Nancy Joyce (Sherman) Ronan Robinson
ORONO—Nancy J. Robinson, 85, died March 23, 2023, at a Bangor hospital after a short illness. She was born July 29, 1937, in Plain Township, Ohio, the daughter of Lester Sherman and Ernestine Sipe.
Nancy was raised on a farm in a small town in Ohio. When she was a baby, a fire destroyed her house, killing her mother and one of her sisters. Her father re-married a few years later and she was raised with her other sister, two stepsisters, and a half-brother.
She excelled at school, graduating as valedictorian of her high school class. After high school, she moved to Washington, D. C. to live with her sister Lou and husband Herb. Herb was in the Air Force and knew a nice young man from Maine, Bob Ronan, who he introduced to her and shortly thereafter, she became Nancy Ronan. They soon moved to Bangor, Maine so he could attend Husson College. Within nine years, they had four children and lived in Orono in a house that Nancy would call home for 55 years. Bob Ronan died unexpectedly in 1974 when Nancy was only 36. She was single for several years but one day met Blaine Robinson, a liquor enforcement officer who shared a passion for dancing. Blaine and Nancy married and would remain married for over 30 years; ending only when Blaine passed away in 2019. Shortly thereafter, Nancy moved to Dirigo Pines, which she greatly enjoyed. She made several close friends and enjoyed playing cards, the social events, and being free of the burden of home ownership.
Nancy worked for many years as a medical office bookkeeper. While at home, she enjoyed her gardens and could often be found in her kitchen as she enjoyed cooking and was very good at it. Family cookouts won’t be the same without her potato salad and holidays won’t be the same without her pies, carrots, and gravy. She enjoyed quilting and knitting. All her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren knew the joy of receiving handmade gifts of mittens, hats, potholders, and many other items from her at Christmas time. She was also an avid fan of the Boston Celtics, watching almost every game, no matter how late they played.
Nancy is survived by four children, Bob Ronan and his wife Linda, Lynn Silk and her husband Mark, Diane Harris and her husband Bob, John Ronan and his wife Tracy; eight grandchildren Michael Ronan, Katherine Ronan, David Silk and his wife Jaclyn, Blaine Silk and his wife Shayna, Evan Harris, Bryan Harris, Katelynn Ronan, Taylor Land and her husband Kevin; great grandchildren Lucas, Elena, and Declan; sisters Lou Swanson and Lillian Schroeder, and a brother, Bill Sherman.
She was predeceased by her first husband Robert Ronan, second husband Blaine Robinson, grandson Brandon Silk, and sister Mabel Knight.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10AM Tuesday March 28, 2023 at Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, Holy Family Church, 429 Main St, Old Town. Burial will follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Bangor. The funeral Mass will be live streamed on the church webpage https://resurrectionofthelord.org
Memorial contributions may be made to the Library at Dirigo Pines 9 Alumni Drive Orono, ME 04473
On behalf of Lynn, Diane, and John, I would like to say a few words about our mother. It is nice to see everyone here and nice that, with modern technology, we have relatives and friends joining us remotely. Welcome.
*This is the Eulogy given at her funeral mass by her son Bob Ronan
Nancy Joyce Sherman was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. When she was a baby, a fire destroyed the house she lived in. There were four people in the house in addition to Nancy: her parents and two sisters. Her mother and one of her sisters were killed in the fire while her father received major burns and there was some question as to whether he would survive. Nancy and her other sister both had burns as well. Following the fire, Nancy was sent to live with her aunt and uncle who raised her for two years.
At that time, her father remarried and wanted to reunite his family. That was difficult as Nancy did not know any mother other than her Aunt Vic. Eventually, this was resolved, and Nancy went back to live on a farm with her sister Lou. In addition, her stepmother brought two daughters to the marriage, Mabel, and Lillian, so it was almost a Brady Bunch moment. Over time, a half-brother, Bill, came along and the five of them grew up on the farm. If you have spent any time with our Uncle Bill, you will certainly have heard the story of how he grabbed his BB gun one day and shot Nancy in the behind (although when Bill tells the story he uses a word that rhymes with grass). Bill is quite proud of that accomplishment.
