Nancy (Stephens) Barnes

  • "We love you and miss you, Mom!!"
    - Karen Barnes
  • "My deepest sympathy to the Barnes family. May you find..."
    - Ann

Longtime resident of Alaska, and former teacher Nancy (Stephens) Barnes passed away peacefully with family by her side on June 16, 2017, at Marin General Hospital in Northern California, following complications from pneumonia. Nancy moved from her Anchorage, Alaska, home of 35 years to the Marin County area of California, in 2000, to live closer to her son and grandchildren (and to experience less snow shoveling).
She is preceded in death by her parents, Frank M. and Ruth (Winchel) Stephens; her brothers, William "Bill" Stephens and Frank M. Stephens Jr.; and her former husband, Robert "Bob" Barnes. She is survived by her two children, Stephen Barnes and Karen Barnes; daughter-in-law, Erica Kienzle-Barnes; grandchildren, Alexa Barnes and Tristan Barnes; her cousin, Walter T. Denny; and many other extended family members.
Nancy was the only daughter and youngest of three children to Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Stephens of Denver, Colo. Her father was a mining engineer, and her mother was a dietitian and home economics teacher. Nancy, affectionately called "Susie" by her parents, had blond hair as a young girl, she often wore dresses with matching hair bows that her mother made her and she had fond memories of playing with her cousins, especially Bob and Walt Denny, in the Washington Park area of Denver, where their relatives lived. Around the age of 10, with both of her brothers off to college, Nancy moved with her parents to the tiny town of Buchans, Newfoundland, Canada, where her father took on a job with the American Mining Company and they lived in an apartment over the Bank of Montreal. When her mother fell ill a couple of years later, they moved back to Denver and then to Tucson, Ariz., where her father found a new job. At age 16, Nancy graduated from Tucson Senior High School and went on to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs and joined the Gamma Delta Sorority. With two years completed, Nancy moved back to Tucson to help out at home and continued her studies and graduated from the University of Arizona, in 1949, with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Before becoming a teacher, Nancy worked in classified advertising for a newspaper in Tucson as well as in Oregon, and then moved to San Jose, Calif., to work as a researcher for a map making company. As a teacher, she primarily taught grades 4 through 6, which included her teaching 4th grade in Hanua, Germany, (for the U.S. Army Schools) for two years, where she enjoyed traveling all over Europe. In 1961, she traveled to Alaska via the Alcan Highway for a teaching job at Williwaw Elementary School in Anchorage. In 1963, she married her husband, Bob, who was also from Arizona and an educator. As newlyweds, they shared the experience of the '64 (Good Friday) Earthquake together in their small, cabin-like home in the Peter's Creek/Chugiak area. After moving to Anchorage and starting a family, Nancy used her many talents raising her children and volunteering with their school and sports activities, and always making birthdays and holidays special and fun. Nancy was an avid reader, very creative with projects and problem solving, a great gift-giver, and she kept her keen memory and wit to the end. She lived a long and full life that included many adventures and experiences and she will be missed.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on July 23, 2017
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