Local Catholic high school fixture, Sr. Nancy Perlick, RSM, known for her quiet competence on and off the field, died Dec. 11, 2015. She was 71.
Sr. Nancy was an educator at Xavier College Preparatory for two decades, in addition to being the associate director of activities and athletics at the all-girls private school. She worked closely with Sr. Lynn Winsor, BVM, athletic director.
Never one for the spotlight, Sr. Nancy worked tirelessly behind the scenes on the girls’ athletic programs; coordinating all athletic events, invitationals, and tournaments hosted at Xavier.
“She was very kind, reserved, but extremely competent,” said Sr. Patricia Gehling, SSND, coordinator of ministry at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Scottsdale. “Sr. Nancy liked being in the background so the two of them were a great complement to each other.”
Sr. Nancy’s legacy is vast and wide; she helped design Xavier’s Petznick Field, she announced the home softball, basketball and volleyball games and planned the annual commencement ceremonies.
She also represented Xavier at Arizona Interscholastic Association meetings, wrote articles for national publications, interviewed prospective coaches, spearheaded game-day programs and wrote Xavier’s coaching handbook.
Originally from Chicago, Sr. Nancy was the oldest of three children of Gene R. Perlick and Joanne Olender Perlick. The family later moved to the Los Angeles area where she attended St. Paul’s High School in Santa Fe Springs.
After graduating, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame in 1963 and professed vows in 1966.
Sr. Nancy received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1970, and served in healthcare for the next 25 years, including St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.
Sr. Nancy received her master’s degree from the University of Washington in 1983, and worked 10 years as an administrator at Barrow Neurological Institute where the innovative programs and services she implemented still remain.
She served on numerous medical boards and committees, but never lost her love of sports and changed careers when she took a job at Xavier in 1995.
Sr. Nancy was a member of many athletic boards and committees, and a recipient of multiple national and state commendations and distinguished service awards.
In addition, she also served on several diocesan committees including the Council on Religious Life, Future Schools Task Force and as president of the Diocesan School Board. She was also a founding board member of Central Arizona Shelter Services.
Sports writers reflect on Sr. Nancy
All titles and affiliations aside, what Sr. Nancy will most be remembered for is her loving spirit.
Sophomore Sarah Goins said she vividly remembers Sr. Nancy. They met one year ago when she was registering, which she said was a frightening experience.
“But once I got to Sr. Perlick, she made me feel like I was the most important person there,” Goins said. “She was so welcoming and kind. I’ll always remember that.”
Sr. Nancy is survived by her sister Cynthia Hoffman, brother Terry Perlick, extended family, and her loving community of the Sisters of Mercy.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Dec. 18 at St. Francis Xavier Church, which was followed by a reception at Xavier College Preparatory Founders Hall.
Private burial was at St. Francis Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010, or to the Sister Nancy Perlick Scholarship Fund, Xavier College Preparatory, 4710 N. Fifth St., Phoenix, AZ 85012.