FARMINGTON - Nancy Elizabeth Teel died June 4, 2014, at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, from breast cancer. She was 55. Nancy was an artist, a community activist, a lifelong learner, treasured friend and dear sister, whose voice and spirit enriched the world around her. She will be profoundly missed, although her voice and spirit lives on in the communities and art she created.
Nancy was born March 16, 1959, to Marilyn Walsh Teel and Allan Howard Teel. She grew up and attended schools in Reading, Mass., followed by two years at Boston University School of Fine Arts. In 2006, she returned to college at the University of Maine at Farmington, graduating summa cum laude, at the age of 50, with a bachelor of science degree in rehabilitation services.
Nancy saw her life as an ever-evolving journey of mind, body and spirit; a journey which began for her in Rangeley, where she managed the bar and lodge at the Saddleback Ski Area, while expressing her artistic impulses in a myriad of ways. As founder of Out of the Woodworks, she created hand-painted game tables, boxes, clocks and jewelry that reflected her deep love of nature. Her work as a muralist and creator of faux finishes, with wildlife and nature themes, can be seen in homes and public buildings from Maine to Florida, including the Medical Arts Center at Franklin Memorial Hospital and the Rangeley Health and Wellness Pavilion.
Her commitment to public service took root in Rangeley, where she was on the board of the Rangeley Recycling Committee as well as Rangeley Friends of the Arts, but it blossomed in Farmington where she lived for the last eight years. As Volunteer Center coordinator for the United Way, she spearheaded many grassroots programs, including the Community Energy Challenge for Greater Franklin County - a program which trains volunteers to make interior storm windows and then teach others. So far, the CEC has created 1,800 window panels in 283 households and 16 public buildings, saving $75,000 in energy costs. This past May, Nancy's work was recognized by the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry with its Salt & Light Award.
When Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago in April, she met that challenge with her customary mindfulness, intelligence and creativity. She had planned to create a series of panels this summer to reflect her journey through life's struggles and joys. One of Nancy's favorite authors, Brene Brown, put it this way, "Much of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark. The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles."
Nancy is survived by her brothers, Chip (Dr. Allan) Teel, of Nobleboro, Steve Teel, of South Royalton, Vt., Jeff Teel, of Boothbay Harbor, and Chris Teel, of Brunswick; and her sister, Mary Lou Teel, of New York City and Boothbay; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins with whom she had maintained a special bond.
There will be a celebration of Nancy Teel's life at 10 a.m. July 12 at North Church in Farmington, followed by an art show and auction to benefit projects dear to her heart at 5:30 p.m. at the Gingerbread House Restaurant in Oquossoc.
Tributes can be posted at nancy.teel.muchloved.com.