Nancy Joan Opitz (born Guynn, formerly McCandless), 85, of Grove City, PA died January 31, 2021 at home, from complications of pancreatic cancer. She was born on August 28, 1935 to Charles Forest and Bernice Irene (Ladds) Guynn in Royal Oak, MI. She had 4 siblings, Gerald Guynn, Joyce Greenlee (deceased), Beverly McCartney (deceased), and Brian Guynn. She lived most of her life in Mercer County, with short stays in Ashtabula and Canton, OH. She had many much-loved nieces and nephews over several generations.
She married George McCandless, and they had a happy and love-filled life together until his death in 1997. Their boys, and the daughters-in-law they brought into the family, David W. McCandless (Linda), Shawn E. McCandless (Christine), and Jason P. McCandless (Tamara) were with her during the last few weeks of life. Another son, Mark Allan McCandless, died at age 2 years from a congenital heart malformation. In 2003 Nancy was blessed a second time when she fell in love with, and married, H. Bruce Opitz, and they together created their own version of the Brady Bunch. She enjoyed the love and companionship of 3 new daughters to join her 3 sons and their families. Her daughters are Jane (Opitz) Waxenfelter, Melinda (Opitz) Mckeel (who died in 2019), and Nancy (Opitz) Newman. Her grandchildren were an on-going source of joy, and her love for them was deeply felt up to, and through, her final visits and video chats with them over the past few weeks. They are Emily, Hannah, and Rose McCandless; Ethan, Eamon, and Meredith McCandless; Ben, Sarah, Laura, and Tim Waxenfelter; Julie and Tyler McKeel; and Sam, Daniel, and Erica Newman. Always taking delight in the children, over the past 15 years she dearly loved her great-grandchildren, Connor, Clara, David, James, Wesley, Lucy, Indi, Aidan, Ila.
Nancy had a strong Christian faith that sustained her and brought her comfort over the years. She was the first to point out that she was not perfect, and the grace of God that she experienced was important to share with everyone around her. Reading the bible, devotionals, and most anything else she could lay her hands on, was her favorite pastime. She was a part of many faith communities over the years, most recently at the Lakeview United Methodist Church, in Sandy Lake, PA. She also had strong political beliefs (which only had room for the Republican party, although she happily counted both sinners and Democrats among her friends), and was a fixture at the Republican Party booth at the Stoneboro Fair for many years.
Her grandchildren knew her as a loving and adoring grandmother who would drive anywhere to see them (even occasionally flying, if absolutely necessary), often with a big pan of “green stuff”, a jello-based food popular with the pre-school crowd.
She was modern and traditional at the same time, raising a family with modest resources, although she made her kids feel rich. She had deeply traditional values, but was open to listening to other points of view (although she rarely changed her mind!). Nancy modeled for her children (and nieces and nephews, and Sunday School students, and youth group kids, and anyone else who needed some motherly love and guidance) how to make the right decision, even when it was really hard to do that. She cared deeply for God, family, and her community.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Black Funeral Home of Sandy Lake.
Out respect for the safety of all during the COVID-19 pandemic, funeral services led by Rev. Janet Pratt will be limited to immediate family. Details for the livestream of the service are available on the Black Funeral Home website (www.blackfuneralhomes.net) or the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/blackfuneralhome) . She will be buried next to George at the Union Home Cemetery near Grove City.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to The Gideons International (https://www.gideons.org) with whom she and Bruce were active; the not for profit organization in Uganda directed by her grand-daughter, The Recreation Project (https://www.therecreationproject.org); Lakeview United Methodist Church (https://www.methodistsunitedinfaith.org); Samaritan’s Purse (https://www.samaritanspurse.org); or Heifer International (https://www.heifer.org).
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.BlackFuneralHomes.net