Cover photo for Nancy McDonald's Obituary
1959 Nancy L. McDonald 2023

Nancy McDonald

February 9, 1959 — October 31, 2023

Palm Desert, CA

Nancy L McDonald, 64, of Palm Desert and formerly of Fargo, ND passed away on October 31, 2023.  

Nancy was born on February 9, 1959, in Berkley, California, the daughter of Clarence E. and Lois (Kay) McDonald.  She graduated from Fargo North High School in 1977.   She received her Bachelor of Science degree from North Park University in Chicago, IL in 1981, and her Master of Science degree from North Dakota State University in 1983.  

Nancy grew up in Fargo, ND.  She had many friends growing up and enjoyed hanging out with them, playing the piano and French horn, doing crafts and baking.  The family would go to McPherson, KS a few times every year to visit family.  Nancy’s cousins recall waiting excitedly for the McDonald cousins to arrive, Nancy’s kind of hippy vibe with the earth shoes she wore, the way her shoulders shook when she giggled, the twinkle in her eye, great sense of humor and the way she stood up for her beliefs.   In her early teens, Nancy volunteered as a candy striper at St. Lukes Hospital, later becoming a CNA.  Nancy also worked the overnight shift a Mister Donut.  Nancy would come home during college breaks and would work endless hours both night a day to save money for college.  

Nancy’s first job after finishing her master’s degree was for Calgene, in Davis, California, researching tomatoes.  She lived with her lifelong friend that she met at North Park, Nancy Lewis.  Nancy worked long hours, but in her free time she completely embraced the California lifestyle.  Nancy joined the Davis Natural Food Co-op and enlisted all her friends to volunteer to work there as well.  She could be found at the Davis Farmer’s Market every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning, many times buying pints of fresh strawberries to make fresh strawberry daiquiris or buying fresh tomatoes and avocados to make chips and salsa and guacamole.  Nancy was never to be found home on the weekends!  She scouted places to explore every weekend.  She enjoyed all the festivals California offered, the onion festival, garlic festival and strawberry festival, to name a few.  It wasn’t unusual for Nancy to get a bee in her bonnet and a hankering for good Chinese food in San Francisco!   She was an unstoppable force.  She worked hard, played hard and made friends everywhere she went all at the same time loving her rescue animals.  When Nancy made the decision to join the Peace Corps, she had a huge sendoff party that truly showed her ability to make friends and how loved and respected she was by them.    

Nancy taught middle school in Ghana, Africa for the Peace Corp.  Her experience in Ghana was life changing.  Nancy loved experiencing the new culture and forming human connections during her time in the Peace Corp. She also learned to live without the luxuries of running water or electricity and eating food that was almost inedible for Nancy due to the extreme spice while living in the Bush.  Later she moved to the city of Sunyani, Ghana, where she continued to teach, was able to enjoy the luxury of electricity and running water but continued to struggle eating the extremely spicy food.   Nancy met Gustav Antwi while teaching in Suyania and they were married making their home in Sacramento, California, and later divorced.     

Nancy moved to St. Paul, MN in 1995 and worked remotely for Tetra Tech EMI.  There she continued to form many new friendships and was part of the community in her neighborhood.  Nancy was considered mom #3 (the fun one) to Miela, adopted daughter of her friend, Mary.   She and Mary met through the Ramsey County foster care program, and Mary asked Nancy for parenting support as a single mom.  Nancy was a rock; she loved the role of ‘aunty.”  Nancy could also be found sharing many meals at her friend/neighbor’s home, Mary, along with Annie, Gloria, and other friends.  They had the most fun conversations, laughing and keeping each other in line. (Well sort of) She also had many international students that lived with her during her time in St. Paul which formed many new friendships.   

Nancy loved to travel and would spend months in Isla Mujeres, Mexico working remotely and enjoying the culture and friendships she made there. Fun was had by all on a sister’s trip to Isla Mujeres, in 2008, of course they stayed with the locals and not in some big fancy hotel, where Nancy showed her passion for life and experiences making new friends,  getting to know the culture and history of the island, snorkeling in the coral reefs, ocean trips (in very tiny boats), fresh tortillas from the neighborhood tortilleria,  sleeping in hammocks, Golf carting around the island, visiting the Mayan ruins and Temple Ixchel as well as fun sister conversations. 

On September 28, 2013, Nancy was united in marriage to Kris Hughes in St. Paul, MN.  In 2015, Nancy and Kris moved from St. Paul, MN to Joshua Tree, CA and later to Palm Desert, CA where she worked at Bay West until her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  They were married 10 years before Nancy’s passing. 

Nancy was a person that was always making new friends, as well as keeping in touch, and celebrating older friendships.  She had a strong bond with family and enjoyed adventures with her nephew and nieces.  She loved her fur babies and had many spoiled and loved ones throughout the years.  She always seemed to be ahead of her time being one of the first to join a food coop, working remotely even when she received paper files, micro lending to women’s businesses in third world countries, and staying at Air BNB’s when you really did get breakfast   Nancy’s zest for adventure is a celebration of a life well lived and she will truly be missed.  

Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Kay, sister, Sue McDonald and brother-in-law, Dale Griffith. 

Survivors include her wife, Kris Hughes of Palm Desert, CA; a sister, Judy Marty (Randall Hartog) of Fargo, ND;  Nieces/Nephews, Aaron Marty (Sarah) of West Fargo, ND, Hope Solberg (Samuel) Plymouth, MN and Faith Marty of Plymouth, MN; Great Nieces/Nephews, Calvin and Keegan Marty, Margot and James Solberg; Aunts/Uncles, Robert McDonald, Larry (Shari) Carney; Cousins, Suzanne Prickett (Mike), Mark Buehler (Donna), Michele Peel (Kerry “Kap”), Kelli Dossett (Mike), Mike Webb (Kristen), Clementine Balon, Dena Jensen (Terry) and several more cousins; Friends, Nancy Lewis, Mary and Miela Bjork (Godchild), Mary Murphy and many more.  She was preceded in death by friends, Annie, and Gloria Murphy. 

A Celebration of Life for Nancy will be held at 10:00 am, Saturday, June 1, 2024, at Stockham Funeral Home, 205 N. Chestnut St, McPherson, KS with Rev. Lynn Scott officiating.  A reception will be held following the service.  To vikew a live stream broadcast of the service, please click on the following link:

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation in honor of Nancy McDonald to the Alzheimer’s Association of Coachella Valley, where Nancy enjoyed many outings and adventures.  The address is 42600 Cook St., Ste 134, Palm Desert, CA 92211 or donations can be sent in care of Stockham Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.  Please include in memo Nancy McDonald Memorial. 

We Love you, Nancy.

“Goodbyes are not forever, are not the end; it simply means ‘I’ll miss you,’ until we meet again.”  - Unknown

To send flowers to the family in memory of Nancy McDonald, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)


Click to watch

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 716

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Send a Card

Send a Card