Nancy E.M. Shanley

Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lifetime Juneau resident Nancy E.M. (Niemi) Shanley died peacefully April 27, 2009, in her home. She was 77.

She was born in 1932 to Swedish parents at St. Ann's Hospital in Juneau. At the age of 3 she moved with her family to her great uncle Wilhelm Rova's homestead on Douglas Highway, shortly after construction of the Juneau-Douglas Bridge. Her mother tended the homestead garden and animals. Her father commercial fished, built fishing boats and houses, including the homestead house which still stands on their property today.

She attended school in Douglas and graduated from Douglas High School in 1950. After graduation, she worked for First National Bank of Juneau. Nancy loved to travel and took many trips to Europe and South America with her family.

She met Thomas Shanley, a civil engineer from Wyoming, and the couple was married in Sitka in 1957. They made their home in Juneau where they raised 3 daughters.

She was an active member in many local organizations including the Big Dippers Square Dance Club, Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority, Pioneers of Alaska and Eastern Star. Nancy loved living in Juneau, gardening, cooking, dancing and walking. She also loved time with friends, family and her parrot and Maltese, Angel.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Oscar and Hilma Niemi, her brother, Oscar Niemi Jr., and her husband, Thomas H. Shanley.

She is survived by her sister Elsie Thomas of Coupeville, Wash., and her daughters and their husbands; Nancy and Ethan Birkholz, of Fairbanks, Theresa Shanley and John DeBuse, of Juneau, and Patty Shanley and Eric Michelman, of Seattle; and her grandchildren Cailtin and Conall Birkholz, Lauren and Kate Shanley DeBuse, and David and Arielle Shanley Michelman.

A memorial will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at the Resurrection Lutheran Church, 749 W. 10th Street in Juneau, with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a cancer research organization of your choice: Swedish Hospital, The Salvation Army or The Oasis Sanctuary (an exotic bird rescue and sanctuary) in Phoenix, Ariz. (

Please contact Theresa Shanley for more information at 321-1953, 586-1057 or

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