Parker, Nancy

PARKER, Nancy

1926 - 2022

Nancy Lillian Parker (née 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 at the age of 96. Nancy is survived by her three children, Judith, Nicholas and Nigel (Rhona); his grandchildren Justin (Alana), Sanjay, Tegan and Yasmin; and his 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 his other late brother, Geoffrey. Nancy attended the Cheltenham School for Girls before studying nursing and physiotherapy at King's College London during and after the Second World War. She lost her older brother, and third, 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, Nancy, now a single mother, travelled up the St. Lawrence River to start a new life in Canada. She first settled in Brampton, Ontario, then soon moved to Ottawa where she founded a home. Soon after, her three children joined her, coming from boarding schools in England. This is a massive adaptation for everyone involved, but Nancy is learning to be a breadwinner, to embrace her adopted country and everything it offers, like cross-country skiing and cottage vacations. Nancy had friends and admirers from all walks of life, orientations and ages, taking the time to travel the world with those who were most dear to her.

Working as a physiotherapist, first at Hôpital Montfort, where she was head of department, and then at the Ottawa General Hospital, Nancy was surprised to find that physiotherapy had not evolved much since she was a student. This precipitated the exploration of new modes of healing, which led Nancy to discover the Feldenkrais™ method. Like a duck in the water, Nancy immersed herself in Moshe Feldenkrais' studies, for more than four years keeping a stable job while undergoing intense in-person training. His application of the Feldenkrais Method™ to the Ottawa General was so successful that the administration agreed to open the world's first publicly funded Feldenkrais clinic. Upon her retirement, Nancy entered private practice, exploring and applying the Feldenkrais Method™ ever more thoroughly, helping to heal countless people, many of whom had seemingly intractable mobility problems. She saw clients until she was 90, working from her pretty home in Ottawa's New Edinburgh neighbourhood.

Although her pioneering work of the Feldenkrais Method™ in Canada eventually defined Nancy, she had many other interests and talents, most notably as an actress – in the 1980s, Nancy was on stage in three plays by the famous Ottawa Little Theatre. She loved gardening, enjoyed music and art, was interested in sports, loved long walks in nature, and always had a stack of books on the go. Nancy identified as Christian, but explored Buddhism and other spiritual traditions with great curiosity.

Nancy has lived a full and inspiring life. Her sense of humor, very intuitive intelligence, love of others and deep energy kept her alive. She was famous for telling several of her grandchildren that the most important thing she had learned was that "there is always another way" and never give up. A celebration of Nancy's life will be held at a later date, probably 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 

 


16 messages reçus

All the Parker family and the Brown families

Nancy had the most amazing spirit and fabulous sense of style and humour. We were privileged to have had the chance to spend some time with her mostly in the UK and admired her chutzpah, her gift of healing and her love of family. We send you all our deep sympathy at your loss; we share the feeling of disorientation that comes with losing a mother, a matriarch, a trend setter, an innovator and all the other aspects of Nancy's life and character which made her so unique. Her spirit lives on in all of you and we hope that brings comfort in the coming days as you navigate the gap Nancy leaves in the world, and in your worlds. With love Doug and Trish xx
London, UK.

Douglas Board and Tricia Sibbons, le 9 juin 2022

All the Parker family and the Brown families

Nancy had the most amazing spirit and fabulous sense of style and humour. We were privileged to have had the chance to spend some time with her mostly in the UK and admired her chutzpah, her gift of healing and her love of family. We send you all our deep sympathy at your loss; we share the feeling of disorientation that comes with losing a mother, a matriarch, a trend setter, an innovator and all the other aspects of Nancy's life and character which made her so unique. Her spirit lives on in all of you and we hope that brings comfort in the coming days as you navigate the gap Nancy leaves in the world, and in your worlds. With love Doug and Trish xx
London, UK.

Douglas Board and Tricia Sibbons, le 9 juin 2022

Family of Nancy Parker

Nancy was one of the most wonderful people I have ever known. Her compassion and kindness, as well as her extraordinary dedication to her profession, her loyalty to her friends, and her desire to share what she learned, are outstanding characteristics rarely combined in one person. Have I forgotten to mention her sense of humour?

She was an excellent physiotherapist, superb Feldenkrais practitioner and sterling friend. Her interest in the arts and in the world around her was expansive and eclectic. As a human being, she was warm-hearted and extremely generous. I miss her greatly and think of her often. She was and is unmatched. The world is poorer without her.

My sincerest condolences on her passing. I am convinced that her joyful spirit remains with us. It has certainly inspired me and everyone she ever encountered in this life. My heart goes out to you all.

