In Memoriam: Nancy Lesley FLORER 1914 ~ 2007

Nancy, daughter of Grace Ogden, was born in Point Grey, B.C. She enjoyed her work as a bookkeeper at the GMAC Finance Company. Eventually, she managed an office where she rented office space to, and was bookkeeper for, several small businesses.

In early years as a wife and mother of three, she volunteered for many church activities. Later, needlepoint, tennis, golf and boating took much of her time. Nancy’s accomplishments include being a gracious host, a Life Master Bridge Player, a proud member of the Women’s University Club and the Seattle Tennis Club.

She will be remembered for her sense of style, wit, spunk, great cooking, and enjoyment of time spent with friends and family.

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Remembering Nancy and Bob Florer

When I first met Dr. and Mrs. Florer in 1965, they were the parents of my new school friend, Jan. Mrs. Florer would pick up Jan, Lesley and me after school on a Friday night and the fun would begin with an appetizer at Dick's Hamburgers on Broadway. Over the following decades, Dr. and Mrs. Florer became Bob and Nancy. They were, have been and continue to be a blessing in my life, for their many kindnesses, delicious meals, sense of humor and the ways they lived their lives all the way through.

My childhood was brightened and deeply enriched thanks to the entire Florer Family; I enjoyed trips with the Florers that I love thinking about decades later; Lake Chelan and Dr. Florer's blue motorboat a happy memory. Mrs. Florer was an amazing cook and every meal always felt festive and fancy.

It is now 47 years after first meeting the Florers; so there is a g much valued history of good times that I can look back on when I think of Bob and Nancy. When I moved to Massachusetts in 1988, a small miracle happened - for the friendship between Mrs. Florer and me became a true letter friendship and Mrs. Florer became Nancy. This friendship lasted until her death in 2007. Jan, the oldest and most cherished of my friends, was so gracious about this friendship that first blossomed between Nancy and me and, when Nancy died, continued with emails between Bob and me. The two of them are bright stars in my life and I am a better person for knowing them.

Nancy's letters and Bob's emails (always short - as Bob would often write, "Just wrote a long letter and it disappeared before I could send it. You are lucky.") were filled with news about the rodies, the begonias, the maj Jongg lessons, times spent in Palm Desert, vacations to Maui, Mexico and Panama. Both Bob and Nancy had such a fun sense of humor, with Nancy writing, "We munch your cookies with silent enjoyment." When writing about Jan's new car, "Enter the first Mazda into our famile circle ... we all shared our grief over the demise of Grey Baby (the Malibu that Mrs. Florer had owned prior to Jan)..."

I so admire all the love and support that Jan, Lesley and Bill gave Nancy and Bob, so that they could live in their Sunset Ave. home all the way through. The best part of the letters and emails and phone calls were always about Bill, Jan, Lesley - and, at the end, their greatest treasure, Avery. As Nancy would write, "Avery is such a sheer joy to us. ... She is of course perfect and accepts the adoration of her parents and grandparents as her just due." Nancy and Bob loved the way Bill was a parent, "Bill is so involved with Avery and with taking her to so many places ... I am glad that a game of golf offers a complete change of pace which he really does need at times..." Nancy would write that, "Lesley is going great places with her massaging profession. I'm so pleased that all is working out for her." Another time she'd share how please she was to spend time with Lesley, "She and I have lunch occasionally and I do so look forward to each lunch."

Many letters would include a sentence or two about Bill calling up for cooking discussions - "Just had a call from Bill, he needed to know how to cook a flank steak." Just an aside, once you had Nancy's flank steak, you knew you HAD to get the recipe. However, even though Nancy wrote out the recipe for me and I've made it a few times, it will never be as delicious as her flank steak and gravy! Both Bob and Nancy loved the visits from "the Phoenix group" - Bill, Lynn and Avery - "It was SO much fun having them!!!" (Yes, all those exclamations.) "Our little house runneth over, but it is such fun."

An amazing needlepointer, Nancy was modest about her accomplishments and so excited about Jan's cross stitched works, her cradle for Avery, "I was and still am, absolutely amazed." "Jan came over on Saturday and brought dinner, she is so dear to us." "We had a lovely Thanksgiving - both girls came and brought their pies!" "Jan is so busy and then she comes up with surprises, such as her cross stitch projects. They are so lovely have a true professional look."

Bob and Nancy were unflinching and honest and still funny about growing old. That may be one of the most powerful lessons I think on now. When Nancy wrote about hearing aids, she said, "We both have headsets for the T.V. The kind you can get in the theatres. We ARE a pair!." "I just finished a Wallbanger cake, not really so great, but Bob really enjoyed it. Thank goodness he finished it off joyfully." "Bob is calling me to join him in our preprandial happy hour - he reads the paper, I read my Smithsonian and we occasionally peer at the boob tube. So I'd best go, the calories are calling."

When Nancy died, Bob would email how hard "the loss of my dear Nancy" was for him and then say, "The help of Lesley and Jan and Bill means a lot to me." At one point, when Bob had had to most of the cooking, he then wrote the happy news thatn, "Nancy has now prepared dinner several times. Sure an improvement over my culinary failures."

I wish I could do a better job at describing the kindness and humor and warmth and human-ness of Bob and Nancy. They have been and will continue to be an important part of my life. Moving away meant that I could become a different sort of friend with both Nancy and Bob. Nancy's letters are amazing. To paraphrase E. B. White, It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Nancy was both.

Marianne Snow