Nancy Longworth – 1919 to 2016
Nancy Longworth – An Amazing Legacy
June 19, 1919 to June 27, 2016
Nancy Koop was born in Manitoba, one of the prairie provinces of Canada. She was the second of eleven brothers and sisters (4 brothers and 6 sisters). Five of her siblings survive her. Nancy grew up on a farm and experienced hard work from an early age on.
When she was 12 years old, the Canadian Sunday School Mission offered her a week of camp if she could recite from memory 500 Bible verses. She learned these verses and even during her elderly years could recite many of them. She went to Camp and it was there that she understood that God loved her and had sent Jesus to die for her sins. She repented and accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus. She didn´t have much spiritual support during those years but she maintained her stand and grew in her faith.
During her childhood and youth she became a “mother” figure for her younger brothers and sisters since her Mother was often sick. Her siblings are thankful to her for her dedication and care.
The world economic situation surrounding the World Wars affected the Koop family and Nancy´s parents asked her to stop High School in order to work. Years later, Nancy went back to High School although she was much older than the others. She financed her studies by working while she studied. She finished High School and also went to Teacher´s College.
Nancy was a teacher in remote areas of Manitoba, teaching eight grades in a one-room School. During this time of her life she wanted to learn more about the God she loved. She began studies at Winnipeg Bible College, working while she studied. She felt a strong call to help people in other lands come to know God, through His word, the Bible. She was drawn to linguistics, thinking of the possibility of Bible translation. While praying for God´s direction in her life, one day, Nancy received a letter from Dr. Marie Cameron. She point blank said, “Nancy, come to Costa Rica. A teacher is needed at the Children´s Home”.
Nancy went to Costa Rica in 1950 and after her time of learning Spanish at the Spanish Language Institute, she moved to San José de la Montaña to begin her teaching career at the Enrique Strachan School, at the Roblealto Children´s Home. Nancy became a friend and counselor for many of the children and teens living at the Home. She would take them on long walks through the farm, teaching them to love and take care of God´s creation. She also taught many to love reading and learning. She was a superb cook and many testify to her delicious creations! No one forgets her Oatmeal-Coconut cookies and Doughnuts!
Jean Longworth, Don Longworth´s wife, died unexpectedly in December, 1956. This was a devastating blow especially since the 4 children were very young. God, a God of design and purpose, upheld Don and his four children and some years later, joined Don and Nancy. They were married on January 31st, 1959. This past year was their 57th Wedding Anniversary.
Life was full of responsibilities for both of them as they administered the care of the children at the Home, handled the dairy herd and farm, saw the birth of Granja Roblealto in their living room, tended to many visitors, taught in the school and took care of their family. God added another member to the family, Nancy Rose.
As their daughter, and in the name of my brothers and sister, we offer a tribute to God for the extraordinary Mother He gave us. Although she was not the biological Mother of all, she strived for each one and gave her life for our physical, emotional, social, and especially spiritual wellbeing. She would get up very early to make breakfast and spend time with us, listening to us and influencing us. Our home was filled with wonderful smells of her great cooking, where she used whatever was in season and made it taste great. Our home was open to receive many…. Mom and Dad “adopted” many as family and Sunday lunches, after church, usually included 15 to 20 people. This created a wonderful network of relationships between generations.
As a teacher, Mom taught us all, and how thankful we are for her steadfastness and perseverance. She taught us to think, reason and to be good students, which helped us in many avenues of life.
As a wife, Mom was an example of service, loyalty and peace. She was a model of solidarity next to Donald. As sons and daughters we saw in them a wonderful example of marriage and family.
Mom used her gift of teaching to open the Bible up, especially to young people. Many received her encouragement and treasure her teaching. Sitting in the garage of a house, this group would reflect and deepen their knowledge in order to apply it in their daily lives.
After her serious illness in June, 2011, Mom has been an example of grace, acceptance and humility. She was thankful for what was done for her and didn´t complain although she went through a lot.
We celebrate Nancy’s entrance into the presence of the Lord. We celebrate her life. We celebrate God for His goodness and mercy. May God help us to leave a legacy such as the one Nancy Longworth leaves!