Nancy excelled at school, graduating as valedictorian of her high school class. After high school, she moved to Washington, D. C. to live with her sister Lou and Lou’s husband Herb. Herb was in the Air Force and knew a nice young man from Maine who he introduced to Nancy and shortly thereafter, she became Nancy Ronan.
Within nine years, four children were born, and Nancy and Bob settled at 33 Gilbert Street in Orono, a place Nancy would call home for 55 years.
Things were going very well for Nancy and Bob. Bob was a partner in his own accounting firm and Nancy performed bookkeeping duties at the firm – a role she would later perform at two medical offices. They were raising four children in a nice community; they had a camp on Green Lake. Life was good. But then Bob suddenly died when Nancy was only 36. Imagine how difficult that must have been.
Nancy was single for several years but then one day met Blaine Robinson, a liquor enforcement officer who shared a passion for dancing. Blaine and Nancy married and would remain married for over 30 years; ending only when Blaine passed away in 2019. Blaine and Nancy had a nice chemistry. For example, Nancy tended to overstate the frequency of things so she might say she did something “every day last week”, look to Blaine for confirmation and he would simply say “we did go a couple of times.” He was never bothered by her exaggeration, and she was never bothered by his correction and there is a lesson there about how to have a successful marriage.
After selling 33 Gilbert Street, Nancy moved to Dirigo Pines, which she greatly enjoyed. She made several new friends and enjoyed playing cards, the social events, and being free of the burden of home ownership. Every time it rained, she wondered if there was water in the cellar at 33 Gilbert Street and was glad she didn’t have to deal with it.
She was a bit of an instigator at Dirigo. During the height of the pandemic, the residents were not supposed to have contact with anyone outside of the facility or they risked being quarantined for two weeks. Well Nancy got impatient about receiving her flu vaccine so drove herself to Hannaford to get one. She told one of her friends when she returned and the friend said, “I’d sure like a flu vaccine; do you think you could drive me to Hannaford?.” Then, two other women approached her and said “Nancy, we didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but we heard about the flu vaccine and want in.” So, the four of them made a plan. At separate times, they walked out the front door as if they were going for a walk. They then met in the parking lot, got in Nancy’s car, kept their heads down as she drove past the building, and drove to Hannaford for the vaccine. Just the optics of four octogenarians “skipping school” is priceless.
Nancy had an endearing capacity to mispronounce and confuse names. When corrected, she would laugh and say she had her own language. There are so many examples I could give you but my favorite “momism” occurred one day when we were dropping her off at Dirigo during the pandemic and offered to carry some things to her room. Nancy told us we would have to check with the new “Cossack” at the front desk. In case you didn’t go to school that day, the Cossacks are a Slavic race of people from Ukraine and southern Russia who are known for their military skills; in fact, the Soviet army during the world wars had Cossack divisions that would be utilized for the most ruthless operations. So, we wondered if Dirigo had really kicked up their security! As it turned out, there was a new kiosk at the front desk.
Nancy enjoyed gardening and loved the fact her Dirigo room overlooked her flower bed. She also enjoyed cooking and was very good at it. Family cookouts won’t be the same without her potato salad while holidays won’t be the same without her pies, carrots, and gravy.
Nancy also enjoyed quilting and knitting. All her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren knew the joy of receiving handmade gifts of mittens, hats, potholders, and many other items, from her at Christmas time.
And didn’t she love her Boston Celtics. She watched most games and usually stayed up to the end, even when the games ran late.
Through the years, Nancy liked to unwind at night with a Manhattan, which is a whiskey-based drink. When her respiratory doctor asked her what her secret was to having a long life, she cracked him up by saying it was due to having a Manhattan every night.
Nancy was proud of her children. Despite the fact she never went to college, she made sure all of us did.
Nancy was close to her sisters and brother. In 2016, her sister Mabel was battling cancer so Nancy and I went to visit her. There were many reasons why the timing wasn’t right for a trip, but it was a good thing we went because Mabel passed away just a couple months later. There is a lesson there – no matter what is going on, spend the time with the people you love because you never know when it is going to be the last time. While we were visiting, Mabel said something that resonated with us. She said, in the end, all we really have are the memories we create with one another so make sure you make great memories with the people you care about. I hope you will take a moment today to reflect on the great memories that were created because Nancy was in your life.
Thank you for coming.