Nancy was born September 9, 1935 in Buffalo, New York to Walter and Catherine (Wells) Colley. In 1957 Nancy married John Barnes Jr. and they had two children, John Barnes III and Michael Barnes, the two divorced in 1962. Nancy later married Tom Mjelde whom she divorced in 1980. Nancy was employed by the United States Forest Service from 1965 to 1995 when she retired. She worked on many projects during her employment, including at the El Dorado National Forest, District Clerk for the Cabinet View Ranger Station in Trout Creek, and Center Director for the Job Corp. in Darby, and Curlew, Wash. She developed the IPNF Human Resource Program to one of the largest in the Forest Service. It now contributes more than $1million per year and involves of 500 enrollees in programs such as: Youth Conservation Corp., Touch America, Volunteers, and Senior Community Service Employment; a total of 9 hosted programs. Her FS work was recognized by promotion two grades higher than the job normally is, a Regional Forester Honor Award in 1984 for $2,000, and was selected for another two grade promotion to Washington DC. While in Washington she worked as the Manpower Development Specialist.
She loved traveling and has lived throughout the country in New York, California, Montana, Washington DC, Florida, and Idaho. She also loved traveling to the Oregon Coast each year for the Kite Festival. She also enjoyed spending time with family and friends, golfing, attending parades, reading, spending time at Busch Gardens in Florida, and attending her grandchild and great-grandchildren’s school and sporting events. She was also a member of the Ironwood Center and enjoyed swimming each week with her friends.
Once settling in Coeur D’Alene she spent her time participating at the Elks Lodge as the Secretary/Treasurer and serving as the Dictionary Project Manager since 2005. She also assisted with the formation of the Coeur D’Alene Women’s Center first volunteering in 1979. She was chairwoman of the Legislation Committee, an advocate for rape victims and a victim of domestic violence, provided Safe House for battered women and children, and was on the Board of Directors. She was one of the seven original members on the Governors Council of Domestic Violence, appointed in 1982; was chairwoman in 1983 and reappointed every year through 1987. During her term, the council sponsored legislation to: Fund a battered women’s program, mandatory arrest for domestic violence, and victims’ rights restitution and compensation. Nancy testified on national hearings of the US Attorney General Task Force on Family Violence. She became a member of the Coeur D’Alene Chapter of the Business and Professional Women and was President, committee chairwoman on Legislation, and Treasurer. In 1984 she was selected as Woman of the Year for the Coeur D’Alene Chapter of BPW, the Panhandle District BPW, the Idaho State Federation BPW, and Beta Sigma Phi. In her “spare” time she was Treasurer of the Coeur D’Alene Chapter of the National Organization for Women, and was one of the founders of the Coeur D’Alene Women’s Commission. She assisted Hospice with their Civil Rights Plan, and was a Volunteer for Income Tax Assistance (VITA) for low income families, the elderly and handicapped. Nancy was on the Board of Directors for the Mayor’s Committee for Employment of the Handicapped and Older Workers, member of the Displaced Homemakers Advisory Board of NIC, and Treasurer of the Idaho Network to Stop Violence against Women. She was on the Library Information and Referral Board, assisted with the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, and many more! Some other recognition Nancy received is a Certificate of Appreciation from the Center of New Direction at NIC and the USDA’s Woman’s Equality Day Award. Nancy was selected from over 80,000 employees in the USDA.
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Catherine Colley; brothers, Walter Colley and William (Betty) Wagle; sisters, Mercia Lester and Sally Balk; son Michael Barnes; great-grandson Jaxson Muniz; and best friend Myrth Blanchard.
She is survived by her son, John (Kim) Barnes; grandchildren, Brittani Barnes (Dave Muniz), Brandon (Sandra) Barnes, Brian (Amanda) Barnes; and great-grandchildren Kevin, Jagger, Annie, Emmah, Jace, and Braydun all of Libby; sister Joann (Don) Passmore of Williamsville, New York; and brother Nelson (Barbara) of Olcott, New York; she also leaves behind many friends including a special friend, her Yorkie Buddy.
A service and Celebration of Life will take place Sunday, May 20 at 1:00 p.m. at Elks Lodge #1254 located at 1170 W. Prairie Ave. Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Nancy will be laid to rest in White Pine, Mont. next to her son Michael. Arrangements were made by Schnackenberg and Nelson Funeral Home in Libby.