Mr. Nance,
An old friend from Jefferson passed me your e-mail address and I immediately wanted to write you a "fan" letter. After almost 40 years, you are one of the very few teachers from Jefferson I remember (literally) and remember fondly. Yours was the only history class I took in high school (20th Century US History) and to this day, what I know of the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression can be traced back to that class.

You inspired me. For a decade I wanted to be a teacher because of you. Unfortunatelly, I lacked your talent and skills, and the sea of life has washed me up on a shore far from teaching. I make a living working as a linguist for the Department of Defense, living in Maryland now for over 20 years.

You might remember my older brother Guy Lent. He certainly remembers you. Guy lives in Renton, Washington, outside of Seattle.

I hear you are connected with the Jefferson High School centennial. I am sure there are many who have positive feelings about the place, so I hope the event goes well for you. My Father and Mother were both Jefferson alums. Unfortunately, both of them passed on in the 70s.

Anyway, God bless you Ancil Nance. May he smile on all of your endeavors!

Zach Lent


Hi Ancil,
What a great surprise to run across these photos on the web. A thousand thoughts have flooded my mind since seeing them. First, thank you for going through the trouble to post them. It has been truly awesome looking at them and enjoying the memories they conjure up. I am 53 now and truly only remember a very few of my high school teachers, you are the one I remember best. You had a huge impact on me. I remember the climbs we all went on and it instilled the feeling in me that anything and everything is possible. Funny how seemingly small things can have such a life altering effect. For that I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

I hope this doesn't bore you but I would like to give you a brief biography since leaving Adams and Portland. I went to University for 2 years with the goal of becoming a doctor. Had a chance to join my father in a new business and decided to go down that route. The goal I had created for myself was to be free. I felt that the only way to be free was to create enough wealth so that money would not be the determiner in all my decisions. That actually was why I had chosen to be a doctor. Anyway, at the ripe old age of 32 I sold the business for a lot of money and retired for the first time. By this time I was married to my 4th wife (which I have been happily married to now for 25 years) and have a daughter and 2 sons. We both had an urge to travel so we went to Australia and the S. Pacific for about a year. Our 2 YO son went with us. We came back to the US and settled in Carmel CA for a few years until we decided to move again. This time we moved to Florence for a year then to Paris for about a year. Wanderlust hit again so we moved back to the US and settled in Philadelphia for about 3 years.

I attended the University of Pennsylvania but decided that getting a degree was not for me. You see, I always hated for people to tell me what classes to take, what to think and how to do things. A true weakness of mine. From Philly we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico for about 10 years. Another beautiful place. We developed some land and built buildings and stuff. hated that so only did it for a few years. I home schooled my son all through high school and as part of his education we went on an 18 month trip around the world. That was great. We were in Zimbabwe on 9/11/01. We later went north to Egypt, that was an experience! They truly hate us (all Westerners). Anyway, Aaron, our son, applied to and was accepted at the University of Iowa. He asked us if we would like to live in Iowa City for awhile so we said why not? Nice place but the winters are tough.

My wife and I bought a pet store so we would have something to do and we did really well with it. Sold it about a year ago and drove around the country for about 6 months. We didn't make it up to the Pac NW, should have. We are now in Dallas again and looking to buy another business but with our son this time. He is a really great young man, makes us proud. We want to help him achieve some of what we have done.

We have pretty much lived life on our own terms, having worked really hard but only in spurts. I have been very successful in my business ventures but used them to achieve my goals instead of allowing them to be my goals. I had a first hand role in raising my son and have fiercely loved my wife. I have traveled to 46 of the states and about 65 countries on 5 continents. We have seen a lot of stuff and thought a lot of thoughts. I have taken 25,000 photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Life has been good to us and we have seized what was possible. I bet you did not know that taking some snot nosed kids and stoners up some cliffs and snow covered mountains would help them to realize that they can live life on their own terms. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Your Friend, Tom Roffman


Hey Ancil,

I found your stuff on the web when I wanted to show my 16-year-old son what Keith Lee Becker looked like when we voted him up as our Rose Princess for John Adams High. Didn't find that, but I did run across your name and e-mail. Very cool.

I doubt if you remember me. But what the hey, I remember you. I was a freshman at John Adams in 1970, and in the spring you ran a 4-day canoe trip down the Willamette from Independence to Oregon City with about 15 of us. We were soaking wet the whole time, and it was a great experience. My first time with a paddle in my hands.

It turned me into a life-long paddler. By the next year, I had saved enough money from my part time job as a janitor at Meier and Franks to buy a 17 foot Grumman which has taken me into some wonderful wild places ever since, and I keep a small fleet of kayaks in addition to that old beater, and am on the water often -- even in January, in Wisconsin, where I have to crack through the ice on the river banks to get out to the fast water.

As someone who ended up in the education field myself, I have thought of you often over the years in terms of your impact as a great teacher, especially for high school boys, in that you got a lot of us out doing things that became lifelong skills or pursuits. Climbing, Paddling, Photography, all that. And mostly extra-curricular, so out of your own hide. Good job, Ancil!

After 3 years at Adams I quit, because I thought it was a bogus educational experience. (I am not saying I did not have fun - all of us parkies had a great time out there), but I did feel a little under-challenged and bored. By then you were gone, I believe.

So I quit, and worked for a year, then took my GED, and started college in Eugene. That worked out for me. I turned into a German professor and did that for several years, lived and worked in Germany and Austria for a while, and later moved from German professordom into international education, and that gig has been excellent. I travel all over the world, and get to see fascinating places and learn from an amazing range of cultures. And get to share that with my students and colleagues.

Anyway - thanks for getting me and a bunch of other young kids into some very cool activities, and for being a good role model. You had a solid and positive impact on us.

And I still have a North Paranoid Climbing Club poster hanging on my wall, 2000 miles from Portland.


Fritz Markgraf