GREEN RIVER — Nancy Jo Raso Eklund, 67, passed away Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, at her home suddenly and peacefully. She was a resident of Green River for the past 47 years and a former resident of Minnesota.
Mrs. Eklund was born on Aug. 18, 1952, in Austin, Minnesota, the daughter of Joseph Raso and Rose Marie Fries.
She attended schools in Minnesota and was a 1970 graduate of Pacelli High School. Nancy also obtained a bachelor's degree in physical education and special education from Saint Cloud State University as well as a master's degree in early childhood development and special education from the University of Northern Colorado.
She married Byron Eklund in Jackson Hole on Aug. 10, 1984.
Teaching was Nancy's true purpose and passion. Mrs. Eklund worked as a physical education teacher for Sweetwater County School District No. 2 for 43 years until her retirement in 2017.
Nancy was the executive director of the Wyoming Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPHERD) from 1996 to 2019, and although there were many, a few of her favorite accomplishments and associations include Shape America, Disney Teacher of the Year in 1996, Fuel Up to Play, American Heart Association, Jump Rope for Heart/ Hoops for Heart, Wellness Director, PEP Grant Director, Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport, and Wyoming Health Standards Writing Team.
To Nancy everyone was her family, and to everyone she felt like home. Her favorite thing was to be around her husband, kids, grandchildren, and all of the extended family and friends that constantly filled her heart and home with joy, where everyone loved to join together for her unmatched and authentic Italian cooking. She grew up a champion competitive swimmer, so anywhere near or in the water made her feel young again. Simple things like sitting in an Adirondack Chair, listening to Kenny Chesney, a good book with an ice cold margarita (or two) was the good life to her.
She loved that she was able to see the world, traveling all over -- (she visited every baseball field she could), but coming home to summer days at the Flaming Gorge or fall days to camping in the mountains is where she felt true bliss.
Survivors include her husband Byron Eklund of Green River; son Chip Eklund and wife Sara of Morrison, Colorado; two grandchildren Boston Eklund and Bo Eklund; daughter Lauren Eklund of New York, New York; brother Michael Raso and wife Barbara of Austin, Minnesota; sister Christine Raso and husband Dr. Gary Ludwig of Neenah, Wisconsin; uncle Andrew Fries and wife Donna of Quincy, Illinois; as well as several cousins, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and brother-in-law Robert E. Neely.
Following cremation, a celebration of life will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, at Green River High School, 1615 Hitching Post Drive, Green River. Friends may call at the high school one hour prior to services.
The family respectfully requests that donations in Nancy's memory be made to WAHPHERD or SHAPE America. Donations may be sent to 705 Easy St., Green River, WY 82935. Condolences may be left at www.vasefuneralhomes.com.