Life Story Visitation
Life Story Service
A reception will follow the service in the Life Story Center where food, drinks and stories will be shared.
Monday, June 27, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
National Cemetery of the Alleghenies
1158 Morgan Road
Bridgeville, PA 15017
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries
4448 N Burdick
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Nancy Armbrister was a very caring woman who modeled a lifetime of hard work and generosity. She was a loving and supportive wife, mother, grandmother, and a cherished friend. Gone too soon, Nancy’s genuine kindness and sincere friendship will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
The 1950s were known as the decade of the baby boomer and the modern American family. Television was growing in popularity and families joined together in living rooms across the nation to tune in to watch the latest guests on the Ed Sullivan show including Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
Proud parents, Titus and Hannah (Kozak) Jaki welcomed home their newborn daughter and youngest child, Nancy, on May 3, 1951, in Finleyville, Pennsylvania. Despite being a difficult birth for her mom, her arrival brought joy and much happiness to their family. Nancy always told stories of her parents placing her in the top drawer of their dresser to serve as her crib.
Growing up on a farm in Finleyville, a small town south of Pittsburgh, Nancy knew the value of a hard day’s work at an early age. These years of pitching in with the day-to-day chores helped to shape a lifetime of grit and tenacity in the face of life’s greatest challenges. It is where Nancy fell in love with horses and became a lifelong animal lover. There even was a time when she fell asleep on their horse, Apache, and wandered into the field before anyone noticed.
Her father and grandfather worked in the Western Pennsylvania coal mines, as well as worked the family 38 acre farm. Her mom raised Nancy and her two older brothers, Jim and Chuck, and maintained the family household. Nancy thought very highly of her Grandmother, Annie, who was the first woman in Finleyville to drive a car. Highlights from her childhood years were spent taking trolley rides downtown and shopping at Kaufman’s Department Store with her Grandmother. Nancy enjoyed many special pastimes including playing drums in her high school band and playing on the basketball team. After graduating with the Class of 1969, she pursued further education at a local business school. Her work experience started out at JC Penney, she later worked at Westinghouse; an Astronuclear Laboratory, and then Gibbs and Hill; a architectural engineering firm. Nancy loved her work, but always said she’d never marry an engineer. She changed her mind when she met Steve.
Her life would take a change in course in the year 1974, when she met the love of her life, Steve. Their first meeting was when Nancy entered her apartment to find Steve and some friends planning a trip to Jamaica. Nancy walked in carrying a load of laundry with her hair in curlers. Easy going and carefree, she started up a conversation and the rest was history! She saw past his beard and long hair and was attracted to his kindness and charisma. Their first official date was a Dave Mason concert at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh. After nearly 3 years of dating, they married on August 5, 1977. They honeymooned at Niagara Falls and camped at Lake Simcoe in Canada. Within a span of seven years they welcomed their children, Melissa and Robert into their hearts and home.
Nancy relished her role as a mother. Steven’s job demanded lots of travel and time away from the home, so she spent the majority of her time with the kids. Nancy was very involved and enjoyed participating in the PTA as well as making Halloween costumes and transporting them to all of their sporting events. She was a constant presence in their lives and they never doubted her love and commitment to their every need. As a family, they enjoyed camping and traveling. Whatever her children needed, Nancy was always there for them. She taught them to treat others with kindness and to make the most of every situation. Nancy wanted nothing but the best for the two of them.
Nancy loved to travel with Steve and after he retired they traveled extensively including trips to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia, and Alaska. The trip to Australia meant days camping in the Outback and looking for kangaroos (skippies) in the evenings. The trip to Alaska was Nancy’s favorite. Not only did she stay at the foot of Mt. Denali in the Outback Lodge, she spent 8 days cruising down the coast and visiting towns and glaciers along the way. A lover of entertainment and spending time with people, Nancy also enjoyed playing Bingo at the local halls and sharing the thrill of a win from time to time. When it came to sports, she was a faithful fan of her Pittsburgh teams; the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Nancy loved the music of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Bob Marley, BB King, the blues and jazz.
As a grandmother, Nancy cherished the special times she spent with her five grandchildren. Although they lived apart from her in North Carolina and Michigan, she made the moments they spent together count! She loved to play games, complete puzzles, as well as share her love of baking by making them her famous zucchini cake and delicious fudge! Nancy would take advantage of any opportunity to sew a torn shirt, blanket, or stuffed animal. Following a long discussion with her son and daughter about the need to be close to one of them, it was a difficult choice, but in 2017, she moved to Kalamazoo. Kind-hearted and devoted to her family, Nancy leaves a legacy of living life to the fullest and showing compassion for others in need. Although she is gone, may her loved ones find comfort in knowing that her many special memories will live on in their hearts forevermore.
Nancy Armbrister died on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at Bronson Hospital with her husband and son by her side. Members of her family include her husband Steve. Her children daughter, Melissa Ferguson, husband Chris, child Gabe. Son, Robert Armbrister, wife Kristen, children Parker, Austin, Carter, Collin. Brother James (Jim) Jaki, wife Patti, their children Jamie Jaki, Jason Jaki (his wife Gina). Brother Charles (Chuck) Jaki (predeceased) wife Karen Jaki, their children Pam Hudack (husband Michael) Tim Jaki (wife Amy) Kris Jaki (wife Jenn). Sister-in law Chris West daughter Jessica Lethco (husband Scott).
Life Story Services will be held at 3 pm on Monday, June 6, 2022, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service and immediately following at a reception in the Life Story Center. Burial will be at 11 am on Monday, June 27, 2022 at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, 1158 Morgan Road, Bridgeville Pennsylvania. Visit Nancy’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial Contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries.