Mary Lorraine Nance-Ulrich passed away November 24, 2019 at the age of 72. Mary was born November 7, 1947 to Lloyd and Lorraine (Heirigs) Nance in Champaign, IL. Upon Lloyd's graduation from University of Illinois, the family moved to California, settling in San Pedro. Mary attended Holy Trinity Elementary and Mary Star High School, graduating with honors in 1965. She attended Los Angeles Harbor College where, with fellow choir members, she formed the Pop Rock group, The Sunshine Company. They recorded three albums from 1967-1971, and had several Billboard Hot 100 hits, including "Happy”, "Back On The Street Again", and "Look, Here Comes the Sun". Mary moved to what she called "the Hobbit House" in Laurel Canyon, becoming a part of the now-famous Laurel Canyon music scene of talented, young musicians.
After the breakup of The Sunshine Company, Mary returned to college and obtained an AA Degree from LA Harbor College, as well as BA and MA Degrees from CSU Dominguez Hills in Sociology and Behavioral Sciences. Mary continued her academic career by teaching Introductory Sociology Statistics at CSUDH. One of the students in her first class, Tom Ulrich, became her husband, forming a new identity for them both as they became the Nance-Ulrich family on September 3, 1982. Mary gave birth to her first son, Christopher on July 7, 1983; followed by a second son, Timothy on Aug 31, 1988. Dedicating her life to raising her sons, she home-schooled both through high school.
Mary re-discovered her love for singing as a long-time member of the worship team at Calvary Chapel South Bay in Torrance, Ca. She helped in recording three albums of original worship music with this group. She was also on staff at CCSB as a secretary/receptionist for 15 years. Mary was known for her intellect, sharp wit, mothering and big-hearted care for everyone. In her last 7-8 years Mary and Tom were a part of the loving Breakwater Church family.
Mary was an amazing cook, hosting the best holiday family dinners, cooking meals for her family, new mothers, the sick and needy, and fellow musicians. Mary loved motherhood so much she became a certified Bradley Method childbirth instructor, helping and coaching many women to have joyful, drug-free pregnancies/birthing experiences.
Mary decided to continue giving, even beyond death, by making a whole-body donation through Science Care, a non-profit organization involved with medical research and educational institutions. By doing this, she hopes to help others to not suffer the debilitating disease of dementia that overshadowed the last 10 years of her life.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd and Lorraine, and sister Susan Horant. She is survived by her spouse of 37 years, Tom, sons Christopher and Timothy, brother John Nance, sister Cindy McVay, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and loved ones.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Breakwater Church, 219 N. Broadway St., Redondo Beach, Ca at 2pm on Jan 4, 2020.
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