In Memory

Nancy Reid (Lawson)

Nancy Reid (Lawson)

Nancy Jane Reid passed away peacefully and comfortably on September 25, 2015 with her close family at her side.

Nancy Jane was born August 8, 1951 in Fort Worth, Texas, and went to college at the University of Texas in Austin where she majored in photojournalism. She was drawn to the desert of Big Bend, Texas where she thrived on hard light and deep canyons. She lived in the ghost town of Terlingua and guided Rio Grande river trips with Far Flung Adventures. At the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute in Alpine, Texas she joined up with her future husband, Pete. Together they traveled in Mexico, camping at the base of 500-foot cliffs studying and photographing Maroon-fronted Parrots and Peregrine Falcons.

Nancy Jane moved with Pete to Pocatello, Idaho where he went to graduate school while she ran rivers and explored outer and inner worlds with her cameras and darkroom. They married in 1982 and their son, Alex, was born in 1986.

In 1987 they moved to Newport, far from the crisp light and desert vistas that she loved. Nevertheless, Nancy Jane jumped right in and became an integral member of our community, touching many lives with her passionate energy. She was deeply involved in local theater as actor (Truvy in Steel Magnolias) and photographer. For 10 years she managed the Visual Arts Center bringing in shows from national artists and teaching Art Mondays/Tuesdays kid’s art classes. Everyone in Newport has seen Nancy Jane’s photos in the News-Times, on posters and publicity brochures, and exhibits in galleries around town. She excelled at “capturing the moment” at the play, the concert, the wedding, or the Oregon Coast Jazz Party. On top of that, she still found time to swim at the pool, sing in the Central Coast Chorale, and donate her time to Altrusa. She seemed to be everywhere and know everyone.

Beneath it all, Nancy Jane was deeply curious and found constant delight in the world’s mysteries, from the grand and philosophical to the small and seemingly mundane. Her “sense of absurdity,” as she called it, allowed her to remain doggedly positive in the face of great adversity. Everyone around her has found inspiration in her strength and perspective, and we will continue to learn from her for a long time to come.

She is survived by her husband Peter Lawson, her son Alex Lawson, her sister Ellen, brothers Brian and Robert, nieces Rebecca and Allison, and nephews Michael and Stephen. 

There will be a Celebration of Life at the Performing Arts Center on Halloween, October 31 from 3:00 to 5:30. Costumes and absurdity are welcome.

Remembrances in her name should go to the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, Visual Arts Center, Youth Art Program. 

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11/12/15 06:20 PM #1    

Kathy Alexander

Rest in peace sweet Nancy.                                           




Kathy Alexander

11/13/15 01:42 PM #2    

Dub Ambrose

Nancy was one of the first friends I made when I transferred (with some of my buddies) to McLean Junior High after we completed St. Andrew's Catholic School.

Nancy and I connected through music, more specifically, folk music, more specifically, Peter, Paul & Mary.  She had a beautiful, silken voice and was strong and, along with her lovely blonde hair, easily reminded me of Mary Travers herself.  We got together just to sing some tunes and found our voices blended pretty well.  And, though there were only two of us, we decided to enter the Talent Show and sing our rendition of PP&M's "Stewball."

Well, Nancy was AWESOME and we were awarded for our number. Though we sang a bit more after that event, we kind of went our own ways musically.  But, I will never forget how gracious and fun she was and her willingness to take a chance to sing in public with me.

God's Blessings on Nancy and on all of her family and friends. 




11/14/15 10:31 AM #3    

Cathy Munson (Ambrose)

Nancy also inspired me in our teen years... at PHS and Camp El Tesoro. I not only admired her talent and intellegence but also her sincerity and love for nature. She was unique and real..something we were all trying to figure out how to do at the time. Our freshman year at UT we were on the same floor at Jester. We were in and out of each others' rooms often and discused many topics. She explained to me what it meant to be a hippie....wanting  Love, Peace, and Harmony for the whole planet!  So I joined right in ..."No war, no makeup, no bra, no pretense, no nonsence!  She was a quite a gal! I imagine heaven with her fully enjoying freedom and intimacy with her creator and his creations!   -Cathy

04/14/19 11:30 PM #4    

Jayne Loader

Nancy Reid was the girl I admired most at Paschal.     At first, I admired her from afar:   her beauty, her style, her intelligence, her grace, her cool dry wit.  Not only was Nancy a golden girl, blessed, but she was dating the coolest, best-looking boy at Paschal:   Noel Ice.  (Be still, my heart.)   

