Nancy Ellen Brook

Nancy Ellen Brook

Nancy Ellen Brook was born in Manitoba. Nancy
exemplified a life of service to the other and she never stopped helping others. At her core, Nancy defined herself as a story teller. Nancy also deeply valued fairness, justice, equity and respect of others, and these values are well-reflected in the enduring legacy of her creative, commercial and citizen service.

Nancy’s childhood dream was to be a fighter pilot. She eventually conceded that that was a career door not yet available to women. Nancy recounted her mother’s disapproval as “If the good Lord had intended for you to fly, he would have given you wings.” So, in 1970, Nancy graduated as an X-Ray Technician from Winnipeg General Hospital, where she served as student body president, and in 1973, as a Radiotherapy Technologist with Cancer Care Manitoba. Nancy sustained her commitment to the healing of others over several decades through a holistic healing practice.

Nancy reflected in later life that after only five years of working with cancer patients, “at the age of 25 I was a young person who was better versed in issues of dying than I was in the issues of living. That was something that was a unique and sobering experience for a young person…, and back then it wasn’t … really the best way to live life to the fullest.” Nancy also reflected of this time, “My experiences in these professions gave me an
understanding of the fragility of life and the strength of the human spirit. I met some
truly incredible everyday heroes.”

Consequently, Nancy engaged in an early career redirection in Creative Communications (Radio, Television, and Print) at Red River College, where she was awarded the Canadian Broadcaster’s Award. For the next 44 years, Nancy excelled as a writer, director,
producer and creative force in Canadian commercial and educational television and
diverse corporate/enterprise media productions. Nancy contributed creative and
production leadership at Superchannel, MovieMax, and Family Channel. Nancy also led the unionizing of the technical and creative resources of Global Edmonton’s predecessor production workplace, contributing to workplace fairness and justice during an exciting period of rapid growth in western Canadian media.

Over three decades as an independent writer, producer and director Nancy contributed to award-winning television productions that aired nationally on CBC, CTV, Global, APTN, BC’s Knowledge Network, TV Ontario, and most recently, in 2021, The Awakeners series for AMI-tv Canada. Nancy was especially honoured to be the screenwriter for a documentary about legendary Canadian business journalist Peter C. Newman, which aired on Knowledge Network, and she spoke of that experience at times while sporting her signature black leather cap.

As a leading media educator, Nancy served as Script Development as well as Production Manager during a time of critical growth in ACCESS Television’s era as Alberta’s public educational broadcaster. Over more than two decades, Nancy also helped developed
regional Indigenous capacity as trainer and producer for Inuvialuit Communications Society in Inuvik, NWT. Nancy was a Canadian innovator in facilitating the raising of Indigenous voices in broadcast media, and she spent many wonderful hours recording the wisdom and life stories of Indigenous Elders from the Arctic to the US border, with many of those stories airing during the formative era of Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN).

Nancy taught writing and production at NAIT, and with her colleagues successfully
lobbied The World Bank to bring students from Kenya to Canada for television broadcast training. Nancy later served in a critical creative role with academic physicians and Indigenous knowledge keepers during Pallium Canada’s formative years, co-creating
innovative drama-based instructional videos, now used nationally with two generations of Canadian health care professionals, which thoughtfully explore how to communicate more effectively with patients about serious illness and dying.

Nancy was a beautiful poet, short- and long-form writer, and novelist. In 2015, Nancy partially fulfilled a dream of bringing her Métis hero Jessica Seeker to life in a serialized novel format, publishing her first novel, Jessica Seeker and the Ghost Walkers. Nancy’s novel has been widely-acclaimed by readers and it is grounded in complex themes that pre-date those emerging from Canada’s Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Nancy was an advocate and honest broker in the public interest for accountability and improved Quality of care at times when citizens are most vulnerable. Predeceased by her second husband and love of her life Arnold, Nancy tirelessly cared for Arnold over
several years as he gradually slipped away with progressive dementia. Nancy later
provided strategic communications and advocacy for caregivers at the provincial and federal levels. For more than a decade, and until well into her final year of life, Nancy was reappointed multiple times by Order-in-Council and served Albertans as an active Public Member of Hearing Tribunals for professional discipline and associated Administrative proceedings, where she was respected as principled and unwavering in her duty to help sustain the public interest of Albertans.

Nancy was guided by deep spirituality throughout her life. In later life, her Christian faith was re-kindled as she chose to enter the community of Salem Mennonite Church.

Nancy is a beautiful soul who will be deeply missed by those whose lives she touched in many and varied ways. Nancy leaves us with a hopeful example of service to the other, especially those living in positions of vulnerability and marginalization. Nancy has many loving friends, colleagues and associates who participated in her life, well-being and care over the years and who will dearly miss her, but who have been enriched by knowing her.

A memorial of Nancy’s life will be held at Salem Mennonite Church, 20 minutes
southeast of Tofield, Alberta at 49232 – Range Road 184, on Friday, June 24, 2022 at
11 am. All who knew Nancy are welcome to attend.
Please email if you will be attending.

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5 Condolences

Grant Wiens

I’m deeply saddened by Nancy’s passing. We will all miss her smile, her wonderful chuckle-laugh and most all her kindness and friendship. Rest In Peace my dear friend.

Jim Lees

I only knew Nancy for a short period of time as a colleague serving on hearing tribunals. She was always thoughtful in what she had to say, and I will miss her insight and sense of humor. My condolences to her family.

Laura Vinson

I am so very sorry to hear of Nancy’s passing. She will be sorely missed by many but more so by those close to her. It was such a great pleasure and honor to work with her on the Awakeners. She felt like a kindred soul who understood exactly what you were saying and was so great to work with.

Grace Brittain

I am deeply sorry to hear of Nancy’s passing. I worked with Nancy on many hearing tribunals and was always struck by her brilliant yet practical view on issues. Her perspective and commitment came from a place of a strong resilient spirit and life’s teachings. The public was indeed fortunate to have Nancy serving on tribunals ensuring accountability for all. I loved talking with her about her work and she had a bright light within her and a radiant smile when she spoke. She drew me in with her wonderful storytelling. I will think of Nancy often and hope her legacy lives forever in her teachings and media work through film, television, and the written word.

Mary Rankin

My dear sweet Nancy. My best friend and confidante, my guidance specialist, idea bouncer, laugh-until-we-cry, fellow life traveller, overall extraordinary and admirable dear friend. You will be forever missed. I don’t yet know what to do with the Nancy-shaped hole in my broken heart, but I know you will continue to help me be the best me I can be. You will never be far away from being a part of my decision-making and soul-searching. Your faith has been an inspiration to me and your wisdom has helped keep me calm when navigating through life’s storms. I am indeed broken-hearted but I do believe that you are waiting for me with your beautiful smile and open heart and we will laugh together again some day on another plane. Akal Akal Journey well.