DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

So long, Sr. Nancy: You will not be forgotten

Just about everyone around Xavier Prep knew of Sr. Nancy Perlick’s love for dogs. The associate athletic director and administrator, who passed away Dec. 11 after a courageous battle with cancer, often brought her dog Rosie and Rosie’s pal, Ruby, to school.
In the late summer of 2014, a stray wandered onto campus and Sr. Nancy and other staffers took him in.
That stray was me.
Sr. Nancy and athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor graciously allowed me to produce a blog for the school Web site. It is called the XCP Files and I have been fortunate to continue it this school year after a successful debut in 2014-15.
It is something I truly enjoy. In many ways, it surpasses the satisfaction I gained from covering sports for The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Interscholastic Association for close to 40 years.
The main reason for that has been the fantastic people at XCP, especially Sr. Nancy.
She was my primary contact here. I would write most of my reports from home and e-mail them to her to approve before I posted them. It was a good system.
Not long ago, after reading one of my stories, she said how much she enjoyed reading them. The ones away from Xavier were particularly interesting, she said, “because I can’t go to a lot of them and these stories make me feel like I was actually there.’’
You can’t get a much better endorsement than that.
I first met Sr. Nancy a few years ago when I would cover volleyball, basketball and softball games for the AIA. She was always helpful, along with sports security man Mike Williams, often offering me a seat behind the scorer’s table.
Sr. Nancy had everything down pat, from adjusting the volume on the latest music hits to pronouncing the names for players from both schools. Before the games and at halftime, she could be found immersed in a book.
The same was true at softball games. She kept fans informed of the score, even though it flashed on the scoreboard, and made sure to plug the treats available at the concession stand.
She was more than a voice. She had substance, a lot of it. She sent out season schedules and served as a liaison with the AIA. While Sr. Lynn is one of XCP’s primary movers and shakers, it was Sr. Nancy who had her back.
Sr. Nancy was like the Radar O’Reilly character on the classic TV show, M*A*S*H. If you wanted something done, you would go to her and she made sure it would happen.
She loved being a part of the Xavier community, especially working with and guiding the students. She also enjoyed traveling, sometimes to Hawaii.
She had a wonderful smile, and even if she wasn’t sure an idea would fly, she would put the wheels into motion as a loyal soldier should.
Sr. Nancy might not completely understand this hubbub regarding her passing. But it is something we are compelled to do.
There will be plenty of tears at her funeral Mass. Tears of sadness, knowing how much she will be missed – after about 20 years here, she is irreplaceable -- but also tears of joy because we know she is with the Lord.
Thanks, Sr. Nancy, for taking me in.

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