Esther Cleman, le 10 juin 2022

Judith, Nigel, and Nicholas Parker

You have my deepest sympathy on the death of dear Nancy, your mother. What a blessing her friendship was to me over the many years I knew her. A remarkable, complex, intelligent woman of depth and grace. A healer of body, mind, and spirit with a great sense of fun and laughter, Nancy was a central figure in a group of eight or so women that got together reguarly for several years to tell their stories, celebrate one another, feast together, talk about anything and everything, and, sometimes, just be daft together. What sustaining memories I have of those times we all shared. I celebrate how she lived her abundant, multi-faceted life and rejoice in having known her.
You three were ever in her caring thoughts and feelings, as were her beloved grand children.
Every good wish to you, Jenny Waterman

Jenny Waterman, le 10 juin 2022

Judith, Nigel, and Nicholas Parker

Nancy was a true "Mensch" and we, her neighbors, will dearly miss her. I will never forget the day when Nancy (already 90+ years old) invited my mother Xenia (a young 87 year old) to have a Feldenkrais session with her. My mother stated it worked like a charm - and I am still not sure if it was the treatment itself or the fact that my mom was so impressed that somebody Nancy's age would still be working.
Our sincerest condolences.
Frida, Nelly, Sarah, Xenia, Helmut and Daniela

Daniela, le 14 juin 2022

Nigel, Nicholas & Judith

My heart goes out to you all on the loss of your wonderful mother Nancy. My dear, dear friend is gone. I am remembering with love the many laughs and good times we shared. The travels and adventures-some daring, some not. I will miss you dear friend, you were one of a kind.
With much love, Marion Harris

Marion Harris, le 14 juin 2022

Judith, Nick and Nigel and families

Sending you all my deepest sympathy. We've lost a great woman and a gifted healer. A devoted and true friend to my mother Sally to the very end, and so to the rest of the Morrows. I'm remembering the laughs and songs they shared for decades... you always knew it was Nancy on the phone because my mother would be smiling and laughing the minute she picked up. She healed my mother and helped put her on a new path, with her care and love, and with Feldenkrais. I will always carry her influence in my bones... I love you Nancy. Rest in Peace.
Teresa Morrow

Teresa Morrow, le 15 juin 2022

Nancy’s Family

It is with sadness we heard of Nancy’s passing . We truly enjoyed knowing her and looked forward to visits when she would come to Nova Scotia and when we travelled to Ottawa. Her amazing work in her healing and treatment of so many people was well known. Nigel, Rhona, Judith , Nick and grandchildren our condolences to you all. God bless her and may she rest in eternal peace. Love, Sharon and Gus macInnis


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Sharon and Gus macInnis, le 18 juin 2022

Nancy's family

Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of Nancy. I was not a close friend, but I started seeing her as a Feldenkrais client in 1982, and we reconnected several times over many years, including when I took Nancy for a flight in a hot air balloon. She not only helped me through her gentle healing therapy, she tried to teach me many of the lessons I think she enjoyed sharing: take care of yourself, both physically and mentally; stay open to new experiences; don't suffer fools.

I hope you are consoled by what a wonderful, full life she had. She spoke of you often with deep love.

Mary Anne Stevens, le 19 juin 2022

Judith, Nicholas and Nigel

For so many years, particularly our time together at St. John's, your Mum was a dear friend and companion. I remember much laughter when your Mum came for dinner, as she told story after story. She was also totally amazing, as you know, when she practised Feldenkrais. I think she was about half way through her training when I had a wildly inflamed hip. She came to our house after work -- she was at the General and we live very close by, and she had me lie on the living room floor. After about an hour of "fiddling" as she called it then, my bursitis was miraculously healed. And it has never returned. To me, it was a miracle. I continued to enjoy your Mum's healing hands for many years, in that little room at the top of the stairs. There is a hole in my heart. Nancy Parker was one of a kind, and a kind one. I loved your Mum and am sorry I have been so out of touch lately. Sending love to all of you. Heather

Heather Mallett, le 19 juin 2022

Judith, Nicholas and Nigel

For so many years, particularly our time together at St. John's, your Mum was a dear friend and companion. I remember much laughter when your Mum came for dinner, as she told story after story. She was also totally amazing, as you know, when she practised Feldenkrais. I think she was about half way through her training when I had a wildly inflamed hip. She came to our house after work -- she was at the General and we live very close by, and she had me lie on the living room floor. After about an hour of "fiddling" as she called it then, my bursitis was miraculously healed. And it has never returned. To me, it was a miracle. I continued to enjoy your Mum's healing hands for many years, in that little room at the top of the stairs. There is a hole in my heart. Nancy Parker was one of a kind, and a kind one. I loved your Mum and am sorry I have been so out of touch lately. Sending love to all of you. Heather

Heather Mallett, le 19 juin 2022

Judith Parker and her brothers

Although I was not an intimate friend of Nancy, I did know her for several decades, always being impressed by her amiability, love of life and dedication to the healing arts. She was my physiotherapist in the late 1970s at the old location of the Ottawa General Hospital treating me for a damaged fifth vertebrae. It was my first experience to feel a physiotherapist's welcoming, nimble hands – thankfully, hers - manipulate and assuage an important part of my body that had caused me so much pain since a fall down a staircase in my adolescence.

