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Ann Davies-Nesbitt remembered for her zest for life

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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When Ann Davies-Nesbitt met her husband Keith Nesbitt at a party in 1987, she thought he was taken. "I was with a friend who had a ring on her finger," Keith Nesbitt said. "And I thought she was very attractive, but saw her hanging around with this other guy - so I thought for sure she was taken too." After the two each realized the other was available, they talked a lot at the party at an apartment of a friend in Huntington Beach. "I chased her around the party," Nesbitt said. "And she told me the next day that if I hadn't have asked her out she was going to shove a piece of paper with her phone number on it in my pocket. But she didn't have to. I did ask her out." The two formed an immediate bond and were married in July 1990 at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley. They moved to Auburn two weeks later. Nesbitt lost the love of his life on Sunday, after Ann's five-year battle with cancer. "I am going to miss everything about her," Keith Nesbitt said Wednesday. "There isn't a quarter of the house or a part of this town we haven't made a memory in." Davies-Nesbitt was born in Walnut Creek on Feb. 25 1955. She attended Walnut Creek High School before attending Humbolt State University, where she studied Native American History before moving to the Los Angeles area in the late 1970s. In the late 1980s, she was trained as a transportation coordinator and helped create the Rideshare and Vanpool programs for all Nordstrom stores in Southern California. She was a member of Association for Commuter Transportation, a national transportation organization, and received several awards for her commitment to reducing congestion and pollution. After moving to Auburn with her husband, she worked as the employee alternative transportation coordinator at UC Davis. She loved collecting birdhouses, teapots, baskets, quilt fabric and beads. She loved to watch the birds feed in her garden and would get excited every time she saw a dragonfly. In 1994, the Nesbitts gave birth to a son, Dylan, now 13. In February 2004, Davies-Nesbitt was diagnosed with breast cancer that later spread to tumors in her brain and eventually her spine. She expressed her appreciation for her husband's support in an August 2005 Journal article promoting the now-complete Sutter Auburn Faith Infusion Center. "My husband is a saint. He took time off from working and took me to every single appointment," Ann Davies-Nesbitt told the Journal in 2005. "He'd sit with me and cry outside the door when I was throwing up. He's the best caretaker in the world." Friends of Davies-Nesbitt describe her as passionate, supportive, inspiring and sincere. Many in the Auburn community were touched by Davies-Nesbitt, the high-profile wife of a city councilman but a leader in her own way as well. "There is a song I sing every morning to her that goes, 'When you walk through a storm hold your head up high and don't be afraid of the dark,'" said friend Linda Robinson. "And I think that's a song we all need to think about." Robinson said she has known Davies-Nesbitt for the past 10 years. "She was always grateful, always encouraging and always inspiring," Robinson said. "Whoever Annie touched will be inspired to help others. I still feel her - it is so hard for me to imagine she is gone. I love that girl and I feel lucky to have known her." Dr. Jonathan Hake met Davies-Nesbitt when she was first diagnosed with cancer. "The amazing thing about Annie was her ability to live life while not denying the looming probability of death," Hake said. "She was incredibly brave - she continued to live well and she continued to work. She wanted to be there for her son, Dylan, and her husband, Keith. She was a pretty remarkable lady." Roberta Devine, Davies-Nesbitt's co-worker at UC Davis and friend of 16 years, said Davies-Nesbitt was dedicated to her job and her family. "Ann and I had an instant connection," Devine said. "She had that kind of personality. She believed in what she was doing. I am just going to miss her smile and hearing her voice every day." The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.
Memorial service and donations
A memorial service for Ann Davies-Nesbitt will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 3 at Lassila Funeral Home in Auburn. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations can be made to her cancer support group at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital. Checks can be made out to the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation and sent to 11815 Education Street in Auburn, 95602. A notation should be made on the donation that it is to be used specifically for the Sutter Auburn Faith Cancer Support Group in memory of Ann Davies-Nesbitt.