Longtime Montecito resident and well-known local artist Nancy Lawrence Southard passed away peacefully at her home on Jan. 24, 2023, surrounded by her loving family.
Born in Walnut Creek, California, on Oct. 13, 1933, Nancy was a beloved member of the Santa Barbara community for the past six decades.
She was an avid horsewoman and a prolific artist.
She met her handsome rancher husband Clayton Southard when in high school. And for both of them, that was it — love eternal.
They shared a mutual zest for life, and a passion for things from the exciting San Francisco’s jazz music scene to their love for riding — and family. They married in 1953, upon Clayton’s return from the Korean War.
In 1961 the newlyweds settled in Montecito, where Clayton was offered an engineering position at E.G&G. (Edgerton, Germeshausen, and Grier).
Nancy and Clayton purchased a perfect property in the semi-rural community, where they could keep their horses, build a corral, and teach their children to ride.
In 1967, Clayton was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He tragically died after a brief battle with the disease, leaving Nancy to raise their three children Paula, Sally and new baby Clayton, Jr.
In this period, Nancy rallied to continue her education, and earned a BFA from UCSB in art history and studio art in 1970. She devoted her professional life to art, thereafter.
In the 1980s, Nancy transformed her horse barn into an art studio from which she taught classes in oil painting. She also spent time traveling in Europe and Asia.
Nancy was a member of El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Calvary Chapel in Santa Barbara, and treasured her friends in the Al-Anon community.
Nancy was a member of the Santa Barbara Art Association and the Oil Painters of America, and developed many lasting friendships within those groups.
Nancy always felt blessed to live in such a beautiful place as Montecito, and to have held on to the same property she had chosen all those years ago. It became a sanctuary for many, a place of peace and serenity — for art, friends and family.
Nancy Southard is survived by her children daughter Paula Leary and son-in-law Terry, Sally Hanseth and son-in-law Jay; son Clayton Southard; and grandchildren Kathleen and Kelly Leary, and Dylan and Clay Hanseth.
God Bless you, beautiful Mom. We are so happy to know you are now reunited with your family in Heaven, no doubt welcoming you with a host of angels singing your praises, as we are doing here. Until we meet again.
A celebration of Nancy’s life will be at 1 p.m. March 18 at El Montecito Presbyterian Church.
Remembrance tributes can be sent to VNA Health, whose compassionate services Nancy gratefully received in her last months of life.