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Obituaries » Nancy Tarbox

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May 20, 1938 - June 23, 2019

Nan will be cremated, and the family will hold a private remembrance at a later date. Nan and her family wish to extend their gratitude to the nursing staff and doctors at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Spectrum Health, and Mayo Clinic, as well as the dedicated and thoughtful assistance of Hospice of Southwest Michigan. They also want to thank Dee-tails Doggie Daycare in Plainwell for their loving care of Marlowe while Nan was hospitalized. Donations may be made in Nan’s name to Hospice of Southwest Michigan or to Compassion & Choices, a charity that is working to make death with dignity legislation the law of the land.

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Nancy Jo Jordan Tarbox passed away on June 23, 2019 at Bronson Methodist Hospital after a lengthy illness. She was born on May 20, 1938 in Flint, Michigan, to Josiah D. Jordan and Audrey L. (Shelp) Jordan. From childhood, she had a deep interest in gardening, reading, and human psychology. With her older sister Kay, she had many adventures, and the family always would refer to them as “the girls,” collectively. The two shared a special life long bond, but they were also joined by two beloved younger siblings, Douglas and Laura, and during Nan’s childhood, the family lived in Clio, Michigan, Cotton Plant, Arkansas, and Linden, Michigan.

Nan graduated from Linden High School in 1956 and attended Hurley School of Nursing in Flint, Michigan, earning her RN degree in 1959. In 1960, she moved to Hartford, Connecticut and began working as a nurse at the Institute of Living, one of the country’s premier psychiatric hospitals. Nan was drawn to people whom others in society might shy away from or shun, and for the next 30 years, at the Institute of Living, then back in Flint at Hurley Medical Center and McLaren Hospital, she provided compassionate and meaningful care to the patients in her charge.

In 1962, Nan married Raymond Charles Tarbox, and in 1963, they welcomed their daughter Gwen Athene Tarbox into their family. In 1965, they moved back to Flint, Michigan, and for the next 39 years, Nan and Ray were devoted to each other and to their daughter. Nan studied art photography and became an accomplished darkroom specialist. In addition to continuing this hobby for the rest of her life, she inspired young people, including Gwen’s best friend Suzanne Szucs, who is now a professor of photographic arts in Rochester, Minnesota.

Upon retirement in 1989, Nan took up gardening full time, creating a vast, stunning garden at the couple’s home in Alpena, Michigan. Nan and Ray were able to travel extensively and enjoy each other’s company until 2002, when Ray, a decorated veteran of WWII and retired instructor at Mott Community College in Flint, passed away.

Since the mid-1990s, Nan had contended with a number of serious health issues, but remained active in her family life and in her favorite pursuits, including following current affairs and supporting the Democratic party and its candidates, both locally and nationally. She leaves behind her daughter and devoted caregiver, Gwen, a professor of English at Western Michigan University, and three siblings: Kay L. McCall (David); Douglas Jordan (Dianne); and Laura Jordan, as well as a number of nieces, nephews, and cousins, all of whom will miss her wit and her honest, sage advice. She also leaves behind the family’s Scottish terrier, Marlowe, the joy of her later years, who will miss her terribly.