Nancy passed away on September 29th due to complications from a stroke. During her life she fought for social justice, environmental protection and human rights. She loved a good political debate and had no problem speaking truth to power. Nancy was born in Portland, Oregon to Lois and Herman Luft and grew up in Olympia and Seattle. In her early years, Nancy was a bit of a daredevil. She loved skiing and served on the Stevens Pass Ski patrol. As an avid mountain climber, she was a member of Lou Whittaker's climbing party, and at age 16, appeared in a photo on Mt. Rainier in a feature story in Life Magazine entitled, "A Portrait of West Coast Youth." Nancy was also an Unlimited Hydroplane fan and in her 20s became the first woman to pilot a hydro around Lake Washington (the Wha Hoppen Too). Later, while taking flying lessons, Nancy flew a plane under the old I-90 Bridge, illegally!
Nancy attended the University of Washington majoring in Political Science and was 'tapped' for Mortar Board, a women's honorary for scholastic achievement and activities. Nancy married Richard Rising during her junior year of college and they built a home in Bellevue. Nancy and Richard had three children: Eric, Lisa and Anna. The family loved animals, raising Wirehaired Pointing Griffons (dogs), and had a variety of unusual pets including a pet skunk and a Tokay Gecko.
Nancy became involved in many community issues starting in the early 1960s. This led her to run for the Bellevue City Council in 1969, where she was the first woman elected to the council and served two terms. Nancy's influence reached farther than Bellevue as the Vice President of Puget Sound Council of Governments, a member of the National Association of Regional Councils, National Association of Cities and a member of the Executive Board of the Metro Council. Nancy was most proud of originating a petition to ban racial housing discrimination in Bellevue, helping to establish Robinswood Park and also Medic One.
According to an article in the November 2014 edition of 425 Magazine, the Board Members of the Bellevue Downtown Association needed someone to implement their vision for density and diversity in downtown. "We needed someone with experience with the city, and respect with the city's council and management, and was a bit of an ass-kicker to help push this thing through," reflected Bob Wallace. And so, Nancy was hired in 1978.
After Nancy and Richard divorced, she met Emmett Murray, a journalist and editor for the Seattle Times. They bought a home in Kirkland and later married in 1995. Emmett and Nancy loved to travel, especially trips to Central and South America. Their favorite countries were Chile and Ireland. Nancy was an excellent cook and loved to entertain. She loved hosting fundraisers for her favorite candidates and causes.
Nancy was an active supporter in labor issues, being a member of SEIU and the Executive Board of the King County Labor Council for many years. She participated in many protests and picket lines and specifically enjoyed dressing up as a Sea Turtle to protest the WTO.
Nancy is survived by son, Eric Diaz Rising (Gabriel) of Seattle, daughter, Lisa Rising Reid (Bill) of Mill Creek, daughter, Anna Rising of Kirkland, grandson, Brian Reid of Mill Creek, cousin, Ed Foy of Portland, Oregon and cousin Max Luft of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nancy was preceded in death by husband, Emmett Murray, parents, Lois and Herman Luft, and brother, Dr. John Luft.
A celebration of Nancy's life will be held on Sunday, Nov. 12th at 2 pm at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St. Bellevue, 98005. (https://esuc.org/) Donations can be made to MEOW in Kirkland, PAWS in Lynwood, the Seattle Humane Society or your favorite Democratic candidate.