Samantha (Shelley) Nance, a brilliant artist and a 2007 IHS graduate, will continue to be lovingly remembered after her Memorial Garden dedication ceremony at Italy High School on Monday, May 24, held to honor her life.
Former classmates, friends and family members surrounded Shelley’s Tree while Cynthia Nance, Shelley’s mother, bravely hosted the gathering. As the limbs and the leaves of Shelley’s Tree rustled in the breeze of the schools courtyard, and despite a steady flow of tears, Cynthia read aloud a letter written by her daughter.
The letter explained Shelley’s excitement upon learning the news that she had won a prestigious art contest sponsored by the Art Institute of Dallas, the school in which Shelly attended college. Shelley was overjoyed with the news.
Also, Cynthia shared poems written by Shelley that gave insight into her life. Shelley’s own words comforted the crowd as her mom continued to read.
Several of Shelley’s former classmates and friends spoke openly about their experiences with Shelley as did her Sunday school teacher Ann Westbrook.
Sam Nance, Shelley’s father, recapped the extensive hours of Shelley’s older sisters’ labor and delivery experiences and that Shelley herself was practically born in the parking lot. He noted that he realized then that Shelley was going to be a bit different from their first two daughters.
“Shelley was shy and kept to herself, often drawing or talking on the phone. I admit, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It soon became apparent, however, that Shelley had a gift. She was truly special,” boasted Sam.
Musical tributes were played on behalf of Shelley and balloons originally staked into the ground surrounding Shelley’s tree were pulled up and released heavenward, toward Shelley.
Shelley was growing into an amazing young woman and was just about to branch out into the world upon graduating the Art Institute of Dallas. Shelley’s Tree will continue to grow and keep our special memories of her alive, creating one final landscape.
Please keep the Nance Family in your prayers.