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Department of Geography
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In Memoriam: Nancy Hultquist

Nancy B. Hultquist, retired professor of geography at Central Washington University, died March 30th, 2021.

Nancy was born in 1943 and grew up in Atlanta, GA on Piedmont Road near a 32-lane bowling alley. There she worked and became good at the sport. [Nancy holds the record of High Series (679) for Women in Moscow, ID.] She completed college in 1965. Graduate school called and she left for the University of Cincinnati. With two years there, she returned to Georgia State University and the geography department, her undergraduate academic home. After marrying John in 1969 they were at the University of Iowa. From the farming country of Iowa came the first bird dog, a Brittany.  Then the University of Idaho beckoned (1974), and the three headed toward the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

Oddly, the Moscow university provided a split position, so there was extra time to expand the dog population to two, then three, and then many, and next a horse. Nancy enjoyed the Brittany’s and the comradery and competition of shows and field trials. Her kennel name – Cedaridge Brittany’s – was known throughout the Nation – before cell phones and the internet. Along the way she was gaining knowledge and teaching about using computers to make detailed maps. The field is now called Geographic Information Systems, GIS. She was most happy working with students and watching their careers develop.

The PNW is home to great fiddlers, and after a move to Central Washington University (1988) for a full-time position, the bowling and bird dogging ceased. The Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association provided expert string instrument instructors in summer camp, in the school at Kittitas. She first played at age 4. The county also had a group called the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends. Nancy found a new outlet for her non-academic energies.

Then, heart issues from a childhood case of Rheumatic fever ended her academic career, but only interrupted her fiddle playing. Endocarditis, artery blockage, and an open-heart valve replacement came in 2009. Her surgeon told her she was spared because there was more for her to do on Earth.

As she recovered and gained stamina, Nancy began to take a larger role in the music of the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends. They played at the elder care facilities in Ellensburg and other venues in the area, especially at the Adult Activity Center. The photo accompanying this text is from this period. She considered the entertainment provided to the residents of the valley in these facilities one of her best experiences.

Nancy was known as a great teacher and an even greater supporter of student success.  She maintained a jobs list that covered employment opportunities across the pacific northwest.  It currently has over 800 subscribers, and many alumni credit her tireless work to helping them launch their career.  The list will continue, and we hope it serves as a living memorial to her impact.  

Nancy and John (with many animal friends) found a home on the Naneum Fan, 8 miles north of Ellensburg.

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