Nancy Gray Ely
July 8, 1929 – May 19, 2020
Nancy (Hastings) Gray Ely lived fully for 90 beautiful years. She passed away peacefully in her sleep Tuesday, May 18, 2020 of complications from coronavirus. She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Donald 'Bucky' Ely Jr., Lynn Harris (Dave), Beth Ely, Karen Bryk (Steve); grandchildren, Alison Kahn (Kevin), Ben Harris (Laura), Eric Ely (Holly), Katie Harris (Lauren Beriont), Jessica Bryk (Kyle Doolin), Sam Bryk, and Kristen Bryk; and great grandchildren, Haley Kahn, Bryce Kahn, Nathan Ely, Nolan Harris, Ashley Ely, Hudson Ely Harris, Taylor Gray Harris, Matthew Ely, Hannah Ely, and Camryn Harris. Nancy is preceded in death by her parents, Oscar Alonzo and Josephine (Hyatt) Gray, and her husband of 70 years, Donald Lewis Ely.
Born July 8, 1929, Nancy grew up in Chester, PA with her parents and grandmother, Alice M. Griffin. Popular in school, social and precocious, she had a flair for fashion and an ever expanding circle of girl friends. She had her choice of suitors, but a farm boy from Montrose captured her heart, and on September 10, 1949, she married Don. Together they had four children in Roslyn, PA before moving to Ambler in 1962. Nancy quickly became the hostess of Tally-Ho Drive - Christmas Eve open houses including a visit from Santa, PECO company picnics and impromptu gatherings by the pool were open to all. She loved a good party and made hosting look effortless. Having attended Linden Hall Junior College, she later attended night school while raising four young kids to earn her teaching certificate. She spent the better part of a decade as a teacher and director of Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church nursery school.
Nancy was her best self in a beach chair, never missing an opportunity to bask in the sun, tracking it like a human sunflower. Quite the artist, she always had a project - painting, crafting, and hot gluing shells to everything. She religiously visited the beauty parlor every ‘Fridee’ to get her ‘hair did’ and could beat the pants off of anyone at jacks, croquet, and up and down the river.
Nancy loved to travel. She rode a mule down the Grand Canyon, cruised the waters of Alaska, and survived an unforgettable adventure in Africa. For 23 years she and Don hosted family and friends at the Palms in Fort Myers Beach, FL every winter. Her beach bag, covered in decades of Ocean City, NJ beach tags, is a monument to a lifetime of trips down the shore. She believed in shopping around for a good deal and that “no parking” or “members only” signs did not apply to her if it meant access to a great beach. With lipstick, her pocketbook full of Tic Tacs, and hair perfectly coiffed she could tackle a day of outlet malls, Ambler Colony Club meetings, and adventures with her grandkids. She was the cleaning avenger, flower arranger, and inventor of the “Meme deal” (which would not be appreciated at a casino, but delighted her grandkids). She could be counted on to make us laugh with her dry sense of humor, rolling her eyes at our antics but always playing along.
To our mom, Meme, and the Lade - you were fearless, generous, and kind. Thanks for showing us how to have fun, keep it classy, and throw a great party.
A celebration of Nancy’s life takes place every time the sun shines. When it’s safe to gather, we will. To not do so now feels utterly inadequate for someone who graciously hosted friends and family her whole life. In lieu of flowers (though she did love flowers), please consider a donation to covidtechconnect.com - helping families connect with loved ones affected by COVID-19 or to Feeding America, a hunger relief organization, www.feedingamerica.org
- Donald "Bucky" Ely Jr., Son
- Lynn Harris (Dave), Daughter
- Beth Ely, Daughter
- Karen Bryk (Steve), Daughter
- Alison Khan (Kevin), Grandchild
- Ben Harris (Laura), Grandchild
- Eric Ely (Holly), Grandchild
- Katie Harris (Lauren Beriont), Grandchild
- Jessica Bryk (Kyle Doolin), Grandchild
- Sam Bryk, Grandchild
- Kristen Bryk, Grandchild
- Haley Kahn, Great Grandchild
- Bryce Kahn, Great Grandchild
- Nathan Ely, Great Grandchild
- Nolan Harris, Great Grandchild
- Ashley Ely, Great Grandchild
- Hudson Ely Harris, Great Grandchild
- Taylor Gray Harris, Great Grandchild
- Matthew Ely, Great Grandchild
- Hannah Ely, Great Grandchild
- Camryn Harris, Great Grandchild
- Alice M. Griffin, Grandmother (deceased)
- Oscar Alonzo, Father (deceased)
- Josephine (Hyatt) Gray, Mother (deceased)
- Donald Lewis Ely, Husband (deceased)
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