1926 - 2022
Nancy Lillian Parker (nee Brown)
January 13, 1926 – June 7, 2022
NANCY LILLIAN PARKER After a long, fun, meaningful and adventurous life, Nancy Parker passed away on June 7, 2022 at the Ottawa General Hospital, age 96. Nancy is survived by her three children, Judith, Nicholas and Nigel (Rhona); her grandchildren Justin (Alana), Sanjay, Tegan and Yasmin; and her great-grandchild, Jonah. Nancy was born in Shimla, India on January 13, 1926, although her spiritual home was Gloucestershire, England, where she spent much of her childhood and where her late and beloved brother Gerald Brown farmed on the bucolic Cotswold Escarpment for much of her life, joined in his retirement years by her other late brother, Geoffrey. Nancy attended Cheltenham School for Girls before studying Nursing and Physiotherapy at King’s College in London during and after World War II. She lost her oldest, and third, brother during the War. Married to Gerald Rhode Parker, Nancy moved to Cyprus in 1964, where she met Canadians serving in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.
In 1970, by now a single-parent, Nancy sailed up the St. Lawrence River to begin a new life in Canada. Initially settling in Brampton, Ontario, Nancy soon moved to Ottawa where she established a home. Shortly thereafter her three children joined her from boarding schools in England. It was a massive adjustment for all concerned yet Nancy learned to be a breadwinner, embracing her adopted country and all it offered, such as cross-country skiing and cottage vacations. Nancy had friends and admirers of all backgrounds, orientations, and ages, taking time to travel the world with those dearest to her
Working as a physiotherapist, first at the Montfort Hospital, where she was head of department, and then the Ottawa General, Nancy was surprised to see that physiotherapy had not evolved much since she was a student. This precipitated an exploration of new modes of healing, leading Nancy to discover the Feldenkrais Method™. Like a duck to water, Nancy immersed herself in studies under Moshe Feldenkrais, for over four years keeping a steady job while attending intense, in-person training. Her application of the Feldenkrais Method™ at the Ottawa General was so successful the administration agreed to open the first publicly-financed Feldenkrais clinic in the world. Upon her retirement, Nancy went into private practice, exploring and applying the Feldenkrais Method™ in ever deeper ways, helping to heal countless individuals, many with seemingly intractable mobility issues. She saw clients until her 90s, working from her lovely home in Ottawa’s New Edinburgh community.
Although her pioneering work with the Feldenkrais Method™ in Canada came to define Nancy, she had many other interests and talents, particularly as an actor - in the 1980s, Nancy was on stage in three plays at the renowned Ottawa Little Theatre. She loved gardening, enjoyed music and art, took an interest in sports, adored long walks in nature and always had a stack of books on the go. Nancy self-identified as a Christian yet explored Buddhism and other spiritual traditions with great curiosity.
Nancy lived a full and inspiring life. Her sense of humor, highly intuitive intelligence, love of others and deep well of energy kept her going. She famously told several of her grandchildren the most important thing she'd learned was that "there's always another way" and never to give up. A Celebration of Nancy's Life will be held at a future time, anticipated to be in Ottawa in the Fall.
Donations to the Nancy Parker/Feldenkrais Fund (scholarship), hosted at the University of Ottawa, would be appreciated. alumni.uottawa.ca/en/Nancy-Parker/Feldenkrais
Description of the scholarship fund: https://uottawa.syntosolution.com/api/downloadDocumentation/8236
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