Nancy Jane McLaughlin, born 1950, in Hanford, Calif., to Betty and Thomas McLaughlin, recently passed away at her home in Ashland, Ore. Nancy's passion was to help create and implement programs to address the needs of the less fortunate people in our communities. Nancy strongly believed in the need for every individual to fully participate in bettering the world we live in and to cheerfully share far more than we receive.

To live her ideals, Nancy became a national leader in affordable housing and community development. Her career started in the California State Senate, but she was quickly appointed the Chief of Housing Policy Development for the State of California. Nancy's career changed to the lending side of the business as the National Lending Manager of the Community Development Bank within Bank of America. She later became the Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium, and then, the National Director for Lending at the Low Income Investment Fund. As the leader of these organizations, she focused on forging positive relationships and achieving positive outcomes. Upon arriving in Oregon, Nancy was appointed by the Governor to the State's Housing Council, which is charged with setting policy and approving all state funding for many housing and community programs.

Nancy attended the University of Oregon, California State University Sacramento, and the Executive Program of the University of Michigan School of Business Administration. She became a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority while at the University of Oregon, and remained active and connected to her sorority sisters. Her hobbies included building and remodeling homes, kayaking, hiking, gardening, cooking, theatre, travel, art, and music. In Ashland, she was active in A.A.U.W. (American Association of University Women), working to present public forums to further awareness and discussion of topics as diverse as bullying, improving the environment, and equal pay for women.

Colleagues remember Nancy as a gifted leader within the housing community. Her spirit and strength as a leader were conveyed through her courage to speak up, lead by example, promote collaborative partnerships, and think outside the box, all the while sharing her ever-present impish humor. Nancy coached and inspired co-workers across the country to achieve their full potential and understand the difference they were making in the lives of others. With her friends, Nancy was supportive but challenging, laughing but serious, and always positive and fearless. Whether you were at a meeting or a dinner party with Nancy, you were likely to hear her say we can do that and surely, you would hear her lilting laugh. She will be missed by us all.

Nancy is survived by her husband, love of her life, soulmate, and co-worker, Keeley Kirkendall; her sister, Jan McLaughlin; her mother, Betty McLaughlin Mayer, both living in Fla.; two stepdaughters, Chloe Mitchell and Lisa Kirkendall; two grandkids, Molli and Devin Shields; two stepsisters, Wanda Kandel and Barb Christie, all six living in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nancy requested that, in lieu of flowers, friends remember her through contributions in her name to Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Nancy's friends and family will gather to celebrate her life on December 6, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., in the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.