Shelley Ann Theno

Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2009

Former Juneau resident Dr. Shelley Ann Theno died March 5, 2009, in Anchorage from colon cancer. She was 51.

She was born June 13, 1957, in Pordenone, Italy, to Betty, of Ireland and England, and Archibald "Scotty" Hendren, of Scotland. She graduated from Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1975.

She met her husband, Steve, when he was a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He talked her into coming back to Anchorage with him, and they were married March 12, 1976. Although she grew up Outside, Shelley was truly an Alaskan at heart and instantly fell in love with the vastness and beauty of Alaska's mountains and water, her family said.

Her family said she was passionate about many things, but none so much as education. She received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a master's and doctorate degree in social psychology from the University of Kansas in 1996.

She was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Alaska Southeast from 1998 to 2003 and a tenured associate professor at UAA and Kenai Peninsula College since 2003.

"Dr. Theno was an inspiration to both her colleagues and her students," her family said. "She was known for encouraging them to succeed but challenging them to the highest academic standards. She considered it a great honor when her students presented her with a plaque thanking her for her devotion and commitment to them and her profession."

She also had a great passion for travel. She traveled throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and across the United States. She cruised the Panama Canal, scaled the Sydney Harbor Bridge, drove across her homeland of Ireland with her mother and daughter, climbed the leaning Tower of Pisa and ran the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

She loved castles, game night, reading historical novels, kayaking, research and statistics, going to the movies, Circus Peanuts (the candy), learning to ride a motorcycle, "Law & Order," Pepsi (into her 30s) and then Dr. Pepper, Seawolf hockey (she was a devoted 25-year fan), and riding through the waves at the bow of a boat during stormy weather. But most of all, she enjoyed great friends and the chance for a robust discussion.

She is survived by her husband, Steve Theno; and daughter, Seneca Theno, both of Anchorage; and friends and family all around the world.

A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 29, in Anchorage at O'Malley's on the Green. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Dr. Shelley A. Theno Psychology Scholarship Fund via the National Donation List at any Wells Fargo bank.

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