A few years later soon after Nancy became a practitioner of Feldenkrais, I registered for one of her group classes, marveling at some of the sensations and phenomena I experienced, all the while being transfixed by her comitted, dynamic, and careful instructions as to how and what to move. Whenever Nancy spoke of Feldenkrais, she spoke of the practice with love, firm belief and satisfaction in its powers and was always proud of her expertise and dedication to this healing art. I imagine she was one of the best to have ever practiced it.

In later years, I got to know Nancy better through Judith, thus would see her in the context of family dinners and gatherings, including a Christmas dinner at Nancy’s when I distinctly remember her urging us all to write up or tell our life stories. (I see from a message above that she did this in social settings with her friends.) Judith invited me and her mother around for dinner a few times, and Nancy would pick me up in her car to get there. Now, in the late 2000s – even earlier - Nancy should probably no longer have been driving but drive she did! All the while she was continually facing me to chat and chuckle away, she would weave this way and that across the Parkway, her attitude being perhaps that if we were to crash or even die in a car accident, we would do so with zest! She was often so amusing. In the last five years I dined with her at Judith's and at her house. She would still rave about Feldenkrais and her travels and adventures associated with it. The last time I met with her at her house, I saw she had a wonderful collection of art, about which she would have gladly talked for hours.

I read the novel, Siddhartha, years ago, the river ferryman telling the prince that humanity’s time on earth was akin to the almost endless flow of the river, each life a simple, brief ripple. Yes, but Nancy's life was a ripple that always glistened. I will remember her as such.
Robert Frederick Tatlow

Robert Frederick Tatlow, le 19 juin 2022

Judith and all Nancy's family

I just learned of Nancy's passing, and wish to offer my deepest condolences to you Judith and all Nancy's extended family and friends. I knew Nancy as the most inspirational, passionate, and trail-blazing Feldenkrais practitioner. She was one of the first to bring the method to Ottawa, and she helped countless people, clients, practitioners, and trainees. She was a towering icon in the community for everyone who knew her. She may have left us now in bodily form, but her legacy lives on in those she inspired, mentored, taught, and helped through life. She was a rare, special, and unforgettable person. I have the finest memories and deepest respect for who she was and I will be forever grateful for every opportunity I had to work with her and learn from her in this life.

Karen Meredith, le 19 juin 2022

Judith and family

I am so sorry to hear about the death of your mother though it does seem that she lived life to the full, making the most of every opportunity! I know I first met her at St Helen’s about 55 years ago but my clearest memories are of the couple of times I saw her in Canada. I will never forget the warm welcome she gave me when I joined your family gathering at the cottage in the Gatineau Lakes, and was introduced to the delights of playing Sequence. We also had a lovely ride sharing stories in a pedalo and laughing raucously. Another special memory is the wonderful painted field of poppies in the downstairs toilet in her house in Ottawa. I am so pleased I had the chance to spend some time with her and get to know her a little.
Sending you and your family love and good wishes at this sad time.
Take care
Liz

Liz Barton, le 24 juin 2022

All the Parker & Brown Families

Trailblazer and one-of-a-kind !! dear Nancy has left a lasting legacy to her grandchildren through her tremendous spirit, tenacity and courage! Deepest condolences to Judith, Nigel and Nick and the family.

Nidhi , le 25 juin 2022

The Parker Family

Nancy was an amazing healer. I first started seeing her in the 1990s for longstanding lower and upper back problems, which originated from martial arts injuries. At that point I had been working my way through various healing options for 10+ years -- physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, Alexander technique. A friend, from personal experience, described Nancy as a miracle worker, so I gave her a call. She became my healing touchstone for over 25 years.

Nancy gave me regular 1-on-1 sessions, recommended groups classes, introduced me to other Feldenkrais practitioners. In her late 80s/90s, our get-togethers would involve tea or coffee in her wonderful sunny kitchen or garden, a concert at Southminster, an occasional lunch. ... Her garden was amazing, and as a first time home owner in 2000, Nancy provided much gardening advice and some plants to start us off.

Nancy was incredibly fun to be with, except when you were driving with her -- that was unnerving. She was an enthusiast -- we always had wonderful conversations covering a range of topics. Nancy could be disconcerting -- she was always introducing me/referring to me as the woman who never learned to crawl properly (true -- as a baby, I sat upright and propelled myself with my legs). She liked to use this as an example of where ongoing difficulties with basic movement could originate!

I am late to this tribute, having just come across the notice of Nancy's passing today. In the past few years I periodically called, leaving a message if her answering machine wasn't full. Nancy last returned my Christmas greetings before COVID entered our collective lives, but I was away at the time and missed her call.

My back never 'healed' in the traditional sense, but with Nancy's skill, encouragement and Feldenkrais, I have been able to function and participate at work and play.

My condolences to Nancy's family. Thank you for sharing this amazing woman. Nancy made such a difference to so many people.

Maureen Hollingworth, Ottawa

Maureen Hollingworth, le 17 novembre 2022

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