Nancy Jo Kruse passed away at the age of 84 on October 9, 2020 in the exceptional care of Serenity Care in Wood
Nancy was born June 2, 1936 in Portland, Oregon to John J. and Lillian Pfeiffer Sauers. One Sunday afternoon on a
drive with two-year-old Jean Ann and baby Nancy they came upon Zion Lutheran Church in Oregon City. Though the
services were over for the day they had Nancy baptized on the spot. This started Nancy's life of living and loving her faith
in Jesus Christ. It wasn’t until they were 9 and 11, that Nancy and her chief partner in exploration and giggle fits, Jean
Ann, began attending every Sunday. They rode buses and streetcars, condemned city elevators, and trekked through
snow and ice to hear the old, old story and sing their favorite hymns in what they would both call their “home." It was their
faith that eventually encouraged their parents to attend more regularly. Nancy spent most of her youth in Milwaukie
Oregon - graduating from Milwaukie High School. She met her husband Donald R. Kruse while he served Zion Lutheran
on his internship. They married on September 3, 1954.
Nancy was Don’s perfect woman, with a good sense of humor, the ability to bake anything, the determination to make the
best of any situation, and the patience of a saint. Together they embarked on a life of faithful service in the church. They
spent years in Seattle as Don served as a chaplain in the Navy and a Lutheran church. The couple made lifelong friends
everywhere they went with their combination of silliness, unabashed adoration of the good things in life and one
another. They traded their umbrellas and beloved city for parkas and mittens, heading to serve at Hope Lutheran Church
in Anchorage, AK. After 8 years they took one last exciting call to start St. Paul’s in Damascus, OR. Nancy served the
church throughout her life in every conceivable capacity from secretary to gardener, teacher to hostess. They retired and
stayed in the area to be near several of their children.
Nancy and Don spent their retirement traveling, eating, and watching their family grow. They rejoined Zion Lutheran
Church in Oregon City shortly after retirement -bringing their faith-life and marriage full circle.
Nancy absolutely loved babies and children. She rejoiced at the lives of every one of her kids: Donn, Dan, Kathy, Kristie,
Marty, and Mike. She had a special place in her heart for her niece Jody and her nephew Jon. She adored her 23
grandkids and 8 great grandkids. Nancy’s belief in God’s grace for her filled her with such joy and gratitude that it
overflowed into the world. Whether you were her kid or not, you were welcome at her table, received a handmade Santa
with personalized details, and a share of the baked goods.
Nancy loved traveling. She and Don traveled the country by train, visited their favorite cities of Seattle, San Francisco and
Chicago, took many of their grandkids on adventures to Washington DC and New York City, and traveled to Europe. The
couple always made time to get to the Oregon coast and enjoy the beauty of nature. Nancy loved Disneyland and
embraced the magic of all stories ending in happily ever after. Nancy, with Don by her side, saw the possibility in every
new experience. They planned and meticulously kept their life but were always open to the people and places that they
Nancy learned to create, sew, and decorate from her mother. Every season, every holiday, every family event was
represented in her home decor and she took great joy in its transition. Christmas was a special season of family
gatherings, their famous cookie open houses, and pure pine-scented, german-ornament sparkling enchantment. They
shared their love of Christmas with their annual trip to the Old Spaghetti Factory and the Singing Christmas Tree.
Nancy leaves behind a cloud of witnesses who have seen God’s unconditional grace in her life. She is survived by her
husband of 66 years, Donald and their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and niece and nephew. She is also
survived by her sister Jean Ann and her children.
Nancy’s ashes will be placed at Willamette National Cemetery where a small gathering of her loved ones will celebrate
her eternal light. Paster Jon Beake will be presiding. All funeral arrangements were made possible by Holman-Hankins-
Bowker & Waud located in Oregon City, Or.
In lieu of flowers, Nancy would prefer you give to your favorite food bank - where so many are in need, or to the memorial
fund at Zion Lutheran Church 720 Jefferson St. Oregon City, Oregon.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nancy Jo Kruse, please visit our floral store.