By Linda Andersen
Nancy Lysford says she is “completing the circle” as she returned in May to employment as a social worker in Hallock – the place where she first worked as a nurse’s aide way back in high school and where she later began her career as a social worker.
The former Nancy Wilebski is a 1975 graduate of Lancaster High School. She earned a two-year degree in children and family services from the University of Minnesota Crookston, a four-year degree in family relationships from the University of Minnesota Minneapolis, and eventually a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota Minneapolis.
After attaining her bachelor’s degree, Nancy was hired by Kittson Memorial when the new nursing home opened. Her role at that time was to work with Ruth Gustafson and Marilyn Burton in “coordinating the move.” She then began duties as a social worker at Kittson Memorial, working there summers and holidays as she pursued her master’s degree in the Twin Cities.
Her husband, Doug Lysford, also has Kittson County roots; he’s from Kennedy. She provides some history on their surname, saying that the name “Lysfjord” comes from Norway. At one time, all the relatives spelled their name with the “j” until one family member’s name was spelled incorrectly (Lysford) when he went into the service. So today, some branches of the family use the surname Lysford and others Lysfjord.
Doug and Nancy lived and worked in several parts of the United States (Montana, Kansas, and the Twin Cities area) before returning to Kittson County. Most recently Nancy worked as a social worker at the nursing home in Karlstad.
Today she works mainly in the nursing home in Hallock, but also spends some time in the hospital. CNA Brian Hanson assists her.
In describing her position as a social worker she says, “You look at the whole picture – home, family…You look at a problem or barriers to something and resources to fix it.”
She finds particular satisfaction in helping individuals and their families at life’s end, saying it is “privilege” to assist at that time to “ease the situation.”
Nancy has experienced challenges in her many years in the social work field. As she points out, she is “always working with issues.”
“Adult and child protection issues in the metro were very challenging,” she says.
She adds that state regulations and insurance companies can also make her job difficult.
When Nancy is not working, she enjoys reading (“I’m a classics fan,” she says) and traveling. Her travels have included England, Belgium, and South Korea as her and Doug’s children have lived in those places for periods of time.
Nancy and Doug have three children – Kyle is married and works for Wells Fargo in downtown Minneapolis. Collin lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he works for Epic Software. Kelsey also lives in Madison and works with software for credit unions.
As for Nancy, she seems to be happy to be back in Hallock. What are her plans for the future? “I’m sure I’ll be here ‘til I retire,” she says.
By Linda Andersen