Phyllis Nansen | Passages

Dec. 10, 1932 to Sept. 5, 2023

Phyllis was born in Moscow, Idaho, to James and Pauline Moser, the eldest of three siblings, and moved to Almira, Washington, when she was six years old. She attended Washington State University and earned a BA in music from Long Beach State University, with further study at Loyola University.

Phyllis enjoyed a long career as a professional vocal musician, performing for several years with the New Orleans Opera, as a paid soloist in several large churches, and as a vocal coach to numerous students. She was also an avid performer in community theater, directed church choirs, and formed several youth singing groups.

Phyllis met the love of her life in Almira during grade school and married Ralph Nansen in 1951. She was heartbroken when Ralph preceded her in death at the age of 86 in 2018. Phyllis is survived by her three children and their spouses, all currently living on Lopez Island: David Nansen (Sheri), Lynn Nansen-Dale (Mark), and Lisa Cram (Doug); four grandchildren: Nick Nansen, Kelly Small (Victor), Dana Cram, and Derek Cram; and two great-grandchildren, Zolton and Cecilia Small.

Phyllis loved to travel and covered most of the globe, often traveling with Ralph throughout his career as an aeronautical engineer. She sailed countless ocean miles on Fram, the boat Ralph built in their backyard. Ralph and Phyllis shared their sailing adventures in the book Stone Boat Odyssey. When their sailing days on Fram were finished, they continued their love of ocean travel on cruise ships, and in 2008 completed a four-month round-the-world cruise.

When Ralph and Phyllis moved to Lopez in 2002, Phyllis became active in community events and The Lutheran Church in the San Juans, and with Ralph renovated a home on Mud Bay and created a beautiful garden. After moving into the Hamlet community in Lopez village, she was often seen in pursuit of her mischievous cat, Sweet Boy Kitty.

Celebration of life on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m., at Center Church, Lopez Island, with interment immediately following at Lopez Union Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Lopez Island Family Resource Center.