Nancy Gustavson

Category: Obituaries
Created on Thursday, 05 January 2012 17:00
Published on Monday, 09 January 2012 05:55
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A memorial service for Nancy Leanne Gustavson will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the First Presbyterian Church.
    Pastor Diane Wonnenberg will officiate. Afterward, friends are invited to gather at the church’s Latta Hall to celebrate Nancy’s life. Those wishing to do so are welcome to bring sandwiches or finger food to share.
    Interment was held at 1 p.m. today at Sitka Memorial Cemetery.
    Nancy died Jan. 3, 2012, at her home on Edgecumbe Drive after being treated for cancer for more than three years. She was 69.
    She was born March 11, 1942, in Glendale, Calif., the daughter of Paul and Marjorie Maurine (Smith) Gustavson. She graduated from high school in Arcata, Calif.
    Nancy began her library career while a student, working in the libraries at Humboldt State University and San Francisco State University. She earned her master’s degree in library science at the University of Southern California.
    She was working as a cataloguer at the University of British Columbia library in 1969 when she and a friend decided to visit Alaska as part of a tour group. She liked what she saw, and decided to move here. She applied with the Alaska State Library in Juneau, and was offered a job as a cataloguer. She left in the early 1970s to work at the University of California at Irvine, but returned and began work at the Juneau Public Library, under Dale DeArmond. When DeArmond retired, Nancy became library director and held the post until 1985 when she came to Sitka to head Kettleson Memorial Library.
    She oversaw several major changes at Kettleson, including installation of a computer system, and setting up of Internet access through the Alaska State Library’s Statewide Library Electronic Database. Children’s services grew, hours were extended, and more lectures, readings and programs offered.
    When Nancy retired in 2001, she was paid many tributes. “Nancy Gustavson is just a wonderful leader,” said Gary Paxton, then city administrator. “She probably runs the most successful library in the state of Alaska.”
    Gerri vonRekowski, who was head of Kettleson’s technical services, called Nancy a “wonderful supervisor.”
    “She has been one of the best people to work with, and this is the best library I’ve ever worked at,” vonRekowski said. “She’s very receptive to what the community wants and needs, whether that means book selection or library hours, or anything else. That’s really why this library is so successful.”
    Among Nancy’s several honors  was the 1998 Audry P. Kolb Public Library Service Award, given annually by the Alaska Library Association to an Alaskan for contributions to the “life and activities of the library.”
    Kettleson remained a part of Nancy’s life after she retired, and her husband, Jerry Deppa, said she was delighted at the energy and innovation of the current director, Sarah Jones, a friend and former Sitka High librarian.
    The library was only one area where Nancy gave to the community. She volunteered at the animal shelter, where,  among other duties, she gave time and attention to the cats (Jerry tended to dogs), sometimes adopting or foster parenting them.
    She was active in the First Presbyterian Church, where she served as a deacon; and was  a member of Soroptimist International of Sitka.
    She enjoyed sewing and gardening – and reading. Intelligent and kind, she was a good, true friend to many.
    Among Nancy’s survivors are her husband, Jerold “Jerry” Deppa, Sitka; two brothers, Phil Gustavson and his wife, Sarah, of Santa Ana, Calif., and Paul “Rus” Gustavson and his wife, Trinette, of Eureka Calif.; a sister, Lesley Ritter and her husband, Jake, of Crescent City, Calif.; and nieces and nephews.
    In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Kettleson Library or the Sitka Animal Shelter.