OBITUARY

Marian Frances Shanks

May 7, 1933January 21, 2020
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Marian Frances Shanks was born on May 7, 1933 in Seattle, Washington and passed away on January 21, 2020 in Shoreline, Washington.

Services

  • Funeral Service Thursday, January 30, 2020
  • Graveside Service Thursday, January 30, 2020

Memories

Marian Frances Shanks

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FROM THE FAMILY

Ebba Anderson Shanks

FROM THE FAMILY

Helen & Marian 1938

FROM THE FAMILY

High School

FROM THE FAMILY

Norman & Marian Wedding Day 1953

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Helen & Bradley 1957

FROM THE FAMILY

Ernie Taylor 1982

FROM THE FAMILY

Sorrowful loss

FROM THE FAMILY

Ebba Anderson Shanks

FROM THE FAMILY

Helen & Marian 1938

FROM THE FAMILY

High School

FROM THE FAMILY

Norman & Marian Wedding Day 1953

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Helen & Bradley 1957

FROM THE FAMILY

Ernie Taylor 1982

FROM THE FAMILY

Sorrowful loss

Biography

Marian Shanks Biography
Born May 7, 1933, Seattle
Died January 21, 2020, Shoreline
Father: Marcus Shanks, died in the early 1950s
Mother: Ebba Anderson Shanks, died in the early 1950s
Older sister by two years: Helen Franciscovich, living in Spokane

Marian had a normal childhood in Seattle, moving to Portland, Oregon, for her junior and senior high school years. Her childhood was during a challenging time for America, with the depression a recent memory overshadowed by WW2.

Although she loved her mother, and she knew her mother loved her, Ebba suffered from major health issues. Marcus worked for his brother’s company (Marian’s Uncle Carrol Shanks, President of Prudential Insurance, 1957 Times Man of the Year for innovative life insurance). Both parents had passed away by the time Marian was 19.

Although our knowledge of her early family life is limited, we do know that Marian was very social, played the piano and sang, did well in school, and was an excellent artist. These attributes point to an upbringing with strong elements of love and stability.

Marian attended the UW for her freshman year, was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority (she was proud of that). Marian spent time with her aunt, Mrytle Whaley, who lived in Chelan. There she met Norman Reed, and the two married in 1953. Norm recently recalled her as a cute, vivacious gal who sang her way into his heart with the Rogers and Hammerstein hit “If I Loved You” from the movie Carousel.

Helen was born in July of 1954, and Marian’s mental health issues surfaced after the birth. Bi-polar disorder would trouble her for the rest of her life. Although expecting her second child at the time, Norm and Marian separated. More health problems ensued after the birth of Bradley in July of 1956, and Bradley lived in Chelan, for a time being cared for by a Reed family friend.

Norm and Marian ended up divorcing. Norm entered the Air Force, and Marian met Ernie Taylor, who was a veterinarian. Marian resumed her parenting role of both Helen and Bradley. Marian and Ernie Married in 1957. Their relationship had a most difficult start when their 5 month old baby daughter, Laurie Margaret, passed away of sudden infant death syndrome early in 1959. SIDS wasn’t well understood at the time, and Marian felt she was blamed for this sorrowful event.

Brian (July 1960), Thomas (October 1961) and Timothy (August 1963) came along, beginning a stretch of relatively good years which lasted until about 1967. The young family enjoyed life at their Lake Cavanaugh cabin, huge piles of presents at Christmas time, and lots of pets and farm animals at their Edmonds home with barns, fields, and an orchard.

Norm visited his children at significant times each year, and as Helen and Brad grew older he included them in his active outdoor lifestyle of hiking and skiing.

In 1965 the family moved full time to the cabin, an unusual living situation. Although there were some good times (one benefit of a childhood on a lake is that we all became good swimmers!) the family suffered from isolation from others, and the distance facilitated the eventual collapse of Marian and Ernie’s marriage.

In 1967 the family moved into a home in the Northgate area and the kids started attending Christian schools. The next year we moved into a large house in Lake City. 1968 through 1971 were tumultuous years for the family as the marriage fell into complete dysfunction, and all of the five children suffered through the marital and relational discord permeating the family.

A side note that shows Marian’s creativity and drive is that she opened a small neighborhood book (and candy) store in the Roosevelt area, named Bradley’s Book Store, after her bookworm son.

In 1971, as the family fell apart, Helen left with her boyfriend, Norm brought Brad into his family, and Ernie and Marian entered into a contentious divorce that ended with Marian winning custody. Ernie remained in the area for about two years before leaving the state without contact.

Marian and her sons lived in rental housing in the Lake City area. This was a very difficult time, as Marian had trouble juggling job and family and financial responsibilities with little if any support from Ernie. Food and clothing necessities were not always met. Marian worked hard to become trained as a medical transcriptionist, and worked for several hospitals in the 1970s and 1980s, but her employment was not always steady.

During a good stretch, Marian was able to buy a small home in the Pinehurst area, and when her beloved Aunt Mrytle passed away she left Marian enough money to refurbish it. This gave the family some stability during these difficult years.

Another problem resurfaced. Over the years Ernie had worked with Marian’s doctors to keep her mental problems in balance. Although Marian continued to work with doctors from time to time, she eventually fell into the habit (common among those dealing with mental health issues) of discontinuing treatment when she felt better. This led to much more severe mental health downswings. These swings and the accompanying challenges would persist for years.

Once her sons moved out, Marian found companionship with her pets – she almost always had a cat and a dog, generally a large black lab. We all have memories of Poochie and her many Bergy dogs! She did love her Pinehurst house with its many plants and the large hedges and numerous fir trees that gave her quiet and shelter.

Whenever she was healthy enough she enjoyed attending events held by the families of Helen, Brad, and Brian. Her best times as a grandparent were providing care for Brian Jr. and Keena!

Throughout her adult life, Marian continuously reached out to God, attending a series of Protestant, Mormon, and Catholic churches, and also joining a Jewish synagogue for a time. Her most steady, long term affiliation was with her local Catholic church, St. Matthews.

In August of 2007, Marian suffered a major stroke brought on by heart malfunction. Shortly afterwards she had to move into an adult family home for care. Homes were found for her pets, and her house was sold at the depth of the recession. Marian flourished under the care and kindness of these homes, even as her physical health problems worsened.

Although her ability to get around and communicate articulately gradually diminished, during this time she truly loved attending family functions, going to the senior center, attending church services, visits from family members, walks and then wheelchair rides in the park and in her neighborhood to view the flowers, seeing photos of family members, and listening to stories and bible verses being read to her. Her face would light up with a smile when a visitor arrived, and she would say goodbye with “I love you” and then settle into naptime.

For the last four years of her life she lived at her favorite AFH, Villa Rey, which truly became home to her. Although Northwest Hospital repeatedly provided her with amazing medical care, her vital systems gradually grew weaker and weaker, causing her to be placed in a hospice program in September. She rallied for a time, but on January 6th, 2020, another minor stroke put her on a final decline which ended in the morning of Tuesday, January 21st, when she left this world with its pain and suffering to be with God in the next.

The highlights for Marian during the last months of her life were visits from Helen and her family, and a series of Christmas time visits from all her local relatives. Over the years she related to each of us in different ways, but she loved all of us, she did her best for each of us, and we will all truly miss her.