Nancy Jean Ortega

Nancy Jean Ortega passed away on November 15 due to complications from a stroke. Nancy is survived by her mother, Mary, sisters, Terry and Kathy, nephew Gabriel, nieces Mia and Miranda, aunt and uncle Gloria and Jack Hulbert, and cousin, Shannon Cherry, second cousins, Aiden and Kayla Cherry, brothers-in-law, Brian Tanguay and Rod Britton, extended family from Mexico City to London, and many friends.

Eighth generation Santa Barbaran and first daughter to Mary and Jess Ortega, Nancy attended Lincoln Elementary, Goleta Valley Jr. High, and San Marcos High School. Outgoing by nature, Nancy had a career in customer service and sales, mostly in Santa Maria. She found her calling as a wedding planner and officiant, especially proud to marry couples of all orientations. She loved the sun and the moon, the science of the stars, mysteries of the unknown, and the history of our ancestors in Santa Barbara.

Nancy was a loving aunt. The pride she felt about her nieces and nephew was immeasurable. Nancy also found immense joy in being a fierce, loving, and loyal friend to so many people, from those she met in school to even those she met in the last year. We wish to extend heartfelt gratitude to all the friends that donated to her reading machine which brought her great joy and entertainment in the last year. She said that the love for her friends was everything to her.

What fed Nancy’s soul most was music. We remember she started asking for albums, 45s, and 8-tracks from a very young age. We would play her 45s in the garage and have dance parties with the neighbors, creating choreography (“Sugar, Sugar”, “Draggin’ The Line…,”) and rehearsing for imaginary performances. She deejayed at Monty’s in Magnolia Center for a few years in the 80s. The Beatles and Rod Stewart were Nancy’s biggest musical loves. During her life, Nancy was able to see Paul McCartney and Rod (over 100 times!) in concert. Nancy curated the soundtrack of our lives, and we didn’t even know it until now.

Despite her challenging health problems, Nancy remained upbeat and optimistic until the end. We are planning a celebration of Nancy’s life in the New Year. If you would like to honor Nancy now or in the future, she would have loved it if you would buy a ticket to a live concert, buy a vinyl record, download music, but mostly, find your joy.

May the good Lord be with ya down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home
And may you grow to be proud, dignified, and true
And do unto others as you would have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you’ll always stay
Forever young, forever young

Forever young
~Rod Stewart



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