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John Schelberg

1945 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
John Schelberg Obituary
Schelberg, John Daniel

May 1, 1945 â€"

September 1, 2016

John D. Schelberg died peacefully on September 1, 2016 at his longtime home in Albuquerque, NM surrounded by his family. He was born on May 1, 1945, in Los Alamos, NM; the son of Arthur and Margaret Schelberg, a nuclear physicist, who was then, working on the Manhattan Project, and a nurse, hired by the project. John spent much of his childhood in Los Alamos and graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1963. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he received a degree in Anthropology in 1968; a three-year stint in the U.S. Army followed. After his honorable discharge, he attended Northwestern University, where in 1975, he achieved a Master's degree, and in 1982, a Doctorate in Anthropology.

John enjoyed a long career with the National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an Archaeologist. His days in Chaco Canyon, with the National Park Service, were some of his favorite times. It was there that he met his wife, and best friend, Nancy Akins, and made many life-long friends. He loved talking about archaeology, and especially, Chaco. John was an inspiration, and a mentor, for many. In 2005, while with the Army Corps, he was given national recognition with the Service to America Career Achievement Medal. He retired in 2011, but his love for archaeology continued. He became a dedicated volunteer for the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Museum of New Mexico's Office of Archaeological Studies.

Taking great pleasure in his home and garden, he will be remembered by friends, and neighbors, for his welcoming greeting offered while working in the yard, or walking along the acequia. John was truly special. He was one of the kindest people you could know, and he touched us all with his ready smile and warm words for everyone he met. His long battle with cancer may have slowed his body, but his mind and spirit remained strong. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Art and Margaret, and is survived by his wife, Nancy Akins; his sisters, Kathleen Balch (Bill) of Albuquerque and their children, Heather (Chad) and Travis; Eileen Schelberg, also of Albuquerque, and Anne Lenz (Steve) of Lincoln, NE, and their children, Nathan (Kate) Marisha (Tony), Jeremy (Megan) and Tyler. He is also survived by his stepmother and aunt, Marie Schelberg, of Los Alamos; his nephew, Chris Loftfield, of Hawaii; Nancy's parents, Orville and Rose Akins, of Farmington, and her siblings, as well as a much-beloved four-legged family.

A brief committal service will be held Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 11:15 a.m., at Santa Fe National Cemetery, and a celebration of his life will follow in the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions and memorial donations may be made in John's name to the American Cancer Foundation or the Animal Humane Society of New Mexico. Please visit our online guestbook for John at


FRENCH - Wyoming

7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE

Published in Albuquerque Journal on Sept. 11, 2016
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