Elam W. Nunnally
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Nunnally, Elam W. Elam Nunnally died peacefully on February 10, 2010, at the age of 85 after a creative, adventurous, and joyful life devoted to helping others. Elam was Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the School of Social Welfare. Until his illness in June 2009, Elam was still teaching classes part-time and counseling clients. Born in Savannah, Georgia, he received his MSW from the University of Chicago and his PhD from the University of Minnesota. He was one of the co-founders of Solution Focused Therapy, which originated in Milwaukee in the 1980s. Elam served in the U.S. Airforce during WWII. He met his wife Eeva in Rovaniemi, Finland in 1949 when they were both working to rebuild the community after the war. During their 58 years of marriage, they made frequent trips to Finland, where Elam's work as a therapist and counselor is highly respected. He has served as a professor and mentor to several generations of social workers in both the U.S. and Finland. Elam was a man of keen intellect and ardent political views; he also had a warm sense of humor. Elam is survived by this wife Eeva (née Partinen) and his five children: Tiina Nunnally (Steven T. Murray), Michael Nunnally (Ellie Gray), Laura Wrang, Andrew Nunnally (Nancy Nunnally), and Thea Mussman (John Mussman); eight grandchildren: Anand, Lacey, Simon, David, Peter, Colin, Kara, and Kristin; one great-grandson: Owen; and his sister Betty Loden, his brother Stuart Nunnally (Charlotte Nunnally), as well as many colleagues and friends. He was preceded in death by his brother John Nunnally and his parents, John and Elizabeth Nunnally. He was a longtime resident of Shorewood. Donations in Elam's name may be made to the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare Graduate Scholar's Fund, Attn: Dean Stan Stojkovic, HBSSW, UWM, P.O. Box 786, Milwaukee, WI 53201. A memorial service to celebrate Elam's life will be held in the spring. Notices will be forthcoming.


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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Feb. 14, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
February 25, 2010
My condolences to the Nunnally family; I spent many afternoons when I was growing up at the Nunnally house with my best friend, Laura. Her father was always kind and gracious. In later years a friend of mine was able to take his solution-based counseling course and was impressed with Mr. Nunnally's knowledge and skill in this area. I am very sad to hear of Mr. Nunnally's passing, and I know the world benefited greatly from his work and his presence.
Teresa Allison
February 22, 2010
Elam Nunnally was a wonderful professor, and a kind, wise presence in the community. I treasure the solution-focused course and the research classes I took with him in grad school. After, it was always a pleasure to see run into him in local coffee shops with his wife. My heartfelt sympathy to his family. I will remember him as one of my favorite professors at UWM and a true leader in the field of therapy.

Barbara Lucius
Barbara Lucius
February 16, 2010
Please accept my deepest condolences. I studied under Mr. Nunnally while at UW-Milwaukee. He was a very knowledgable professor and it was my priveledge to learn from him. May he rest in peace.
Jorena Lewandowski
February 15, 2010
Having lost my own father at the age of 9, it was a pleasure to have "Pop" for 25 years in my own middle age. He was a voracious reader of crime fiction, and it was always fun to find a new author and send him books. We'll miss you, Pop!
Steve Murray
February 14, 2010
I loved Elam and the amazingly gentle spirit that jumped from his soul and danced in his eyes whenever he spoke. He also made the dreaded Research course a pleasure to attend. Hopefully, some of his spirit has passed on into me and my practice as a social worker.
Cathleen Pollock
February 14, 2010
I remember Mr. Nunnally was the only daddy on the block that would play dolls with us


Mary Thompson (O'Brien)
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