DECATUR– For the second time in a week, the Decatur community has lost one of its pillars. Oasis Day Shelter director Nancy Rude lost her battle with ovarian cancer late Thursday night, she was 53 years old.
Rude will be remembered for her larger than life heart, which was evident by her 25 year career in the mental health and community service sector. Rude began her work at Heritage Behavioral Health 25 years ago as a case manager before moving up and eventually becoming the director of the OASIS Day Center in 1999.
“Nancy was one of a kind, I never met anybody like her before and I am pretty sure I’ll never meet anybody like her again,” Mary Kay Markwell, who worked with Rude at Heritage, said. “Nancy always put 100% of her effort into helping others and making sure everyone was living the best possible life for themselves.”
As the leader of Oasis, Rude oversaw Decatur’s largest homeless shelter, assisting up to as many as 80 unique visitors on a daily basis with things such as a hot meal, a shower, a place to stay cool or escape the cold, and maybe most importantly, Rude always went above and beyond to help an individual with whatever problems they were facing.
“So many times Nancy would go out and meet these people where they are, she never objected to going out on the street or into a park to help someone, she understood that not everybody wanted to be helped by coming into the shelter, and I think that’s what made her so unique,” Markwell added.
United Way executive director Debbie Bogle worked hand in hand with Rude for many years, as the Oasis was a regular beneficiary of United Way funding, “The thing I will remember most about Nancy is her desire to help people, it was second to none. Homelessness is a problem that doesn’t often get many resources thrown at it but Nancy never let that get to her, she always wanted to do more.”
“Nancy was one of the most hard working and dedicated people that I ever had the pleasure of knowing,” Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider said. “She did so many things for this community that I don’t even think people recognize, she never wanted the attention on her, she wanted everything to be about the Oasis and the people that they helped, this community has suffered another big, big loss.”
The funeral service for Rude is being held Monday morning at 11 a.m. at Illini Congregational Church in Warrensburg. No formal visitation was scheduled. Rude requested that all memorials be sent to the church, Oasis, or WUIS radio station.