She considered herself a “Jack of all trades.” To the kids, a nurse who fixed up their bruises and grabbed an ice pack when they bumped their heads. She provided a listening ear to students, parents and staff needing some spur-of-the-moment counseling. As an administrative assistant, she was the friendly voice on the other end of the phone, typed letters, memos and filed paperwork.
After 30 years of service at St. Andrew Parish School, 74-year-old Nancy Flood retired in May. The school honored her with a Nancy Flood Appreciation Day, on Thursday, May 26 with a Mass, followed by a presentation and social in the school cafeteria. School staff knows she left a void.
“She will be greatly missed by myself and everyone here at St. Andrew Parish School,” explained principal Julie Kadrich, in an interview with your Catholic Herald last spring. “Nancy is the very first person people see when they come up the steps into the school and she always meets them with a smile and friendly hello.”
Parish: St. Andrew Church, Delavan
Occupation: Retired administrative assistant, St. Andrew School, Delavan
Book recently read: “The Last Convertible,” by Anton Myrer
Favorite quotation: “Love everyone, forgive everyone, share with everyone, and judge no one,” by Fr. Don Zerkel, senior priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
When Kadrich began as a new principal a year ago, Flood was there to support, help and serve as her personal cheerleader.
“She commended me when I felt on certain days that I couldn’t do anything right,” Kadrich said. “She always came back with a compliment. She not only was my administrative assistant, but in the very short time I have been here, she has become my friend. I will miss seeing her every day and talking with her about all kinds of things.”
After Flood announced her retirement, Kadrich listened to the stories and shouldered disappointment from staff, parents and students.
“Nancy is St. Andrew School,” said Kadrich. “So many people have come to her for everything from Band-Aids, to snacks when they forgot theirs, to advice and for her constant ability to make others happy and to make others feel good about themselves. I could go on and on about Nancy. She is our school and a major piece of our school community and she will be greatly missed.”
It was difficult for Beth Muehlenkamp Nateghi to see Flood leave after developing a close relationship with her the past seven years.
“My daughter goes to school there and I’ve worked with her in the Parent Association and in promotion for the school,” said Nateghi. “She loves the kids, is a wealth of knowledge and a great person. She always has the answers to your questions, and if she doesn’t know them, she finds the answers for you. I will miss her a lot.”
She never intended on becoming the administrative assistant. Flood was a volunteer 45 years ago when her children attended St. Andrew, and joked that they wouldn’t let her leave.
“I just started working as a way to help out,” she said. “And I have met so many wonderful children and their families who are so generous to the school and willing to share their children with us. Many people thought I would leave after our last granddaughter left here, but I stayed on five more years. I am ready to leave, but it will be strange not to walk through those doors each day.”
Through the years, Flood has seen her four children and three of her six grandchildren graduate from St. Andrew. She has seen other children graduate and enroll their children at the school. She has worked for five principals and many pastors. Yet, her greatest challenge was always defining her position as a job.
“I consider what I do a ministry, and always try to help reinforce our Catholic faith and being welcoming and caring to all who entrust their children to us,” she said. “It has increased my faith to work here. You watch how faith works for children and it is gratifying. You are happy to see those families here on Sundays and while you wish to see more of them, it is rewarding to see them. We have one Mass per month done by the school children and tons of families come, it’s so gratifying to see their eagerness to take part. Fr. Jim Schuerman, our pastor, has a good relationship with them and is a wonderful man who is supportive of the school and all the parish ministries.”
The devotion to the Delavan school began with her husband of 52 years, Neill, who was baptized at the parish, attended the parish school and was in the third graduating class.
“His dad assisted the pastor in building the school,” explained Flood, “so it is a long history for our family.”
While she plans to take a year off to walk, read, tend to her geraniums and simplify her house, Flood won’t stay away from St. Andrew forever. She hopes to come back occasionally to volunteer where needed.
“I just need a break now and want to give them a break from me,” she said, laughing. “I don’t have any major plans to travel or anything like that. Neill still works full time in outside sales for Dunn Lumber in Lake Geneva and is the fire chief here and he shows no signs of retiring soon.”