Estelle Norene Nance
Estelle Norene Nance
  • October 3, 1925 - March 16, 2015
  • Austin, Texas

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Estelle Norene (Cummins) Nance died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Austin, Texas, on Monday, March 16, 2015. Norene was born in Uvalde, Texas, on October 3, 1925, to A. A. Cummins, Sr. and Estelle Brymer Cummins. She grew up in El Paso, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Crystal City and San Benito as her father managed J. C. Penney stores along the border of Texas.

Following graduation from San Benito High School, Norene enrolled at Texas A & I University. While at A & I, she was an honor student, editor of the yearbook and, in the summer of 1945, became a World War II pin-up girl when she was named the “Wading Queen of 1945” by the B-29 Gunnery School of the Harlingen Air Base. The above photo was published in the July 30, 1945, issue of Newsweek magazine and picked up by newsreels in Europe and the United States.

In 1946, following graduation from A & I, she married William M. (Bill) Nance, who had returned from military service. That fall, Norene began a 35 year teaching career in the public schools in Taft, Texas. She moved to Austin in 1997 to be closer to her family.

Norene was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, in 1992.

She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law, Bill and Patrice of Austin and Bob and Norma of San Antonio, Texas; grandsons, Greg and Clay of Austin; Clay’s wife, Jill and daughters, Reese, Maddy and Kate; brother, Reverend A. A. Cummins, Jr. and wife Peggy of Georgetown, Texas; sister, Barbara Cave of Austin; favorite niece, Cathy Cartwright and husband, Jack of Austin; nephews, Reverend Mike Cave and wife Ginger of Hunt, Texas, Tom Cave and wife Cindy of Richardson, Texas, Jim Cummins and wife Cathy of Georgetown and Tim Cummins and wife Cathy of Atlanta, Georgia.

Visitation will be Sunday, March 22, 2015, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Colonial Funeral Home Chapel, Taft. Funeral Service will be 10:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 2015, at First United Methodist Church of Taft, where Norene sang for decades in the choir and served on the Pulpit Committee. Burial will follow at The Palms Memorial Gardens, Portland.

The family wishes to thank the kind and caring staffs of the Continental, The Medical Team, and Hospice Austin for their loving care of Norene.

Please join us in celebrating Norene’s life by visiting our Memorial at