Nancy (McElvain, Duddy) Servatius '58

I attended Kit Carson Elementary School in Linda Vista, then Kearny Jr/Sr High for 7thand part of 8thgrade until it split and became Montgomery Junior High and Kearny Senior High. Then we moved to Clairemont and I attended the last part of 8thgrade at Pacific Beach Junior High, then went on to MBHS in the 9thgrade. Following graduation from MBHS in ’58, I went to work in Yellowstone National Park for the summer, then attended Stanford Univ. for 1 year on scholarship in the Engineering program. I played and partied too much and had to give up my scholarship, then came back to San Diego State and attended another 1 ˝ yrs. I got married to John Duddy, an aerospace engineer, dropped out of school and had two children, Anne & Karen, while my husband went to USD Law School. When he graduated he moved into a law practice in El Centro and we moved to Imperial Valley where I lived the next 16 years until my divorce. During that time I had another child, John, went back to school and started picking up on courses I missed. I started a Bar Auxiliary with other attorneys’ wives, and established a Rape Crisis Line with 2 other women, as part of my involvement with NOW.

I moved back to San Diego in 1981, where I went back to San Diego State, finished my Bachelor’s Degree (’83), then went on to obtain a Master of Sciences Degree in counseling (’85). I began divorce proceedings in 1981 and it was finalized in 1983. While working on my Master’s I started volunteering for a community based agency, South Bay Community Services (SBCS), in the South Bay area of San Diego. When a counseling position became open in 1985 I was hired, and worked as a counselor for youth, families, domestic violence victims, and homeless families until 1996. I also became involved with another man, Ray Servatius, who became my second husband in 1988.

I began SCUBA lessons late in my 40s, but I was never able to finish getting certified to dive (had an asthma attack). However, when we did our deep Baja trips, we took along all our gear and I dove with my friend Betty, my sister Jeanne, and one of my daughters (Karen). They kept watch over me and never took me below 35-50 feet, and I got to experience the most wonderful thrill in the world. We also took 2 trips with our Baja travel group to a whale camp below San Ignacio to the lagoon where the gray whales have their calves. We were able to pet the whales as the mothers pushed their calves toward the side of our panga.

In 1985, 1988, 1992, and 1995 my husband and I took rafting trips down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Why so many times? Because it is a beautiful place and one (well, 4) of the great experiences in our lives. Friends and family accompanied us on different trips. On the ‘88 trip we took his 3 children & spouses (and we sneaked away at the end of the trip, in Las Vegas, and got married). My daughter Karen went on 2 of the trips with us and my sister on one.

In 1996 I started writing grant applications to City, County, State, Federal government agencies and private Foundations, for funds to support the myriad programs SBCS provides. When my mother died in 1997 I realized I wanted to spend more time with my husband, who is 15 years older than I am, so in 2001 I started working only 8 months of the year. During the summer 4 months we spend our time at our permanent camp south of Estero Beach in Mexico, fishing and watching the birds. I retired in 2010.

During the winter months my husband and I traveled with friends to England, Scotland & France, Australia & New Zealand, Canada, Yosemite, Hawaii, and yearly deep Baja Mexico camping trips. When my husband got tired of flying and the long time spend in airports, I started traveling with my daughters and sisters. Those trips have included Ireland & Scotland, France, Italy, Spain, and Hawaii so far.

We are still spending every summer in Mexico, watching birds, fishing now and then, enjoying our family when they join us.