Friday, August 22, 2014

Glenda Nicol

    Glenda Nicol passed away at V.G.H. on July 26, 2014.
    Glenda was predeceased by her parents Alexander and Mary Nicol, her partner Gary Olman, and her sister Maureen Nicol in 2007. Left to mourn are her sisters Frances Spargo, June Nicole and Carol (Bruce) Gormley, her brother Webster (Gloria) Nicol, many cousins, nieces and nephews. Cremation was by First Memorial. A Celebration of Life will be planned for a later date.
    Glenda Nicol was an exceptional woman. An inspiration to all who were fortunate enough to meet her. Unique in her wildly enthusiastic approach to life, her ambitions, her accomplishments, Glenda lived her life unafraid to be exactly who she was. She traveled where she wanted to go, loved whom she wanted to love, and did what she wanted to do. She did not choose conventional pathways, but made her own choices about the direction her life would take.
    She was honest and true, steadfastly loyal in her friendships, immensely kind to others, and a pillar of strength to her family. Glenda had a brilliant analytical mind, and she possessed a deeply philosophical understanding of the truths of the human condition. She didn’t waste time complaining about the slings and arrows of misfortune that surround us in this world—she simply saw through it all, understood it all, kept her own counsel and beliefs, and set out to make the very best life she could, not just for herself, but for those who were lucky enough to be in her company, meet her, know her, or to have the joy of becoming her friend. She took strangers under her wing with immense kindness, because of her deep interest in the lives of others. She honed the art of amusement and laughter to a fine edge and lit up the room at any and all gatherings with her razor sharp wit and an everlasting repertoire of jokes. Her Mother, Mary, used to warn us ahead of time: “Don’t laugh. You will only encourage her.”
    Glenda had a genius for friendship. People adored her. She was a wonderfully strong and determined hiker, mountain climber and downhill skier, with a passion for winter and skiing on Mount Seymour in Vancouver, so it was not surprising that she eventually ended up making her home in Ketchum, Idaho.
    One of the most remarkable things about Glenda and the Nicol family is the inclusiveness they give to everyone whom they meet. When Glenda first went to Sun Valley, it wasn’t long before all her family and friends in Canada began to feel as if they knew personally all of the people Glenda knew in Ketchum, from her stories about her life there. The Nicol sisters are remarkable in the way they include everyone, far and wide, and show an interest in others, which eventually ends up with everyone knowing one another or knowing of one another, even if they have not ever met. This was a very beautiful thing about the Nicol family—the way their deep interest in other people enriched and enhanced the lives of all who knew them.
    Another remarkable thing is the very strong vein of humor which runs through that family. Never is an opportunity missed to include humor in conversation. In those wonderful conversations that provide a beautiful background music to their lives and ways of being, and whenever and wherever the Nicol family gathered, their welcoming ways and bright and humorous conversations became a magnet for others to participate and enjoy a really different quality of interesting conversation.
    Glenda herself took these delightful communication qualities to great lengths at her jobs in Ketchum, according to author Pat Murphy, retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a former radio commentator who wrote an article about Glenda on the opinion pages of the Express on July 21, 1999.
    Murphy wrote that encountering Glenda was reminiscent of the crusty characters of former pioneer days, but with one vast difference, that of an “R” rating for mature language. “Old timers,” says Murphy, “exposed to Glenda’s tomfoolery with language have heard her call herself “World Famous Glorious Glenda from Canada with the Alabaster Breasts,” as well as the “Red Haired Double Breasted Mattress Thrasher.” And worse.
    Another comment in Pat Murphy’s column tells the story of Glenda meeting Associated Press reporter Mark Warbis on the street in Ketchum one day when he was interviewing people about some political matters, such as what they thought about mega-billionaire corporate bigwigs meeting in their small town. Warbis asked Glenda her name, and Glenda happily introduced herself as “Fonda Peters,” hoping he would get the joke. He didn’t. Murphy wrote in his article that when Warbis’ news report appeared in the Associated Press dispatch, it said “a local person named Fonda Peters whom he had interviewed had stated she was not impressed by business titans.”
    That certainly sounds like our Glenda, in action in Ketchum, and I believe Murphy has captured the essence of Glenda’s humor at its finest and most endearing.
    Glenda’s sister Carol told me that Glenda wants her friends from the bar in Ketchum to know what has now happened to her, and that she would like this eulogy to have a special title that would have great meaning to that wide army of Ketchum friends who shared Glenda’s years and experiences there.
    The title Glenda wishes is this: “Look! I want you to know! I have been eighty-sixed!”
    May this eulogy be a fitting tribute to a magnificent well-lived life of a very dearly beloved woman who kept us laughing for all those long years. With respect, admiration and gratitude to you, Glenda Nicol.

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