Nancy S. Ironside

Nancy Stroman Ironside, age 70, died May 30, 2020. Ms. Ironside had bone cancer. She was born to Ian and Virginia (Potts) Ironside on February 27, 1950 in Lansing. Ms. Ironside was a lifelong resident of the Lansing area. She was a leading Lansing-area non-profit administrator, political activist and someone who enjoyed good and gracious intellectual sparring. Well read, devoted to her work and friends, she loved to talk with people and able to draw out a smile and laugh from even the most crotchety person. She had been a 20-year survivor of breast cancer.
Ms. Ironside was both a Spartan and Wolverine. She earned a B.S. degree in political science from Michigan State University in 1972, following that with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan.
But it was in non-profit and politics that Ms. Ironside made her mark professionally. Alexandra Townsend, D.O., Ms. Ironside’s best friend, said Ms. Ironside’s interest in the welfare of children helped lead her towards work with non-profit agencies.
For more than 20 years she worked for the YWCA in Lansing, becoming director of the downtown Lansing branch. While there she helped create Club Excel for children, and kept a Club Excel t-shirt that showed four little hands in red, yellow, purple, and blue as a prized memento.
Ms. Ironside also worked for a number of years with the Michigan United Way.
Ms. Ironside played a critical role in the campaigns of Larry Owen for the Democratic nomination for governor. She handled many of the logistics statewide for the campaigns and traveled with Mr. Owen and his wife, the late Faylene Owens to campaign events. She was intensely interested in politics and eagerly talked about the subject with anyone no matter their own political view.
A former patient of Dr. Townsend, Ms. Ironside became the administrator for the medical practice in 1999. As such, she was in close contact with patients and able to get them in a good mood before their turn for an examination came up. “She communicated with anybody at their level and made them feel comfortable,” Dr. Townsend said.
As a cancer survivor, she helped patients facing a difficult diagnosis remain confident and hopeful.
She enjoyed going with Dr. Townsend to Lake Powell, a giant man-made reservoir off the Colorado River which includes the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, in Utah and Arizona for vacations. They had a delightful adventure every year.
Ms. Ironside was fascinated with computers and immersed herself in their possibilities. Working with computers and scanning the internet was her major hobby. She also loved reading cookbooks, and collected dozens over the years. She loved reading the cookbooks, but not cooking from them, Dr. Townsend said. Ms. Ironside adored animals, especially cats. Living in a wooded area in Eaton County she also enjoyed watching the wildlife that would come up to her house as well as the changing seasons.
Along with Dr. Townsend, she is survived by her brother, Charles. According her wishes, Ms. Ironside was cremated.
The family is being served by the Peters & Murray Funeral Home, Grand Ledge. Online condolences may be shared at