Nancy Jane Schnering Davenport, 75, passed away on Thursday, November 30, 2023, at St. Patrick’s Hospital, of natural causes with her daughter Spider McKnight by her side.
She was born on December 1, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois - the youngest of five children - to Robert and Dorothy. She spent her early years living in the Chicago area, where she began to experience and enjoy the arts through numerous school field trips. She and her family moved to Sarasota, Florida, where Nancy attended junior and senior high schools. She became an accomplished water skier, winning awards for National Overall Champion in 1962 and National Tricks Champion in 1963. She also modeled for Seventeen magazine, and was a nationally syndicated water-skiing columnist. She continued recreational water-skiing for a big portion of her life, and always enjoyed time at the beach and on the water.
In the 1960s and ‘70s, Nancy married, built a family, and earned a nursing degree. When her children were older, she worked as a night nurse in critical care. After the youngest, Tai, graduated from high school, Nancy, her husband Bill, and Tai, moved to Arizona, where she worked as a nurse on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Her husband Bill was later diagnosed with cancer, necessitating a move to Houston, Texas, for medical treatment. Nancy continued her work as a nurse at St. Luke’s hospital there until Bill died in 1995, when she returned to Florida. Several years later, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and retired from nursing. Eventually, her poor health necessitated a move to Missoula, in 2002, to be closer to her daughter.
In 2018, Nancy moved to the Village, for assistance with medical conditions including her MS. She developed an amazing social network there and enjoyed many of the activities, especially the coloring group, crafts, painting, and bingo. She was usually the first person to show up for events each morning, and enjoyed the friendships she made. Her family is very grateful to the employees and residents there who made Nancy’s life easier and happier. They are also grateful for the care Nancy received at St. Patrick’s Hospital.
Throughout her life, Nancy enjoyed the loving companionship of many dogs and cats. If interested, donations may be made in her memory to the Humane Society of Western Montana, at myhswm.org (http://myhswm.org).