A passionate individual and proud resident of Douglas, Tom Shanley left this life for a new adventure on November 6th after a short bout with cancer. Living life on his own terms while keeping his sense of humor and his trademark smile until the end, he passed away in Salida, Colorado, amongst family and friends.
Born in 1941 in Bakersfield, California, to Edward and Ardith Shanley, Tom grew up in a varied landscape spanning the rural countryside of the central valley to the urban atmosphere of East Los Angeles. After graduating from high school in L.A. and working for a spell with family in the motion picture industry, he went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in teaching and mathematics from San Jose State, and later a Master's degree in business from University of California Berkeley.
After college, Tom worked for Merrill Lynch in the Bay Area and later NYC, using his SoCal skateboard skills to commute to the stock exchange pit on Wall Street. Upon tiring of the big city rat race, Tom worked as the food and beverage manager for Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe before deciding to chuck it all and move to Seward, Alaska, in 1974. He worked varied jobs on research vessels and in salmon packing plants before becoming the Alaska Marine Highway passenger service manager, the post that ultimately led him to settle down in Juneau. Tom then earned an appointment as the Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Corrections and, once retired from the state, owned a successful legal process company.
Tom loved and embraced Juneau wholeheartedly and was involved through the years in the Douglas Lions Club, ORCA, Juneau Ski Club, Court-Appointed Special Advocates, Taku River Rats, Territorial Sportsmen, and the Moose Lodge. He also taught and was a daily practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.
A truly unique character, Tom cared about people and welcomed others from a wide variety of paths. His last few weeks saw visits from friends ranging from southern cowboys to spiritual leaders from a local ashram. A nonconformist who became a successful businessman; an intelligent, argumentative conversationalist; he enjoyed, looked forward to, and highly valued exchanges with friends.
A devoted father and husband, he leaves behind wife, Jo Lynn Shanley, son Edward and his wife Bonnie, son Patrick and his wife Jamie, stepdaughters Traci and her husband Dan, Kelli and her husband Kirk, Kate and her husband Mike, and sisters Carol and Cathy. He joins his first wife, Linda, in the great beyond.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, December 6th at the Juneau Yacht Club. The party will begin at 6pm and will carry on 'til the wee hours of dawn. All are welcome. The main course will be provided, but guests are invited to bring salads, sides, or dessert. Contact Ed at (907) 321-2768 for more information.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Nov. 26, 2013