Vivian Renshaw


Posted: Friday, February 16, 2007

Pioneer businesswoman Vivian Renshaw, 97, died Feb. 8, 2007, in her home in Juneau.

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She was born Oct. 7, 1909, in Seattle. She graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle and was trained in the use of business machines prior to her move to Juneau in 1934. She worked for Behrends and First National Banks, the U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Laundry before she married Marshall Erwin in 1937.

She and Erwin opened Case Lot Grocery on South Franklin Street in 1938. Twenty years later they expanded the store and renamed it Erwin's Supermarket.

In 1963, they expanded their grocery business to the Mendenhall valley with Glacier Village IGA, and later a mall and other buildings now known as Airport Shopping Center. This was the first shopping center in the Valley-Auke Bay area. They later began to develop the Mendenhall Shopping Center, opening the grocery store there shortly after Marshall's death in 1973. Vivian sold the two grocery stores and the Mendenhall Mall after Marshall's death.

She and Marshall were leaders in Eastern Star, Masons and the Juneau Chamber of Commerce. Over many years, she was active in the Quota Club, Salvation Army and PEO. She served on the Board of the Salvation Army for 25 years. She has been an active member of the Chapel by the Lake for about forty years.

She married longtime Juneau pilot, Ray Renshaw in 1979. She and Ray spent 20 years together in Juneau. Both lost their spouses to cancer before they married each other. They sponsored oncology seminars for local nurses and contributed to the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Ray passed in January 2000. During the last 25 years, she continued her role as financial officer of Airport Shopping Center.

According to her family, she was a warm and beautiful person with a bubbling sense of humor and keen sense of style and sophistication. She was a fine storyteller, they said. She was able to evoke Juneau life over the past 70 years with humor and charm. She will be sorely missed by all her family and friends.

She is survived by her daughters, Marsha Bennett, of Juneau, and Linda Androes and her husband, Louis, of Silverton, Ore.; step daughter, Diana Netherland and her husband, John, of Ketchikan; and six grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

Family can be reached at P.O. Box 3-2311, Juneau, 99803. Contributions in her name could be made to the local Salvation Army

A celebration of her life was on Feb. 15 at Chapel by the Lake. A reception followed at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in her name to the Salvation Army.

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