Nancy Wendel McMonagle passed away on a beautiful sunny morning due to the effects of kidney cancer which had spread to her bones and liver. She was surrounded by loved ones who were holding her hands. She was 70 years old.
Our beloved Nancy was born August 22, 1952, to Allen Martin Wendel and Rose Eileen Chabot Schuenman Wendel and was the third of five children born to Allen and Eileen, later joined by another foster brother. Born into a household of boys, she learned to hold her own at an early age and to work hard on the large family plot in downtown Bountiful, Utah. Summers were spent picking weeds, helping Mother pick and preserve fruit and vegetables, pick up games of basketball with her brothers and cousins, and it was a full and happy time in her life. She often went camping in the desert for family vacations on odd years and visiting Grandfather Chabot in Seattle Washington on even years during the 60’s and 70’s. She hiked deserts, mountains and beaches and enjoyed the great and wonderful world. We have many happy memories of her walking strong and tall with her long black hair flying in the wind.
Nancy attended the storied Stoker Elementary School, Bountiful Junior High (Go Eagles!) and eventually Bountiful High (GO BRAVES!!!!) where she graduated in 1970. After her LDS Mission, Nancy continued her education by attending school at the University of Utah (Go Utes!!) and graduated with a degree in Nursing. She even conned her younger brother into going one day to the University to be used as a guinea pig for a nursing assessment. He wasn’t too happy when the student nurse assigned to him began poking him with needles and asking if it hurt.
Nancy always loved animals and was instrumental in bringing more than one animal into the care of the family. At a young age, she and her best friend, Angel Dichellis found a black baby kitten which they tried to get her father to adopt. When that didn’t happen, Angel’s mother adopted the kitten which lived over 20 years. In early 1970’s, she decided that the family needed a replacement dog, so she went to the pound and found a border collie/german shepard mutt. She named him “Jacque”, and he proceeded to bounce all over the inside of her car on the way home. She later recalled, “What did I get myself into??”. Jacque got into all sort of mischief over the next 15 years and was loved by all, but especially Nancy. Nancy also loved horses, and in her youth, took professional horse-riding lessons in West Valley City, Utah back when there was still pastureland there. Over her life, she has had many other animals, including her current dog Lilly, who is missing her badly.
When her older brother, Doug, finished his full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in France/Switzerland, Nancy, Doug and her mother traveled to Europe for two months to travel through Europe seeking information about the history of the family. For these two months they traveled, camped out, visited small chapels to pour over baptismal and wedding records and gathered information on the origins of the Chabot and Wendel families. A few years later, she traveled for two months around the eastern states with her mother and her younger brother continuing to search for family records and genealogical information to add to the family history.
Nancy continued this focus throughout her life and continued to act as the Family Historian and Genealogist for many years since the passing of Eileen. Her work over the years identified many names that allowed LDS temple work to be completed for them.
Nancy decided to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1973 and was called to serve in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission. She fell in love with the people and the culture there. This trait of service to God and service to other continued as a major theme throughout her lives. She served in many capacities over the decades in her church, her family and her community. She cared for the sick, provided care for our ailing mother before her passing, and helped many in her neighborhood and religious congregations. She served in many church callings and was currently serving as the Relief Society Counselor and the Branch Organists. Nancy was a faithful and diligent Daughter of God.
It would not be complete to talk about Nancy without mentioning her joy for music and the several instruments that she could play. From a young age, she was taught to sing at home by our mother and in the benches of the Great Second Ward of Bountiful. We were all taught to sing and play musical instruments. Nancy loved to play the piano and organ and would often just pull-out music and play and sing growing up. Her fellow LDS branch members have remarked how much joy her music brought to others and the spirit that her playing brought to her activities and meetings. She truly brought joy and hope to many others.
After her graduation as a Nurse, she worked for Davis County as a School Nurse and Public Health Nurse in the school district. In 1986, she took a big leap of faith and applied to be a Public Health Nurse in Bethel, Alaska, about 40 miles inland from the Bering Sea and to provide services for the Native Eskimo Peoples of Alaska. Bethel was frozen in 9 months of the year and work didn’t stop when there was snow falling or the polar bears were prowling the streets. She traveled by light plane to three other small villages, providing badly needed vaccinations, medical care and education and would often have to sleep on the floors of the clinics in a sleeping bag. She hiked, walked and flew over some of the most demanding terrain on this earth.
