Celebration of Nancy Adkins' life Aug. 22 | Passages

Nancy Adkins ... 1935-2009 - Adkins family
Nancy Adkins ... 1935-2009
— image credit: Adkins family

Nancy Adkins
April 28, 1935 – July 15, 2009

Nancy Adkins, 74, passed away at her home in Anacortes July 15, 2009 surrounded by her loving family.

Though she was diagnosed with melanoma in 2001, Nancy never let that slow her down. As recently as 2008, she drove across the country visiting friends and family as far away as Tennessee. She will always be remembered as a unique woman with a fascination and fervor for life.

Nancy was born April 28, 1935, to Ingvald “Tommy” and Jean (Cushman) Bergeson in Everett, Wash. She grew up with her brothers, Neil and Ted, and sister and best friend, Kay, in Marysville.

From a young age, Nancy possessed a vivid imagination and passion for learning, beginning her creative endeavors with classical violin and piano.

After graduating from Marysville High School in 1952, she attended Everett Junior College where she was very active in the college newspaper. Her love of the written word inspired her to pursue a teaching degree in English at Western Washington University, where she met Chuck Roberson. The two married in 1956 and went on to have seven children, living in Bellingham, Mount Vernon and Bothell, where Nancy taught in the public schools. The couple settled in Friday Harbor in 1968.

Nancy taught for a short time at Friday Harbor High School, before she and Chuck bought Scribner’s Market and renamed it Roberson’s Market, a family operation. They also purchased the Lower Tavern, which became Charlie’s – a place full of music, pizza and good times.

Family adventures included trips to Disneyland and Mexico, and spontaneous visits to Eastern Washington. Nancy also worked for a time at the Public Health Department and the Islands Convalescent Center.

In 1976, Nancy married George Adkins and moved with her brood to George’s 40-acre farm on Beaverton Valley Road, adding farmer, gardener and all-around outdoorswoman to her resume. She embraced farm life, learning many things about love and life from George. In return, she gave him a sense of family, and they soon reunited with George’s first cousin Colleen and her family from Tennessee.

In 1977, Nancy returned to teaching at Friday Harbor High School, where she made lifelong friends and inspired countless students to strive for the creative potential she believed all possessed.

Nancy's love of Shakespeare led her to study in England and Ashland, Ore. She took a sabbatical to return to Western Washington University and after an intense year of study and teaching freshman English, earned a master's degree in creative writing in 1990. She joined George in retirement shortly thereafter.

For many summers, Nancy and George took cross-country camping trips to Tennessee, first with the kids and dogs, then with Nancy’s sister Kay and George’s cousin Colleen, and later just the two of them. One year they even ventured north in a family caravan to Alaska.

After George passed away in 2002, Nancy continued traveling to see family, and taking trips with some of her dearest friends from Vancouver Island to the Oregon Coast. Later, she voyaged solo across the country, visiting family, relatives and friends from the Okanagan to Chicago and Tennessee, and many points between.

Nancy had a deep love for life, family and friendship. She enjoyed the arts, nature and lively discussions, was an avid reader and writer, and joyfully discovered new things to interest her and others. She loved her home in Anacortes, where she lived for the past 3½ years. She will be deeply missed as a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend and teacher.

Nancy was predeceased by her parents, Tommy and Jean Bergeson; sister, Kay Halldin; and second husband George Adkins.

She is survived by her brothers, Neil (Bekki) Bergeson and Ted (Marilyn) Bergeson; brother-in-law, Mel Halldin; her first husband, Chuck Roberson; and her seven children: Kim Lanz of Juneau, Alaska; Kerri Roberson, John Roberson and Jeff (Tracy) Roberson, all of Friday Harbor; Lisa (Greg) Beckt of Stanwood; Lola (Mike) Gallagher of Ellensburg; and Andy (Susanna) Roberson of Naperville, Illinois.

She is also survived by 15 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

An outdoor potluck celebration of Nancy’s life will be held Aug. 22, from 1-4 p.m., at 1174 Beaverton Valley Road in Friday Harbor. Barbecued salmon and beverages will be provided; please dress casually for the weather and bring a dish and your memories to share.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the San Juan Island Library (, American Cancer Society (, or a cause close to your heart.

— Family of Nancy Adkins

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