Nancy Black

Obituary of Nancy L. Black

Nancy Lou Black (formerly Oman), passed away peacefully May 26, 2022, surrounded by family, at Cherrywood Memory Care in McMinnville, Oregon. She was 88. Born Nancy Lou Garcia on Aug. 15, 1933, in El Pueblo, New Mexico, to Jesus and Eloisa Garcia, she grew up mostly in El Paso, Texas. World War II brought her family to Portland, Oregon, to work in the wartime shipyards. They settled in North Portland and she and her two brothers and one sister attended Roosevelt High School. Shortly after high school she married Leonard Dale Oman, and they had six children. She trained to be a hairdresser, and for many years she owned and operated the Ambassador Beauty Salon on the main floor of the Ambassador Apartments on Sixth Avenue of Downtown Portland, where she cut, styled and dyed the hair of many influential and wealthy Portland women. Later she was forced to move her salon to a storefront on Salmon Street off Sixth. Ultimately, the bank that owned that property forced her out to rent that space to a cult, and she went on to work for Portland Metro Arts as an usher. Nancy worked hard for decades to provide for her children. After she and Dale divorced in the early 1970s after 23 years a marriage, she struggled to keep her children fed and housed. And every day she got up, got on the bus, and went to work. In the late 1980s, she married Jeremiah Black, a barber. For years they lived and worked in North Portland before moving to Las Vegas in 2008. Ultimately, they separated in 2016 and divorced in 2017, and Nancy moved to California to live with a son and his family. Nancy suffered from a heart ailment and dementia, which progressed to the point that she required professional care. In 2020, she moved to Oregon to be closer to most of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Nancy worked tirelessly for her family. She lost her loving mother too young, she was abandoned by men she counted on, and she suffered the heartache of losing a 29-year-old child. She lived a life that gave her ample reason to be angry, to be sad, to be resentful – but she had none of that. She leaves a family full of loving traditions and memories that they work to pass down to their children and grandchildren. Family gatherings full of comfort foods, where everyone magically seems to take home more than they brought. Campouts at the beach or the woods, rain or shine, tents or trailers or trucks, Oregon style. Endless varieties of Christmas cookies and treats, and always a fresh batch of sugar cookies when the grandchildren came over. Anytime, anywhere, her eyes sparkled at the sight of her family, until her eyes opened no more. While she still could, she loved to do crossword puzzles and to garden. When she became less able to garden, she admired, and occasionally directed, the gardening of others. When she moved to assisted living and eventually memory care, she spent as much time as she could outside, with the flowers. When her family drew together to celebrate her 88th birthday, she struggled to communicate, yet her face shown bright at every hug and every great-grandchild placed in her lap. She dedicated her life to a loving family, and in the end she is triumphant. Nancy is preceded in death by her parents, siblings (Bernie, Joe and Doty) and former husbands, and by her youngest son, Adam. Her most devoted companion, Happy the dog, also preceded her in death. She is survived by five children and their spouses; Randy Oman (fiancée Karen), Davia Brigante (Dave), Eric Oman (Vicki), Andrew Oman (Enid), and Anna Avalos. She is also survived by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In her last months, Nancy’s loving family grew to include the staff at Cherrywood Memory Care and the staff from Brighton Hospice, for which her biological family is eternally grateful. Nancy’s final disposition will be at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial in Sellwood, where her remains will rest in their garden beneath a birdbath engraved with her name and a hydrangea, the flowers that adorned her childhood home in St. Johns. A Mass will be offered in her name at Holy Redeemer in North Portland at a later date. The family will have a private gathering, no public service is planned. In lieu of flowers, those who are moved may donate to a food pantry or to any organization that supports children, or they may plant a flower, especially a hydrangea, when it will bring joy to others.
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A Memorial Tree was planted for Nancy
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral Home - Mausoleum - Crematory