During our senior year, Nancy and I were on PSOP and Leadership Committee and, gradually, we became friends.   It wasn’t a quick, natural friendship, because Nancy and I were so different. It looked to me as if everything came easily for her:   classes, looks, popularity,  boys.  I envied this and resented it a little bit, too (because, for me, everything came hard).   But, as I got to know her,  I realized my first impression of Nancy was wrong and I was underestimating how hard she really worked.

Nancy wasn’t just beautiful—she was smart, principled and brave.   When Nancy spoke in Leadership Committee, people listened--because we all knew that Nancy thought carefully before speaking up and wasn't just saying the first clever  thing that popped into her brain.  She always made sense, so her voice carried a lot of weight.  She knew the difference between right and wrong, never glibly arguing both sides of a question, then checking to see which way the wind was blowing.   She was consistent.

When Nancy said she had read a book, you know that meant she'd read it carefully, from cover to cover, had understood it and thought about it--unlike some of us, who skimmed, then formulated a couple of quirky, interesting thoughts with which to dazzle our teachers.  When Nancy recommended a book, you knew you'd better read it--even if you didn't understand why until years later.   (Aldo Leopold's classic, "A Sand Country Almanac," is one of Nancy's books I still have on my shelf.)   She was an environomentalist years before anybody else, before most people had even heard the word, and cared deeply about ending racism and the Vietnam War. She also had a wicked sense of humor--it was Nancy who had the idea to wear love beads with our PSOP uniforms--and, like our friend Richard Adcock, was addicted to bad puns.

How surprised  everyone was when Nancy made the then-daring move to align herself with our little group of left-wing, anti-war activists and intellectuals and to date a member of our tribe.  After that, Nancy and I got closer.  By the end of our senior year, we were double-dating (Nancy with George McLendon, me with Craig Childs).   

Some of my most memorable high school experiences happened at the Reids’  Eagle Mountain Lake house.   A typical evening would involve passionate political  discussion.  Then Craig and Richard would get out their guitars while Nancy sang with her cool, clear voice.  We watched the Democratic Convention there (when Mayor Daley called Abraham Ribicoff an anti-Semitic epithet, George kicked in the television set).    When Robert Irvin kidnapped Craig (the “Mission Impossible” theme was playing in the background), he dumped Craig on Nancy’s beach. 
After graduation, I was surprised when Nancy chose to go to UT instead of one of the more prestigious colleges she’d gotten into.  (Nancy's SAT scores were higher than mine, a fact she withheld from me, because she didn't want to hurt my feelings;  but I got it out of her eventually.)   I went to Reed College in Portland, Oregon.   For the next two years, we wrote letters, but didn’t spend much time together until the summer of 1971, when I moved to Austin.  Nancy very sweetly and generously invited me to share her apartment.  Coming from cool, rainy Oregon, I had no Texas clothes, so whenever I had something important to dress for—a job interview, a date—Nancy would open up her closet and invite me to take whatever I wanted.  With her impossibly long, tanned legs, and her tall, slim model figure, Nancy looked great in everything:   from a Neiman Marcus dress her mother had picked out to a white t-shirt, khaki shorts and hiking boots.  Unfortunately, the clothes that looked amazing on Nancy looked less so on me.    I remember one day going to an art fair.   We saw some Indian print halter dresses we liked.   Nancy bought one for herself--and one in a different print for me.  We went back to the apartment to try on the dresses.  Nancy looked like she'd stepped off the cover of Vogue;  but when I twirled around in my new dress, I literally fell out of it. (This was before we learned about double-sided tape!)  
I was the luckiest girl in the world to have Nancy in my life, not just to clothe, feed, and house me (and slip me wads of much-needed cash).  She did her best to educate me, too.

04/15/19 05:44 PM #5    

Nancy Ennen (Schaefers)

Nancy Reid was a good friend of mine beginning at South Hills Elementary where I was in her Mother’s Campfire Girls group.  She was Nancy Jane & I was Nancy Gene!  I admired her beautiful white blonde hair and hope my hair might turn that color, but I had strawberry blonde hair and freckled skin that only turned red in the sun and as you all know Nancy had skin that tanned without any trouble.  Nancy loved camping at El Tesoro and I thought camping was at the Holiday Inn! 

When I was on the 45th Reunion Committee, Nancy was someone who had been “missing” and I remembered seeing an article about Nancy & her river rafting business.  I didn’t find her but I believe Ron did, but I think it was after she passed away.  I miss many of my old classmates from South Hills, Wedgwood (first semester of 7th grade), McLean, and Paschal until the summer before our senior year.  I know this is supposed to be for remembering Nancy, I want everyone to know that some of us want to see as many people we went to school with no matter how short or long the time was.  God bless Nancy.

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