Alan Lee Emory Shank

July 6, 1954 – June 10, 2019 Our beloved Alan Shank passed away peacefully on June 10, 2019 after a short illness. Passionate about agriculture, music, politics and spirituality, Alan's warm and kind nature embraced both humans and animals. Intelligent, curious, thoughtful, and honest are other words that come to mind. But most of all he was a hoot. He had the most amazing infectious laugh that made the most dour face crack a smile. And he laughed all the time and everywhere, delightfully brightening the dark corners of people's day. Alan was born in Boone, IA on July 6, 1954. After spending early childhood years in Iowa and Kansas, his family settled in Aurora, IL. He graduated from West Aurora High School in 1972. He attended Principia College in Elsah, IL, graduating in 1976 with a double major in music and Spanish. He entered the US Army in 1978, first playing the trombone in an Army band at Fort Campbell Kentucky and then as an Arabic translator. The translator specialty took him to both England and Egypt, tours of duty that he enjoyed. After leaving the Army, he pursued his life-long interest in agriculture. He attended Illinois State University at Normal where he acquired a degree in agribusiness. He then received a Master's degree at The Ohio State University in agricultural economics. A few years were spent in the Detroit, MI area where he pursued various agriculture interests including working as a farrier and experimenting with organic farming using draft horses. After coming to Mukilteo, WA in 1997, Alan worked at the Snohomish Conservation District as a dairy and horse farm planner for many years. This work beautifully combined his interest in agriculture, environmental conservation, and his love of helping people. He took great delight in helping people manage mud and manure on their farms so animals would stay healthy and fish streams would stay clean. He loved to teach and conducted seminars in mud and manure management all over the county. He constantly experimented with new conservation techniques at his home in Mukilteo, where his two horses, Dandy and Raj provided all the raw material he needed. After retirement from SCD he moved to Sherwood, OR briefly and then to FromtheMother Farm in Snohomish, WA, his last home. He will be deeply missed by his wife, Mary Bergstrom Shank; mother, Elaine Frey of Montgomery, IL; siblings, Gloria Drake of Montgomery, Patricia Maksoudian of Cedar Lake, IN, Mary Gibson of Valdosta, GA, Robert Tallman and Michael Tallman of Sandpoint, ID, and Keith Shank of Springfield, IL; niece, Deanna Drake of Seattle, WA; and his large and loving extended family, including his stable of horses and his beloved cat, Dojo. He will miss his church family at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Bothell and his church family will miss him, especially his lovely tenor voice singing harmony on the hymns. A celebration of Alan's life will take place at FromtheMother Farm, Snohomish, WA on June 22, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Donations in Alan's memory may be made to Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center in Redmond, WA, www.littlebit.org.
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Published in The Herald (Everett) on June 16, 2019