Marilyn Shannon

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Shannon, Marilyn Kohlhaas (Bunny)

Marilyn Kohlhaas (Bunny) Shannon--wife, mother, grandmother, sister, teacher, arts administrator, and best friend--died at her daughter's home in Vermont on March 25, 2017 of Parkinson's disease. She was 80.

Born November 26, 1936, Bunny grew up in Albuquerque, NM, the daughter of the late Lewis Otto Kohlhaas and Leona Raillard Kohlhaas. She was a natural leader in school, a good athlete and cheerleader, active in student council, Girls State, and honor society. From a young age she was very serious about matters of faith, serving as president of the Rocky Mountain Synod as well as caravanning with the Luther League to the national convention in Oxford, OH in 1953.

Her love of the Lutheran church and ongoing sense of adventure again took her east to Wittenberg College (Springfield, OH) where she met Delphin Thomas Shannon, her late husband and dancing partner of 55 years. At Wittenberg, she played the organ, sang in the choir, and enjoyed living at Alpha Delta Pi sorority house. She spent summers in Albuquerque, performing office work for Kohlhaas Tank and Equipment Company. After graduating with honors in 1958, Bunny taught English, history, and social studies at Bay High School (Bay Village, OH).

Moving to Kettering, OH in 1964, Bunny stayed busy, raising four children, encouraging them in music lessons, academics, church activities and sports. She was the camping Girl Scout leader for three troops, enjoyed hiking and being out in the woods. For nearly a decade, she and Del spent the summers tent camping throughout North America with their children. They visited national parks, historical sites, baseball stadiums, colleges, and relatives, including the families of her brother Richard Lewis Kohlhaas (Colorado Springs, CO), her brother Charles Albert Kohlhaas (El Paso, TX), her late sister Virginia Kohlhaas Gallagher (Albuquerque, NM), and many fun-loving cousins and friends.

Bunny returned to work after earning a master's degree in American Studies from the University of Dayton in 1979. She directed the newly opened Gallery at the Old Post Office at Lorenz & Williams and went on to serve as arts administrator for the Miami Valley Arts Council. Bunny then spent two years commuting to New Mexico, traveling all over the state to conduct marketing outreach for the family business. Back in Dayton, she directed the Dayton Stories Project for CityFolk in 1995 where she trained dozens of story circle facilitators from the Appalachian and African American communities. Under her stewardship, the project evolved to record and document 1,200 stories drawn from hundreds of story circles, shared at two National Folk Festivals and fully staged as a world premiere play. Bunny served on the boards of the Dayton Bach Society and Graceworks Lutheran Services. She was a senior program officer for the Dayton Foundation, advocating for the success of the many non-profits she had helped over the years.

Bunny was most proud of the fact she learned to downhill ski after the age of 50. She was a voracious, deeply informed reader and a 45-year member of her beloved, sometimes raucous, book group. A force of nature when engaged in multi-player solitaire games Bunny was often unbeatable. Her drive and enthusiasm will live on in the impact she had on others, including: her daughter Eileen Shannon, her husband Dan Hughes, and their sons, Jonathan and Nicholas Hughes (Albuquerque, NM); her daughter, Diana Shannon (Strafford, VT); her daughter, Paula Shannon (Portsmouth, NH); her son Stephen Shannon, his wife Patti Shannon, and their daughters, Cleo and Maggie Shannon (Charlotte, NC); and her many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

In the spirit of her lifelong progressive work and generosity, and in lieu of flowers, consider donating to the Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp (, Roadrunner Food Bank, an arts organization, or Planned Parenthood. On Saturday, July 15, 2017, a graveside service will take place at 9 am at Sunset Memorial Park, followed by 9:45 am visiting hours and a 10:30 am memorial service St. Paul Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, NM. Visit for additional details and updates.

Religious Service Information
St Paul Lutheran Church
1100 Indian School Rd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
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Published in Albuquerque Journal on July 9, 2017