11/15/17 – Nancy Notion’s founder Nancy Zieman is being remembered as an inspirational entrepreneur and supporter of arts in the community. Zieman died Tuesday at her home in Beaver Dam surrounded by family after a long battle with bone cancer. The 64-year-old was the host of North America’s longest running sewing show “Sewing With Nancy” on Wisconsin Public Television, which has been airing since 1982. In 1979, Zieman founded Nancy’s Notions, a mail order business based in Beaver Dam that became a major outlet for sewing and quilting enthusiasts.
Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce President Phil Fritsche called Zieman “an extraordinary entrepreneur who has left a permanent legacy in both the company that she founded and the international event she created that draws thousands to Beaver Dam every year.” Fritsche says Zieman was “truly a talented and savvy business woman who never forgot where she came from.” He also noted her financial support to nonprofits in the community which he notes is also a part of her permanent legacy.
The longtime conductor of the Beaver Dam Area Orchestra also noted her generosity with the arts. Orchestra Conductor Rich Zeman shares the same name, phonetically, as Nancy’s husband. Musician Rich Zeman told us Tuesday on WBEV’s Community Comment that the two would often get each other’s phone calls by accident. Eventually, that led to the couples having dinner and becoming friends. Listen here:
Nancy’s Notions General Manager Mike Schuster calls Zieman’s passing “a profound loss” adding that “she was more than an educator and entrepreneur. She was [a] friend…who served as an inspiration.” Schuster says Nancy’s spirit will always be at the core of the company.
Nancy’s Notions Warehouse Manager John Nickel of Beaver Dam says he is grateful to Nancy and her husband for giving him a chance to work for them saying that he (quote) “would not be where [he] is today if not for them.”
The Tacony Corporation of St Louis purchased the company in 2003, and Nancy stayed on as the company’s chief spokesperson, teacher, and creative voice. Nancy’s Notion’s Sewing Weekend in May has brought thousands of people to Beaver Dam from all over the world. She also had a hand in the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, an event that draws more than 20-thousand people to Madison each September. Zieman announced her retirement in September, more than two years after she developed cancer.
The 2017-2018 season of Sewing with Nancy will run in its entirety, showcasing a mix of new programming that was taped prior to Nancy’s retirement this fall and encore presentations of some of the most popular topics from past seasons. Wisconsin Public Television will air her final episode on Thanksgiving night at 7pm. It was recorded with her granddaughters and features child-friendly sewing.
In lieu of cards and flowers, donations may be made in Nancy’s name to Wisconsin Public Television or to a local hospice organization.