Nancy wanted her obituary to begin with:
“If you don’t know me by now – you never will!”
Nancy Joan (Belter) Schanus entered into this world at Arlington, MN, on October 21, 1934 and departed on January 11, 2020 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, as a result of heart and kidney failure. She believed her parents were Leonard and Hilda (Kritzel) Belter but discovered by DNA evidence just two years ago that her biological father was Francis Peter Koetz of Scott County, MN. (He passed away in 1974. Thanks to niece, Karen Bell, for helping to discover this.) In the Belter family, Nancy was the oldest of seven children and she attended school through grade 8.
On May 28th, 1954, at the age of 19, Nancy married Korean War veteran Donald “Blackie” Schanus at Shakopee, MN: the couple had three children, Roxann “Tink”, Jenny, and Ty John.
The couple had moved to Russellville, Arkansas where her husband, a heavy equipment operator, died in 1970, at the age of 41, as a result of an electrical accident. Nancy and her three young children moved back to Monticello, MN. While there, Nancy met, Jim Ennis, a cabinetmaker, and his son, David. They built and made a home together in Becker, MN.
In 1978, daughter, Jenny (age 17) died as a result of a car accident. In 1982, son, Ty John (age 18) took his own life.
Nancy lived in Shakopee, Monticello, Becker, MN, Oxford, WI, Tulsa, OK, and finally for about 25 years in Warren, MN. In Wisconsin, Nancy was very involved in prison ministries. She loved deep conversations, reading, especially reading her Bible, and embroidery. Nancy kept a daily journal of all events in her life. Nancy enjoyed NASCAR (Rusty Wallace, #2) and was known for Asian décor in her home. She suffered long term effects of smoking, losing a leg this past year due to circulation problems. She would emphatically recommend and even chastise all you living people NOT to smoke. Nancy spent a short time at North Star Manor in Warren. Nancy was like a den mother to several young people and was not afraid to liberally give advice. Nancy suffered more than her share of tragedy but through it all maintained her faith and even a sense of humor.
Nancy was preceded in death by husband, “Blackie”(buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery); an unborn child; daughter, Jenny; son, Ty John; parents, Leonard and Hilda Belter; father, Francis Koetz; siblings, Anita (Jerry) Gustafson, Maurice Belter, Beatrice (Mike) Bennitt; niece Michelle Bennitt; and nephew, Doug Belter; and brother-in-law, Buster (Elaine) Schanus; friend, Jim Ennis, and a half-sister and half-brother whom she never met (brother, Robert Koetz, a Navy veteran, died in 2016 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery).
Nancy is survived by her daughter, Roxann “Tink” (Elden Elseth) Schanus-Elseth; and only grandson, Michael John-Adam Elseth, of whom she is very proud; siblings, Gloria Braley of Lubbock, Texas, Ronny (Bobbi) Belter of Minneapolis, and Debbie (Ryan) Peterson of Warroad, MN; sisters-in-law, Toppie (Bud) Yankhe and Shirley (Pete) Bruers; many nieces and nephews; step-son, David Ennis; Jim’s wife, Dot Ennis; and foster children of Elden and Tink, Rick and Missy Williams. Also surviving are special friends, Barb and Victor Hellman of Monticello, Mary Ann Barthel in Texas, Tony Blanks of Tulsa, and Elsie Conely of Warren.
Blessed be her memory.
In Lieu of Flowers, Memorials may be directed to North Star Manor, Warren, MN.
SERVICE: Friday, January 24, 2020, at 1:30 PM, in North Star Assisted Living Chapel, Warren, MN.
VISITATION: Will start at 1:00 PM in North Star Assisted Living Chapel on Friday.
INTERMENT: At a later date, in Becker (MN) Cemetery, next to her daughter and son.
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