Nancy Karla Zeller passed away in Tacoma, Washington, at age 74 on Monday, December 19,
2022, from complications following lung cancer surgery.
Born in Enumclaw, Washington, Nancy was the daughter of Nels Clarence (“Swede”) and Rose
Marie Nelson. She and her sister, Barbara, grew up in the Enumclaw area. In adulthood, Nancy
lived much of her life in the area around Federal Way, Washington. She worked as a
cosmetologist in her early years, and sometimes as a courier. In mid-life, she received an
Associate’s Degree intending to work as a physical therapy assistant, but switched gears to
education. For much of her mid-life and up until retirement she worked as a para-educator at
Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way.
Nancy loved people and socializing. When she was younger, she was an active member of the
Masonic organization Eastern Star and participated in bowling leagues. Later she joined a
gardening club and tried out belly-dancing for fun. If there were people to chat with and fun to be
had, Nancy wanted to be there.
Nancy also loved baking, cooking (especially trying international recipes), gardening, sewing,
Seahawks football, soap operas, talk shows, cats, and just hanging out to talk. She passed her
love of reading on to her children; in particular, she liked fantasy novels. She shared many
traditions from her father’s Swedish background with her children and was famous in the family
for her thinbread, pepparkakor, and krumkakor. She shared produce from her bountiful garden
with her friends and loved a good summer barbecue. She was a huge Elvis Presley fan, but
loved a wide range of music. She was treasured by her friends for her generosity of spirit as well
as her willingness to confront difficulty head-on and look it in the eye.
Nancy raised four children who loved her deeply and will miss her immensely.
She is survived by her husband, Curtis Zeller, of Milton; her daughters Marti Smith (née Zenor)
of Depoe Bay, Oregon; Kattarina Simons (née Horn) of Olympia, Washington; Mary Field (née
Greer) of Bellingham, Washington; son Daniel Greer of Federal Way; grandchildren Ashley,
Juliana, Sofia, Josef, and Ariana; niece Pamela Benton (née Yerxa) of Gig Harbor; cousin
Marilyn Corrigan (née Nelson) of Belfair; and cousin Per-Olof Wedin of Sweden. They and her
many friends miss her already.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, you consider donating to the literacy non-profit Reading Is
Fundamental in the link below or your local library, in recognition of Nancy’s love of reading and her
work in education. Memorial services will be held sometime in 2023.