinds of work in her big yard on Harrison Street. She was close with her neighbors (first the Peppers and then the Paynich family next door were special favorites). Her mom Helen helped her buy the Harrison house with 11 bedrooms that had been built in the 1930’s as a rooming house with a big catering kitchen in it. She rented rooms in her basement to students and her kitchen was the scene of many celebrations and good times. Many of her students/tenants became lifelong friends.

She played piano and passed that love of piano on to her daughter Nyla. She was somewhat introverted while she was so genuinely gracious, kind, and inclusive. Everyone was welcome at Nan’s big, long kitchen table with benches built by Bill Clinton.

Family and friends are invited to a celebration of Nan’s life to be announced in the next few weeks. Look for the Zoom link and opportunity to share your favorite memory of Nancy available at We will begin with some favorite music and slide show and then invite people into breakout rooms to chat and move around to share memories and close with a good-bye or memory from family and friends. Nancy Chandler you were a bright light in this world. We love you and delight in the vision of you flying free from your worn-out body and brain. We carry on with your influence and love.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nancy (Kirsch) Chandler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, December 13, 2020

4:00 - 5:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Remember Nan Chandler

, Bozeman, MT


Click to watch

You are invited to remember Nan Chandler with us on a 1-hour Zoom meeting this Sunday, December 13, 2020, 4:00 PM-5:00 PM (UTC-07:00) Mountain Time (US & Canada) at Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the live link in the obituary or pasting the URL above into your browser, no password required. Meeting ID: 915 1744 8808.

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