Nancy was born October 31, 1947 in Seattle to parents Allen Gilbert (Gib) Wilson
and Helen Dean (Laurence) Wilson and grew up in Mt. Vernon, Washington,
graduating from Mt. Vernon High School in 1965. She went on to get a B.A. in
Music (Piano) and a Washington State public school teaching certificate from the
University of Washington in Seattle.
After teaching several years in the Conway and Stanwood School Districts Nancy
became a registered nurse and worked in the oncology and home health care
fields, while continuing to give private piano lessons and being the rehearsal and
performance pianist for musical theatre productions in Skagit and Island counties.
In 1997 Nancy moved to Bellingham and soon decided to focus full time on
teaching and playing music. She performed with professional and amateur
musicians in the Bellingham and Seattle areas. She was a member of the Nexus
Trio, was a long-time accompanist for the Whatcom Chorale and performed with
the Cascade Ensemble and other local chamber groups. Nancy was a founder of
the Bellingham Youth Chamber Players (BYCP). She was an active member of the
Bellingham Music Teachers Association and the Music Teachers National
Association. Each summer for many years she participated in the Puget Sound
Chamber Music Workshop (Music Center of the Northwest )in Seattle.
In addition to her busy life in music and nursing Nancy enjoyed running, camping
and hiking, and boating on Puget Sound. She loved to travel and journeyed
through Europe, Mexico, Central and South America, and China. Nancy also had
a talent for working with stained glass; her works of art can be found in several
homes around Bellingham.
Nancy is survived by her husband, Doug Heyer, her two sons, Andy Gainer and
Seth Gainer (from her first marriage to Duane W. "Skeets" Gainer), and also by
her grandchildren Emma, Drew and Collin, her older brother, Larry Wilson, and a
host of nieces and nephews, and all of their children, living in Washington,
California, and Massachusetts. Nearly a hundred members in her extended family
will remember Nancy lovingly and in their own way, but there's one thing they all
agree on: she never missed a birthday!
Nancy was deeply committed to accompanying, teaching and working with young
people. Those who played music with her will remember the consistent
dedication, artistry and professionalism she brought to her music. Whether
teaching in public schools, nursing, performing or teaching music, or just taking
care of her family, Nancy’s life was a life of loving and giving. We who remember
her are, in so many ways, her legacy.
There will be a celebration of Nancy’s life Wednesday, October 19, 7-9pm at
Lairmont Manor in Bellingham. All are invited to attend. This will be an informal
event with a dessert buffet and lots of good music!
Online donations can be made to the BMTA Nancy Heyer Scholarship Fund at
or send a check payable to “WSMTA Bellingham Chapter” with the memo “Nancy
Heyer Scholarship” to WSMTA Bellingham Chapter, 1000 Astor St. Apt. 309,
Bellingham, WA 98225.