Nancy Lee Etchart, 54, of Helena passed away July 26, 2013, after surviving the effects of brain cancer for 33 years.
Nancy was born on Jan. 31, 1959, to Mitchel and Donna Lee Etchart in Glasgow, where the family ranched. She was the fourth child of five. She grew up in Glasgow, attending St. Raphael’s Catholic School until transferring to the public school system after sixth grade. She was an outstanding student and graduated from Glasgow High School with honors in 1977. She participated in many extracurricular activities including track, golf, cheerleading, softball and the annual staff.
After high school, Nancy attended MSU in Bozeman where she pursed a degree in zoology and qualified for a pilot’s license in her spare time. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1982 despite being diagnosed with brain cancer her junior year at the age of 21. This diagnosis changed the course of her life.
In 1983, Nancy’s next chapter in life took her to southern California where she and three of her fellow Glasgow High classmates went to pursue graduate degrees. In 1985, Nancy graduated with a master’s degree in general psychology from Pepperdine University. She moved to Santa Monica in 1986 and in 1989 was awarded a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She became a licensed Clinical Psychologist and practiced in California, eventually returning to Montana to practice in Billings, Anaconda and Helena.
Nancy fought cancer hard for the first five years after her diagnosis in 1980. She then enjoyed good health for 12 years, becoming ill again in 1997. She again fought hard and had several surgeries and recuperation periods in San Francisco, Billings and Glasgow before finally settling in Helena in 2000.
Nancy continued to work as a psychologist and participated in many of the activities Helena offers, including becoming a very accomplished watercolor artist. She fully retired in 2005 and lived in Helena for the remainder of her life.
Nancy was a role model not just for cancer survivors but for all who knew her. Her grace and positive attitude in the face of daunting health problems not only inspired us, but showed us what determination, strength and happiness is really about in life. She will never be forgotten.
Survivors include her parents, Mitch and Donna Lee Etchart, Danielle (Einar) Anderson, Paul (Barb) Etchart, all of Glasgow, and Rita ( Mitch) Gallagher of Billings and Paulette (Jon Satre) Etchart of Helena. She had many beloved nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and her great friend from childhood, Paula Dyba of Billings.
We will celebrate Nancy’s life in the following ways: A reception will be held in Helena at Eagles Manor on Aug. 4 at 1 p.m.; a funeral service will be held at St. Raphael’s Church in Glasgow on Aug. 5 at 3 p.m.; and there will be a video biography of Nancy’s life shown at Yellowstone Country Club in Billings on Friday, Aug. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.