Obituary for Nancy Andison
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Nancy Andison passed away quietly and gracefully in the early hours of July 1, 2012, at the age of 49 from complications resulting from an auto-immune disorder triggered by Lyme disease. Nancy had been a resident of Alaska since meeting her future husband in the early 80's while doing wildlife research in Elfin Cove. She and her husband, Steve Andison lived for many years in Kake, and then resided in Juneau, and had recently celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary. Nancy spent the final years of her life in Wildflower Court.
Nancy was a wildlife biologist, and worked for the US Forest Service, Alaska Division, on the Fish and Wildlife staff. Initially she worked out in the field, radio-tracking elk, walking through the forest collecting scientific samples and observing browse preferences of deer. As her disease began to limit her ability to move around, she worked in the office in Juneau, and became a fierce advocate for accessibility issues. She was well known for her direct and vocal approach to resolving physical barriers. She and her service dog Koa were well known in the Capitol building.
Nancy was born in California in 1963, as the daughter of a Navy family. She spent her early childhood in Yokosuka, Japan, attending a Japanese elementary school. The family moved to Honolulu when she was seven, and she lived in Hawaii until she left for College. She attended Punahou High School in Honolulu, and got her degree in Wildlife Biology at Oregon State University.
While her illness ultimately forced her to retire, lose her ability to move and speak, and become confined to a bed , she never lost her sense of humor, zest for life, love for others, and the ability to communicate with, educate, and inspire everyone fortunate enough to meet her. Her indomitable spirit kept her life meaningful to the very end, and served as a great inspiration to all those whose lives she touched.
Nancy is survived by her husband, Steve Andison, in Juneau, her mother Sally Mitter, in Honolulu, her brother Joe Mitter and his wife Nette in Seattle, her brother Charlie Mitter and his wife Kim in Maryland, and her nieces Margaret and Caroline. She was predeceased by her father, Captain Wayne Mitter. She also loved the Tommy Jackson Sr. family, her adopted Tlingit family in Kake, Alaska whose art and pictures were always on her walls.
A celebration of Nancy's life will be held at Macaulay Hatchery Visitor's Center (DIPAC) at 4 PM on Saturday, May 18. "Those who knew Nancy are invited to attend." Memories and condolences may be sent to her husband at 2800 Postal Way, Juneau, Alaska 99801.
Donations in memory of Nancy may be sent to Nancy Andison Memorial Fund at Banner Bank, 1222 E. Madison, Suite A, Seattle, WA 98122 to establish a bench and marker in Nancy's honor on one of her favorite wheelchair accessible trails in Juneau. Gifts may also be made to Southeast Alaska Independent Living (www.sailinc.org/donate-now).
Published in The Juneau Empire on Apr. 28, 2013