March 15, 2016
Plymouth member Nancy Federici was recently named a Willamette University Distinguished Alumna for 2016. This high honor, conferred on only a select few alumni, is based on her lifelong commitment to sharing her joy and talent for music, volunteerism and philanthropy. The nomination was submitted by friend and Plymouth member Muriel Nelson. Nancy responded, “I was completely knocked over to receive this honor!”
Nancy graduated from Willamette in 1960, with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. She sang in the University choir and was a member of the original Willamette Singers. She served as a Music Senior Scholar, president of Mu Phi Epsilon and chair of the Convocation Committee.
As an alumna, she sang with the Topping Singers, served on the Willamette Alumnae Board from and co-chaired the 50th Reunion Committee for the Class of 1960. Nancy was an active member of Alpha Chi Omega and served as pledge trainer. While working full time to pay for her education, she directed youth choir and helped with youth programs at Salem First Presbyterian Church. Her senior year, she represented the church at the 18th Ecumenical Student Conference of the World Student Christian Federation in Athens, OH, where she shared the platform with Martin Luther King, Jr!
Nancy says, “My time at Willamette taught me to challenge myself as a musician and as person. I learned to perform and create something that could reach beyond myself and give enjoyment to others.”
Nancy taught music education to elementary and junior high school students in Guam, voice lessons at the University of the Philippines and the Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. After earning her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Conducting, she taught vocal music at Salem’s Judson Junior High School, where she met Tony Federici. They married in 1965, moved to St. Helens, OR and opened a shoe store. She continued to sing and tour the West Coast with a vocal group and taught music part time at St. Helens High School. She directed the choir and served as an elder, deacon and Sunday school teacher at Plymouth Presbyterian Church in St. Helens. She also taught Title I students in the St. Helens district and sang with the Merlot Quartet for more than a decade.
Nancy started Community Concerts, now known as “Live on Stage” to St. Helens, and with Tony, founded the Shoestring Players and Shoebox Theater. They sang, acted and directed. After her husband’s death in 1995, Nancy ran the shoe store until 2003.
Nancy earned many civic awards including Retailer of the Year and Chamber of Commerce First Citizen of the year in 1999.
Nancy served as president of the Lions Auxiliary, St. Helens Student Foundation Board of Directors, chair of the Service Committee of the Columbia County Chapter, member of the Oregon State Board of American Cancer Society, Public Health Foundation Board of Directors and Columbia Foundation Capital Campaign Committee for St. Helens Library.
She and her family also cared for two foster children and hosted two American Field Service foreign exchange students.
Her friend of 60 years, Patricia Whelan, says, “Nancy makes the world around her a better place in which to be and by example, inspires others to do the same.”
In 2003, Nancy moved to Seattle’s Horizon House to live closer to her two children, Nick and Cathy. She serves as chairman of Professional Musical Programs and organizes 38 programs/year that feature local musicians, many from Seattle Symphony. Nancy served on the Seattle Pro Musica Board and sings with the Plymouth Choir. She is incoming president of Horizon House Resident’s Council. Congratulations Nancy!