In Alaska, she met a teacher, Bruce McMonagle, who she married in 1986. This fulfilled her life-long dream of being a wife and a mother. They have two children together. Michelle, who was born in 1987 and John, who was born in 1990. The family moved to Sitka, Alaska where she continued to work as a Public Health Nurse. One summer, she caught a massive King Salmon fish, packed it in dry ice, took it to the Post Office, and expressed it over night to her parents in Bountiful, Utah. This fish was HUGE!!
In 1996, Bruce and Nancy decided to make a big leap and bought the Chief Motel in Custer, South Dakota. While she left the nursing profession, she kept her certification for many years after. Nancy and Bruce have lived in Custer over the last 26 years. They have hosted tens of thousands of visiting peoples to the Black Hills and seen to their comfort. They have employed many persons and some family members looking for employment. They often opened rooms for visiting family members who then explored the Black Hills.
Nancy continued providing caring and helpful service to many in need both economically and emotionally. She spoke often of her LDS branch in the area and the needs of the members. She continued to work hard to provide for her family and others up through this final season of the Motel being open.
The family has seen many people come to provide help for Nancy and Bruce during these difficult last months. When she was diagnosed with kidney cancer some years ago, many loving and caring people stepped in to provide service and love back to Nancy for her kindness and tender mercies over the years. When she was recovering from surgery and radiation, many people stepped in to help. The family would like to express their deepest gratitude and love for all who have helped Nancy and Bruce.
A year ago, Nancy started feeling poorly and went to see her doctor in December 2021. The cancer had returned and had spread to her hip bone, back, sternum and liver. Not wanting to “be a bother” during the Christmas season, she delayed informing family members until mid-January 2022. After several rounds of chemo-therapy over the spring and summer, the doctors found that Nancy’s body had stopped responding to the treatments. Many family members and friends came to be with Nancy over the last six months and to help the family with opening the Motel. After the closing of the Motel for the season, Nancy made preparations to pass the family history documents to other family members. Nancy passed away from the effects of the cancer in the Custer Medical Center with loving family members present.
Nancy is survived by her loving husband, Bruce McMonagle, her daughter Michelle (Ibrahim) Esker, her son John McMonagle and her sweet little dog Lilly. She is also survived by her older brother Doug (Sylvia), and two younger brothers, Gary (Kathy) Wendel and Joel (Annette) Wendel. She was preceded in passing by her father Allen Wendel, mother Eileen Wendel, older brother James “Big Jim” Wendel, her younger brother Richard (Rachelle), a niece Bridget Wendel, and a nephew Tanner Wendel.
An evening viewing will be held in the McColley’s Funeral Home in Custer, South Dakota from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday 10th of November. The Address is 234 North 6th Street, Custer, South Dakota. Funeral services will be conducted at the LDS Chapel in Hot Springs, South Dakota on Friday 11th November from 10-11 am with a family meal directly after the services. A viewing will be conducted that morning from 9-945 am at the Chapel. The address is 2133 Albany Avenue, Hot Springs, South Dakota. Interment will be at the Custer City Cemetery directly after the services at 1 p.m. where she will be laid to rest beneath her beloved pines in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
We would like to give thanks for the assistance of the Chamberlian McColley’s Funeral Home in Custer for their help with the arrangements. We would also like to thank Russon Mortuary and Crematory in Bountiful, Utah who have agreed to post this obituary back in Bountiful where many of Nancy’s friends, ward members and co-workers of old are still residing.
The services will be live streamed at 10 a.m. on Friday at this link: Funeral Service for Sis. McMonagle Zoom Meeting Friday, November 11⋅8:45 – 11:45amLocation:https://zoom.
Description: Hot Springs Branch is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/94988403945?
The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the community of Custer who have taken Nancy and Bruce into their confidence over the last 26 years. We express gratitude to the many guests who have stayed at the Chief Motel and have made it a regular stop on their travels to stay with and interact with Nancy and Bruce. We express gratitude to the LDS members of Rapid City and Hot Springs who befriended Nancy and Bruce and who have provided much support during these last trying months. We would like to also express our deepest thanks and acknowledge the very professional staff at Monument Health Custer Hospital who saw to her needs and made her comfortable during her last days. We would like to thank Dr. Saini personally for her kind administrations and warm, caring guidance during the last few hours.
Till we see Nancy again, take strength and try to follow her examples of service and kindness. We think that would be the best way to honor her memory and to put a smile on her face.