Nancy (Cordwell) Elser

June 29, 1942 ~ December 14, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Nancy Elser Obituary

Nancy Cordwell Elser, a woman of indomitable strength, grace, and dedication, peacefully departed this world on December 14, 2023. Nancy's life exemplified resilience, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to both family and community. 

Born on June 29, 1942, in Fallsington, PA, to Horace Gilbert Cordell and Eleanore Kellett Cordwell. In 1964, she entered a lifelong union of love and partnership with William Christopher Elser Sr. 

She is predeceased by her husband William C. Elser Sr in 1978., survived by her sister-in-law Barbara R. Elser, Philadelphia, PA, her son William C. Elser Jr and his wife Lori, New Ringgold, PA, Susan M. Elser and her fiancée Paul Hernandez, East Stroudsburg, PA, and her son Robert G. Elser, Orwigsburg, PA.  

Nancy's legacy is forever entwined with the love and pride she had for her three children—William C Elser Jr, Susan M. Elser, and Robert G. Elser. Her six grandchildren—Kayleigh, Karissa, Jarrett, Kiera, Kylie, and Kasi—were a continual source of joy and pride. She was proud of her expanding family when Kayliegh married Ryan Lee and was happy to hear of her great-grandchild “on the way”, Karissa who married Larry Williams and was equally excited for Jarrett's engagement to Courtney Holley.

Nancy's educational journey began at Pennsbury High School, culminating in her graduation in 1960. Her passion for caring for others led her to Mercer Hospital School of Nursing, where she earned her Registered Nurse certification in 1963.  

Her relentless pursuit of knowledge led her to Missouri University of Science & Technology for paint manufacturing courses, and she further honed her business acumen at Penn State University, specializing in management and marketing. These endeavors laid the groundwork for her eventual role as the president and owner of Unichem Coatings Co. 

Nancy faced a pivotal moment in her life when she assumed full duties at Unichem Coatings Co. starting in 1974 following the untimely illness and then the passing of her husband in 1978. Her leadership and determination guided the company to success, a testament to her resilience and business acumen. 

Having called various places home, including Yardley, PA, Doylestown, PA, St. Ann, Missouri, Baltimore, MD, and settling in New Ringgold, PA since 1966. Nancy's interests were as diverse as her life's journey. She found joy in making stained glass, gardening, spending time in Stone Harbor, NJ, baking, hosting informal dinner parties at her "Valley Acres" farm, and cultivating a love for the symphony. Her commitment to community service, however, was what truly set her apart. 

Nancy was a graduate of Schuylkill Counties first Penn State Master Gardeners program in 2001 and had a deep love for her family and home where she utilized her Master Gardener skills and highlighted her deep connection to nature. She cherished sunsets especially at her home in Stone Harbor, NJ. She genuinely enjoyed the changing seasons through her large kitchen windows and shared her gardening knowledge generously through her ongoing volunteer work with the Penn State Master Gardener organization. Nancy received the Laurel award in 2016 for her dedicated service to the Master Gardeners program and events. She tirelessly participated in the Harvard Medical school Nurses' Health study since 1976 furthering the knowledge of women's health issues through her dedication and loyal participation.  

Nancy's numerous accomplishments were a source of considerable pride for her. She served on the Board of Directors of the Manufacturers Association of Mid-eastern Pennsylvania (starting in 1977, serving as secretary from 1979-1981, and as president from 1981-1985) continuing her service through 2007 and at the Pennsylvania National Bank from 1982, eventually becoming Chairperson in 1993. Her involvement extended to the boards of the Schuylkill Ethnic & Cultural Association (starting in 1992), and the Pottsville Hospital & Warne Clinic (starting in 1995 and serving through 2008). During her service in 2003 she was also appointed to the Customer Satisfaction Team at Pottsville Hospital.  

Additionally, she played key roles in the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, starting in 1978, serving on the Board of Directors since 1982, and as president from 1992-1993. Nancy contributed to the Facilities Development Committee for the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts starting in 1989 and was a board member for the Schuylkill Symphony Orchestra from 1987-1988. Her commitment to community service extended to serving on the board of directors for the Easter Seal Society from 1983-1985. 

In May 1990, Nancy was honored with the Athena award as Schuylkill County's first "Businesswoman of the Year." She was a member of the Philadelphia Society for Coating Technology, the Chemical Coaters Association, and a charter member of the National Women in Coatings Organization. 

In 2001, Nancy was appointed to the Pottsville Hospital School of Nursing Advisory Committee Board of Directors and then served as chairperson from 2002 through 2016. Additionally in 2002 she served on the advisory committee to David Argall, majority caucus chairperson, PA House of Representatives. In 2003 she received a Service Award from the Manufacturers' Association for 25 years of service on the MAMP Board. She continued her unrelenting service to her community and served on the advisory committee for the Schuylkill Master Gardeners starting in 2004. Also, in 2004, Nancy was appointed to the Manufacturing steering committee and became chairperson of the Home Health Committee at Pottsville Hospital continuing her duties through 2016. Additionnally, in 2005, Nancy celebrated 25 years as a Philadelphia Society for Coatings Technology member. In 2016, Nancy was awarded for her 15 years of service teaching through the Master Gardener program. 

In addition to being a successful businesswoman, Nancy was a pillar of strength for her family and a cherished friend to many. Her deep appreciation for those around her was reflected in her gratitude for the dear friends who surrounded her, creating a rich tapestry of memories, kindness, and a lasting legacy. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hillside SPCA, Pottsville, PA, in Nancy's honor and in memory of her favorite feline companions, Kitty Kitty and Torti Pie. A memorial gathering to celebrate Nancy's extraordinary life will be held on Tuesday evening, Dec. 19th,  from  5 - 8 PM at Hamilton-Breiner Funeral Home, Inc. in Orwigsburg, PA.  Interment will be private. Though she may be gone, her spirit lives on in the hearts of those fortunate enough to know and love her. 


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Celebration of Life Gathering
December 19, 2023

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Hamilton-Breiner Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc.
116 South Liberty Street
Orwigsburg, PA 17961


Hillside SPCA
PO Box 233, Pottsville PA 17901


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