Remembering Nancy Zieman - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Remembering Nancy Zieman

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BEAVER DAM (WKOW) -- She's a national icon who will be sorely missed. Nancy Zieman passed away Tuesday morning after her battle with cancer, and now those closest to her are remembering the pioneer. 

She led the way in the sewing industry and over the past three decades, hundreds of people took part in "Sewing with Nancy," the show she hosted on PBS. It was the longest running sewing series on television, dating back to 1982. 

"She was a person full of grace, humility and compassion," said Mike Schuster, who worked for Zieman for years at her Nancy's Notions store in Beaver Dam. 

For Schuster, along with Lynn Helbing who also works at the store, Tuesday meant losing a friend. 

"She was so close and impacted so many people here that I just think there's a lot of heart broken people," added Schuster.

She was a household name to many, but to herself, she was just a local. 

"She also would come in on Saturdays and forget who she is and just shop like a normal customer and then people would turn around and there would be Nancy Zieman shopping for fabric," said Helbing as she noted some fellow customers would be starstruck. 

From machine embroidery, to strip by strip patchwork quilts, she taught hundreds of techniques to thousands of people. 

Zieman published books and also taped dozens of DVDs. But what set Nancy apart was her ability to teach anyone how to sew, even those who had no experience.

She also held create the Quilt Expo in 2005. It's held in Madison and draws in more than 20,000 people from across the country.

Outside of her work, according to friends, she taught Sunday school at her church and was a member of the local YMCA. 

"How she came across on TV was very similar to how she was as a person in real life," said Schuster.

A Wisconsin legend who stitched together a legacy that she now leaves behind.

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