Anita Gwen Shanahan

Adoring wife, supportive mother

Anita Gwen Shanahan died at her home on December 30, 2013 after a 10-month battle with bile duct cancer. She was 57.

Mrs. Shanahan was born in the small coal mining town of Dante, Virginia in August 1956. She lived there for several years with her aunt Maggie Kiser and her numerous cousins. As the youngest, she was teased incessantly but it was always done with love.

At the age of five, Mrs. Shanahan moved to Hawthorne, California with her mother, Claris M. Jones and Mrs. Shanahan’s older sister. The family eventually settled in Torrance. While there, she was an active member of the local Free Methodist Church and spent her school breaks as a counselor at Forest Home and Oak Glen Christian Conference Center’s Indian Village. Her nickname as a counselor was “Little White Cloud,” a name her daughters inherited when they were campers.

One Christmas, while she was still a student at Azusa Pacific University, she went on a blind double date organized by her sister. The group went to see the movie King Kong. Her date that evening was Joseph Shanahan. Although Mr. Shanahan thought he would never see his future wife again, she had other ideas. After earning her degree, the two were married and Mrs. Shanahan began her career as an elementary school teacher.

A few years later, Mrs. Shanahan left her full-time teaching position to start a family. While raising her family at home, her lifelong passion for education found an outlet in the form of teaching others how to bring their children into the world. Mrs. Shanahan began a career as a childbirth educator at Huntington Memorial Hospital. During her nearly 30-year career, she taught at Pasadena City College, Mount San Antonio Community College and Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

Despite the demands of being a mother and an educator, Mrs. Shanahan found time to be a volunteer. She participated in The Salvation Army, Moms in Touch, Young Life, numerous programs to assist teenage mothers and was also a frequent volunteer with the Claremont schools.

Through the years, she cheered on the many water polo and swim teams that her husband coached and rooted for her children and their friends through years of swim, soccer, volleyball, baseball, basketball, softball and water polo seasons.

Mrs. Shanahan looked forward to attending the Pageant of the Masters and the Hollywood Bowl during the summers. She loved to cook, try new restaurants with friends, play with “Persephone,” her Doberman and tend to her beautiful rose garden.

Mrs. Shanahan is survived by her husband, Joseph Shanahan of Claremont; children, Noelle Shanahan Cutts (Kyle Cutts) of Shaker Heights, Ohio; Lein Shanahan of Folsom, California; Maggie Jo Shanahan and Kelsey Shanahan of Claremont; sister Mavis Erikson of Snohomish, Washington; and her father, Leslie Kragh of Pahrump, Nevada.

A service in Mrs. Shanahan’s memory will be held May 31, 2014 at Baseline Community Church in Claremont. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to Young Life Mount Baldy, P.O. Box 7601 in La Verne.


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