Former Southold resident Nancy M. de Bruin, born in Rockville Centre, May 11, 1929, to Carroll and Catherine McLaughlin, died of a sudden illness March 23, 2014, at her winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.
Nancy was raised in Freeport with siblings Barbara, Carol, and Bob. She graduated from Freeport High School in 1947 where she captained both the cheerleading squad and the field hockey team. Summers were spent at camp in Vermont (“awful” in her words) and hitchhiking to work the snack bar at Jones Beach (“the good times”).
She attended Skidmore College for one year before deciding she did not have the stomach for nursing. She returned home and went to work for a bank in Freeport and for Carroll McLaughlin’s engineering firm, where she met Jim de Bruin.
Nancy and Jim were married in August 1951 and moved to a house they had purchased in East Meadow. It was at this Rose Drive address that Nancy began a life’s work of turning houses into homes. Between 1953 and 1958, Nancy gave birth to four children (Greg, Karen, Sue, and Bob). She and Jim bought a summer home in Southold in 1958 with Jim’s mother, where chunks of the summer were spent barefoot and without phones, TVs or washing machines.
Nancy and Jim moved to Old Brookville in 1970 where she took up golf at Brookville Country Club, volunteered at Glen Cove Hospital and created a home that welcomed her children, their spouses (Elaine, Brian, Keith and Lisa), and her grandchildren (Catherine, Monica, Kenny, Corbin; Rylan, Shea, Molly, Colin; Jordan, Kali, Kaitlin; Kaia and Laura) to good meals and warm afternoons in the pool. It was in this year that Nancy embraced a love of travel inherited from her mother. She and Jim traveled the country, the Caribbean and Europe, almost always in the company of good friends, to make the experience that much richer.
In the mid-1980s she and Jim began to go to Florida in the winters, ultimately settling at The Forest in Fort Myers. Again she mastered the art of creating a place where family wanted to visit, including a new generation of great grandchildren (Andrew, Elise, Luca, and Nadia).
Nancy will be remembered as a woman of great class and dignity who was always comfortable with the person she was, and very grateful for the life she lived.
A wake will be held Friday, March 28, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 at Coster-Heppner Funeral Home in Cutchogue. A memorial Mass will be held Saturday, March 29, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick R.C. Church in Southold.
Donations in Nancy’s honor may be made to The Fresh Air Fund or Habitat for Humanity.
This is a paid notice.