Cover photo for Nancy J. Schuler's Obituary
Nancy J. Schuler Profile Photo
1923 Nancy 2023

Nancy J. Schuler

September 3, 1923 — November 25, 2023



Nancy J. Schuler came into this world on September 3, 1923 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the middle of three daughters born to Herman and Inga Balster.  She attended public schools in that city and spent a year studying at the University of Minnesota before transferring to all-women Downer College in Milwaukee where she earned a diplomat in Occupational Therapy (OT). During World War II she worked as an OT at VA mental health facilities in Canandaigua, New York, and Topeka, Kansas.  She met her future husband, Charles W. Schuler, in Topeka and the two were married following a brief courtship.


   After the birth of her three children, Nancy resumed her OT career at the Dixon State School in Dixon, Illinois, a large residential facility established for care of the developmentally disabled. Eventually she became the OT program’s lead supervisor.  The family also owned and managed family farms in the Dixon area before moving to Naples, Florida in 1967.  Here they used the proceeds from the sale of their last farm to purchase a majority interest in the Naples Holiday Inn franchise.  Nancy and Charles functioned as owner-managers of that business for five years, expanding and improving the facilities before retiring on the proceeds from its sale in 1973. 


   Nancy and her husband enjoyed nearly a half-century of comfortable retirement, exploring the country in several motor homes, angling for grouper and snapper in the Gulf of Mexico in vessels of various sizes, and escaping from the hot Florida summers to their island cabin in Canada’s Lake of the Woods where the walleye were plentiful.  When Naples became too developed for Charles’ taste, he and Nancy moved to a lakeside home near Sebring after which, chased by a succession of hurricanes, they relocated to a retirement complex in Jacksonville.  During these years, Nancy enjoyed sewing, working with her loom, accompanying her husband on his photography expeditions, gaining expertise in and writing about Florida’s native plant and bird species, and researching her Swedish ancestry.  She was an accomplished pianist and organist, lending her talent to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Naples for their weekly services.  


   She developed into a polished writer, and in later life penned wildlife articles for the Kenora, Ontario newspaper.  She was an ardent, lifelong correspondent, sending newsy letters to childhood, college, work and church-related friends, and former neighbors on a regular basis. She and Charles moved to Middleton, Wisconsin, in 2013 when his health worsened.  After his death, Nancy spent her final months at Attic Angel, where she received attentive and conscientious care. She, her family and friends, celebrated her 100th birthday with a serious of small festive gatherings in September, which gave her considerable pleasure.  


    Nancy was preceded in death by her husband of seventy years, and by her daughter, Catherine.  She is survived by her sons: the Rev. Dr. Michael A. Schuler (Trina) of Madison; and William E. Schuler, MD (Flo) of Warsaw, Indiana.  She is also survived by five grandsons, eleven great-grandchildren, her sister-in-law Bonnie Collins of Dixon, Illinois, and many nieces and nephews.  A private family interment will be at the Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon in late spring 2024. As per Nancy’s wishes, no public memorial service will be held.  Memorial gifts in her name can be directed to Badgerland Bird Alliance (formerly Madison Audubon)


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