Iris W. Van Ackeren
June 8, 2023
Iris W. Van Ackeren, born Christobel Iris Wells on January 27, 1926, died May 9, 2023 at 97 years of age. She was born and raised in Shelton, WA (enjoying summers on her family's nearby farm, and winters in town on Cota Street), and was proud to spend the last 22 years of her life back in her beloved home town.
After graduating from Irene S. Reed High School in 1943, and working at the Shelton Library, Iris worked at the Shelton Post Office under emergency Civil Service until December 1944. She then enlisted as a United States Cadet Nurse Corps Student at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, becoming a Registered Nurse in 1947. She remained at VMH, working for Otolaryngologist Dr. John F. Tolan until 1956.
She always dropped her first name and was known as Iris Wells. She became Iris Wells Nash during a brief marriage to James G. Nash, which was annulled. In December of 1956, she married Eugene G. Van Ackeren, M.D., and had three children.
In 1958, she moved to Normandy Park and served 22 years at elected and appointed city positions as a volunteer with No Pay including: Community Club President, City Council member, Mayor Pro-Tem, Board of Adjustment member and liaison to the Planning Commission, and Shoreline Advisory Committee member. Following her husband's death in December 1984, she moved to Harbor West Condominium in West Seattle, where she served on the Board of Advisors.
In 2001, she returned to her hometown of Shelton, living her remaining years at Christmas Village. She is survived by her three children, David, Christopher, and Susan, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was beautifully joined in death by her best friend of 95 years, Bonnie Deegan Ford who died at age 99 in San Jose, CA one day prior. The two of them were inseparable as they explored all that Shelton had to offer two rambunctious children during the 1930's and 40's; a childhood from an era past that at age 97 she still recounted vividly.