Laura Avenell Shanks


Posted: Friday, January 26, 2007

Former Juneau resident Laura Avenell Shanks, 89, died Jan. 13, 2007, quietly in her sleep at home in Sun City, Ariz.

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Born Sept. 8, 1917, in Riverside, Wash., she was the oldest of six brothers and sisters and spent her childhood in Omak, Wash. In the early 1930s, her family moved to Anchorage. She also lived in Nome and Fairbanks, and raised her family in Juneau until 1993, when she moved to Sun City to be close to her sister, Bonnie, and enjoy the warmth and sunshine of Arizona.

Friends and family said she was a true Alaska pioneer; she was a woman of strength, integrity, perseverance and kindness and love for her family and friends.

She received numerous awards and recognition for her professional and volunteer work. She played a big part in establishing the hotel and restaurant employee's union in the territory of Alaska in the 1940s. She worked for the territorial government - state of Alaska, and retired in 1976 as the Department of Revenue chief cashier.

She was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Pioneers of Alaska, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Toastmasters and Soroptimist International and Bridge clubs. She traveled around the world on cargo ships with her late husband, Jesse Shanks, and loved to go on cruises with her family.

Family and friends said she will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her daughter, Barbara Paddock and her husband, Carl; grandchildren, Debbie Grundmann and her husband, Jerry, Kim Horn, Mitch Horn and his wife, Tina; grandchildren's father, Tom Horn; six great grandchildren, Alex and Alexis Grundmann, Ryan Martin, and Ashley, Jessie and Braeden Horn; sisters, Bonnie Poole-Yingling and Elsie Burton; brothers, Wayne Martin and Harry Lee Martin; and numerous nieces and nephews, including Janet and Ed Cavagnaro and David McDonld, of Juneau.

Services will be Jan. 30 in Sun City.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Hospice of the Valley, 9720 West Peoria, Suite #128, Peoria, AZ, 85345, or to her favorite animal charity, Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanah, Utah, 84741.

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