Nancy Catherine Parlin was born in St. Paul in 1934, and lived a wonderful and fulfilling life. She will be missed by her family and many friends. Nancy was a Consociate with the Sisters of St. Joseph, Carondelet. She graduated from Derham Hall High School, and the College of St. Catherine. She earned her MA from St. Louis University and her PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. She served in the Peace Corps in Pakistan from 1962-1965, and maintained a lifelong connection to that country.
Dr. Parlin had a long, outstanding career in higher education. She taught at the College of St. Catherine, was a professor and Dean at Moorhead State University and a professor and Vice Chancellor at University of Wisconsin-River Falls – the first woman to hold this position. She was a recipient of Derham Hall and St. Catherine’s Alumnae awards. She provided leadership as a board member for the following organizations: Moorhead Camp Fire Girls, River Falls Hospital, YMCA Camp St. Croix, St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity and Adoray Home Health and Hospice.
Dr. Parlin was active in the civil rights movement and continued to work for peace and human rights throughout her life. She was a lay minister and devoted member of every parish to which she belonged. She spent countless hours volunteering – building houses, serving meals, supporting people in hospice, etc. Her generous spirit was demonstrated in hosting many gatherings at her home and lake cabin, as well as supporting young people in their pursuit of higher education. She was an avid reader of multiple publications, books and poetry, and loved classical music. She was proud of her Irish and Scottish heritage. An outdoorswoman who cherished her time in nature, she loved to ski, canoe, snowshoe, chop wood and immerse herself in the beauty of the earth. The great love of her life was travel and she kept her multiple passports with stamps from many continents. Visitors to her home delighted in artifacts which demonstrated her interest in cultures beyond her own. Although she had many adventures and had seen much of the world, she also enjoyed the simple pleasures of home – especially spending time with her beloved dogs.
In Nancy’s words; “Sorry I didn’t have a chance to make proper goodbyes, but don’t be sad. I do believe that life goes on. Just think of me as off on another great adventure which I have hope will be a very good one.”
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Lucien Day and Clare Murphy Parlin, an infant sister, niece Anna Caponi, nephew John Caponi and brother-in-law Damiano Caponi. She is survived by her sister, Patricia Clare Caponi, nieces and nephews Nancy (Robert Adams) Caponi, Mary Caponi, Robert Caponi, Susan (David) Arvidson; grand nieces and nephews John (Sarah) Bonsall, Amber (Chris) Nigon, Clayton (Alida Bus) Hamilton, Patrick (Erin Lain) Hamilton, Clare (Ben Pflughoeft), Catherine and Mary Cecilia Arvidson, Sebastian and Collin Oeltjen, Crystal and Ruby Caponi, Liliana Carey, and 6 great grand nieces and nephews: George, Carina, Johnny, Audrey, Chloe and Charlotte.
A funeral mass will be held on Friday, April 14 at 11:00 at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel 1880 Randolph Ave. St. Paul. Visitation will begin 1 hour before the service and a lunch will be served after.
Memorials may be made to Cretin-Derham Hall, Habitat for Humanity or the organization of your choice.
Nancy, you were always my friend … at the university, at St. Bridgets, and mostly, as part of River Falls Social Justice. You joined me in protesting way back amid the 1st Gulf War when I can only remember 4 of us handing out leaflets in the middle of a blizzard , and you continued ever since. I wish I could see you one more time, and thank you for all you have meant to me.
Nancy was a wonderful neighbor in the StoneCreek neighborhood. She liked walking her dog and working with her hands planting plants and bushes to beautifying their place in the neighborhood. Fond memories of a quiet neighbor who loved the outdoors.
She will be missed
Scott and Barb Larson (old StoneCreek neighbors)
Fort Myers, Fl