Mary Nancy Hegelund Espy, 93, passed away at the Powder River Manor, October 12, 2020.
Nancy was born July 6, 1927, in Phoenix, Arizona, to parents, Carl Hegelund and Lovenia Crawford Hegelund. She attended school in Phoenix and later went to Loretta Academy in El Paso, Texas. Jim Espy came to Loretta Academy to visit another girl. A really cute girl opened the door and he met Mary (Nancy). In 1944, her parents opened a café in Fort Davis, Texas. During the summer, she worked at the café, where she noticed and was noticed by a very handsome young man, Jim Espy. He knew too many Marys so he started calling her Nancy. Her Texas family still calls her Mary! Following a short courtship, Jim and Nancy were married in Fort Davis, Texas. Nancy always said that it was love at first sight and right for us, but we would advise kids to grow up a little before taking on marriage. Jim and Nancy began their devoted 76- year marriage on a ranch in Fort Davis. They did not have electricity but had a telephone. They loved it! They fed cake to the cattle from a wagon, and Nancy even learned to drive the team. With the birth of their first child, they realized that they would need another business if they were to pursue their dream of owning their own ranch. Jim started working in construction in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. While all these cross country moves were going on, Nancy said, “I did as I was directed. I went forth and multiplied 5 times in as many years and our family grew, we were truly blessed with our five children, Cam, Nancy, Jim, Katy and Hugh.” Jim worked for several years building the business and thought he had made enough money to purchase a ranch which was near Boyes, Montana. That move was truly an adjustment for Nancy!
No modern facilities, a two bedroom log home, 10 miles to Boyes and 5 energetic kids. But the family loved it and Nancy was a true pioneer woman, making the best of everything and always putting family first. Nancy was an outstanding wife and mother, but she was way more than that. She supported her family in all their activities, was active in school functions, FFA, FHA and 4-H clubs. Nancy was an active public servant not only locally in Boyes and Broadus, but also at state and national levels. She was actively involved as an organizing member of W.I.F.E. (Women involved in Farm Economics). In the 1980’s, Nancy and a few friends developed and produced Montana Ranch Beef and it was sold in local stores in Montana. Nancy was one of several members traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with Legislators and Senators. They even met President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office! Nancy was a true trail blazer! Nancy was appointed by five non-partisan governors to serve on state boards and committees, including 18 years on the Montana State Board of Livestock and the Livestock Brand Board Committee. She also served on the Board of Transportation for twelve years . Nancy also served as a Powder River County Commissioner. They both were active for many years in the Montana Stock Growers and Montana Wool Growers Associations.
With her husband Jim, as her biggest fan, at her side and her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as her constant cheerleaders, she accomplished more in her lifetime than most could ever imagine. She had many accomplishments but her biggest one was that of a loving ranch wife, mother and grandmother. Married at 17 and mostly self–educated, she set out to make her life, a life of purpose. AND she did!!
Mary Nancy Espy is survived by her loving husband, Jim of Broadus. Children: Cam Emmons, her children, Ruston (Tracy), Debbie (Andrew) Moerman, Richard (Lauren) and Jennifer (Jason) Karnes. Nancy (Bob) Tarver, their sons, Mike, Robert (Michelle), James (Jaime); Jim (Kym) Espy, daughters, Jill (Brent) Krueger, Rebecca Espy, Amber (Kameron) Rolfson, son, Nathan; Katy (Harry) Stevenson, sons, James (Megan), Joe (Emma) and Todd; and Hugh (Hollis), sons Clay (Jaimi) and Moritz (special friend, Andrea and daughter Sutten). Great grandchildren: Josh Emmons (Ashton), Becca Emmons Bishop (Jacob), Matthew Emmons; Brianna, Grace and Allen Moerman; Reese and Kara Emmons; Braden, Landry and Tripp Karnes; Conner, Tayler (Faith) , Wyatt and Hayden Tarver, Whitney and William Tarver; Griffin, Mason, Landon Krueger; Kinsey, Harper, and Clair Hinchliffe; Daylen Rolfson and Lane Slovek; Leighton, Cooper, Quincy and Rosalie Stevenson, Mary Espy. A great-grandson, Tilton Tarver. Her loving sisters: Carlene (Carl) Jasper and Anne Killinen. Special nieces and nephews; Terry Jean (Ray) Allen, Nancy Shely, Valerie (David) Wray, Tony (Kara) Jasper, Crystal (Todd) Mulville and their children.
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, mother -in-law, Rebecca Espy, her sister and brothers-in law Kathryn and Fred Shely, Richard Killinen, and a great-nephew and niece Charles Killinen and Amy Allen.
Memorial services will be held on Monday, October 19th at 11:00 a.m. at Faith Bible Church in Broadus. The funeral service will be live streamed at: http://faithbiblechurch.info/live-streaming.html. A full obituary can be read at www.stevensonandsons.com.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Powder River Manor, Library, Boyes Community Club or a charity of choice.
Nancy’s family would like to extend a special thank you to all the staff at the Powder River Manor for the excellent care given to her and the kindness extended to Jim and family.