Some of Armitage's 11 grandchildren attend Oakdale.
She died about a year ago of pancreatic cancer at the age of 70. She understood the seriousness of the diagnosis because her mother had died of it and her husband is an internationally recognized oncologist at Nebraska Medicine. His expertise, however, is in hematology oncology. Dr. Jim Armitage said, "I suppose it's not entirely good that you understand the seriousness of that diagnosis, but I also was in a position to see she got every opportunity for good care."
The bench has a purpose as explained by Nancy's 8-year-old grandson Charlie, "like you're kinda lonely, and you don't have anybody to play with, you sit down there and show people you want somebody to play with."
Charlie's mom and Nancy's daughter Anne Rogers says the bench was a perfect fit to memorialize her mom. "She's not with us obviously physically but the idea she's there in memory."
Another mom recently told Rogers her son used the bench for its intended purpose and it made his day. "it made her think that my mom was watching over him while he sat there, and I can't think of a more wonderful thing to do in my mom's name and she loves her grandkids so much."
Nancy Armitage's family has set up other memorials to her including a lecture series at the zoo and the Nancy Armitage Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research Professorship .