Cover photo for Nancy Lee Cress's Obituary
Nancy Lee Cress Profile Photo
1935 Nancy 2021

Nancy Lee Cress

February 12, 1935 — August 17, 2021

Nancy Lee McCaughan was born February 12,1935, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The family moved to Moline, Illinois, where she graduated from Moline High School in 1953. After high school, she attended Airline School in Omaha, Nebraska. When she graduated from Airline School, she began working for United Airlines, where she was assigned to work in New York City. There she lived in the home of a Pastor and his wife. It is here she received Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

United later assigned her to Los Angeles, where she lived with a group of girls, one of which would play a most important role in Nancy’s life! She requested a transfer back to Moline to be closer to her family.

As a United employee, she took advantage of free flights out West to visit her very close friend, Carol Jean Knerr. On one trip, Vern Cress, a young handsome Sailor, was paying Carol a visit. They met and Vern thought she was pretty nice.

She returned home and shortly after, she happily received a letter from Vern. He invited her to return to Los Angeles to attend his Company’s dance at the Biltmore Hotel. She accepted his invitation and they had a terrific time!

Back in Moline, Nancy and Vern began a letter writing relationship. She made weekend visits as often as possible to come out and visit Vern. On one of those visits…YEP!!! You guessed it!!! Vern popped the question and she accepted. She promptly put in for a transfer back to Los Angeles, where together they were excited to begin their new life together.

They were married on January 8, 1960, in small service in Los Angeles. 9 months and 6 days later, they had their first child, Kelly Marie. Vern’s job took them to Rowland Heights where their son, James Emerson, was born in 1963. Their family was now complete!

Later, Vern’s work transferred them to San Diego. The company he was working with shut down, which provided an opportunity for them to take a huge step of faith (and $5,000). They started their own business, Traffic Equipment and Lighting which later became Southwest Signal Service.

Nancy kept the books and Vern grew the business which provided for their family. It was a business where many young people with no experience got a job, some of which continued to have very successful careers in the industry.

When Jim graduated from college, he took over the books which enabled Nancy to be a homemaker and traveling companion with Vern. They took many RV road trips, cruises, and traveled to several countries with family, friends, or just themselves. One huge memory, they shared, was a class reunion in Tennessee whose Governor, a classmate of Nancy’s, hosted the reunion in the Governors’ Mansion.

In her life, Nancy was faced with many physical challenges, but had many people who loved and supported her thru all of them. After being in the hospital and rehab for 4 months, Nancy was finally able to return home and was in her element, as she was surrounded by family, friends and beloved dog, Zoe. This was August 7, 2021.

In the last week of her life, after 50 years of physically searching her family Genealogy to find a relative that served in the American Revolution, she finally found the connection and was approved. She received that long awaited news she thought she’d never hear. She had been accepted into the Daughter’s of the American Revolution, commonly known as the DAR! No words can describe how that call lifted her spirits and the look on her face was priceless. She was elated!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021, surrounded by family and close friends, she peacefully went to be with the Lord. Although she is free from pain and dancing with Jesus, we, here, will forever miss her and can’t wait to join her one day, especially her one and only true love, Speedy.

She leaves behind her loving husband of 61 years, Vern. Her brother James McCaughan. Her daughter, Kelly Cole. Her son and daughter-in-law James and Rebecca Cress. Grandchildren Renee (and Harley) Leibowitz and Mark Cole and Great Grandchildren Rocco and Estelle Leibowitz.

In Lieu of flowers contributions may be made to El Cajon Wesleyan Church, 1500 Lexington Ave., El Cajon, CA 92019
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nancy Lee Cress, please visit our flower store.

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2800 Dehesa Rd, El Cajon, CA 92019

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