Nancy Lou Marlene Russell Stay Manning, 89, passed away peacefully on Monday, September 5, 2022, in her home in Provo, Utah. She was born September 27, 1932, in Los Angeles, California, to Jefferine D (Jackie) Jamison Russell and Richard Carlyle Russell. Nancy was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Richard Carlyle Russell, Jr. (Suzanne) of Laguna Niguel, California. She is survived by her husband, Stan Manning, whom she married in 1988, and a brother, Craig Allen Russell (Sandra) of Queen Creek, Arizona. Her six living children from her first husband (Hobert Lee Stay) are Russell Donald Stay (Roxane) of Lindon, Utah; Laura Lee Stay Bradshaw of Saratoga Springs, Utah; Robert Craig Stay (Jennifer) of Orem, Utah; William (Bill) Dean Stay (Jacsyn) of Orem, Utah; Sharee Lyn Stay Merullo (Bob) of Castle Pines, Colorado; and Nancy Jean Stay Gonsalves (Johnnie) of Orem, Utah. Her stepchildren are Wendi Manning Rhodes of Parowan, Utah, and Mark Manning of Ogden, Utah. She was a grandmother of 25 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. The family was her pride and joy. Her patriarchal blessing states that she would be “crowned with glory on high through her children”. Family gatherings were always the happiest moments of her life and everyone looked forward to occasions at grandma’s house: Easter egg hunts, the 4th of July watching fireworks, Christmas parties, and more. She loved to entertain and cook delicious food. Nancy would often say, “There is never a dull moment.” She always seemed to make the most out of life.
Nancy had a contagious, optimistic spirit. Throughout her life, she persevered with gratitude. She was talented and beautiful in so many ways. She played the piano, was a majorette at Mark Keppel High school, and had acute business skills. Her hobbies included gardening, home decorating, and watching BYU football.
Nancy lived in Southern California for the first half of her life. Her youth was spent in Monterey Park and West Los Angeles. At about age 16 and through the friendship of Rosanne Sessions, Nancy became more interested in her commitment to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She had fun going to church activities and gained a strong testimony that bound her to her LDS faith her entire life. Nancy then served faithfully in many callings, including as both Ward and Stake Young Women President, as Young Women Camp Director, in Ward Relief Society Presidencies, and as Compassionate Service Leader.
After marrying in 1955, she and Lee Stay set up home in Torrance, California. The family quickly grew so they bought a larger home in Palos Verdes and then lived for years in Westminster before finally moving to Utah in 1978. In the 1970s, while in Westminster, the family owned a wedding event business called Elegant Catering. Essential employees who became life-long friends included Rose Young, Nadine Hinner, Rita Overstreet, Melanie Young, and Paulette Ostler. A truck and a warehouse were needed for tables, chairs, silver, crystal, gazebos, bridges, and backdrops. The catering business traveled to each client’s venue and they eventually averaged three events per weekend. The whole family, including all their children, worked together catering the most elegant weddings, dinners, and other events. It was a major orchestration, and a profitable success for nearly ten years until it was sold. Every event had the touch of “Fancy Nancy” to make it especially elegant. Nancy and Lee’s special friends during this time were Leah and Howard Dobyns and they remained friends her entire life.
As a wonderful mother, Nancy valued lasting connections and unceasing loyalty, especially towards family. She once gave a lesson on family unity to a class of children. She demonstrated the importance of unity by getting a bundle of Popsicle sticks. She asked the children to try and break one Popsicle stick. Of course, without much effort, it snapped. Then she had them try and break the collective bundle. It was impossible. She was the best at always championing her family. She sat by her son Russell’s hospital bed for months after he broke his neck body surfing. She hung Laura Lee’s paintings on every wall of the home and bragged to visitors about her talent. She laughed at Craig’s jokes and prayed for him and his wife for healing during her (Jennifer’s) battle with cancer. She nursed Bill back to health after a tragic truck accident. She was so proud of her daughter Sharee and admired her life and family out in Colorado. She admired her namesake Nancy Jean for being so loyal and hardworking, just like she was.
As a loving wife, she was devoted to Stan Manning during their 34 years of marriage. The two were inseparable. They traveled to many places, including Europe and Hawaii, and then served an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Daugavpils, Latvia. Nancy and Stan made an amazing team together. Stan built residential homes and Nancy sold them as the listing realtor and designer. During the last five years, their energies were spent building a vacation mountain home near Scofield, Utah in Beaver Creek Canyon. Most people would question constructing a cabin home while in their 80s, but not so for Nancy and Stan. She was a tenacious and hard-working person. When she set her sights on something, she did it. Stan loved to please Nancy and together they accomplished much. In October of 2021, Nancy suffered a stroke that eventually led to her death. Stan’s love and care for her were greatly exhibited during those last months of her life.
Surely Nancy was ready to return to her heavenly home. Upon her reunion with God, we can imagine Him saying, “Well done dear daughter. You have been true and faithful all the days of your life.”
In celebration of her life, a funeral service will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at 4200 North Foothill Drive, Provo, Utah. A viewing will be held that morning prior to the service from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Her body will be laid to rest at the Provo City Cemetery.
Thank you for joining us in her memory,
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For those unable to attend the services they can be viewed by clicking HERE