Obituary

Irene June Nichols, 95

 

Irene June Nichols

Irene June Nichols was born in Port Alexander, Alaska, to Anna and Arne Iversen on August 7, 1928. Her parents immigrated from Norway to fish out of Port Alexander and moved to Ketchikan when she was five.

After graduating from Ketchikan High School Irene attended Pacific Lutheran College in Seattle, Washington, for a year before returning home to marry her high school sweetheart, Carl Anthony Manzoni, a bush pilot. They enjoyed ten happy years before Carl was tragically killed in a plane crash in Ketchikan, leaving Irene alone with their four daughters, ages 10, 6 and twins, 5. She remained dedicated to his memory and was proud to tell her girls when the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Forest Service chose to name a lake forty miles northeast of Ketchikan "Lake Manzoni" to commemorate Carl's role in selecting sites and planning multiple recreational facilities to promote the protection and recreational use of Southeast Alaska's forest resources adjacent to the lakes, streams, and bays of the Tongass National Forest.

Irene married Fred (Nick) R. Nichols, a forester with the United States Forest Service and a fellow single parent with a 14-year old son, Greg. They remained in Ketchikan until Nick's job moved them to Petersburg. Those years in Petersburg, with the kids all home before Greg graduated from PHS, hold treasured memories. The family loved boating, beachcombing and getting away to an A-frame Nick built on the beach at 7-mile Mitkof Highway.

A final job transfer took them to Juneau where Nick was killed in a plane crash in 1969, leaving Irene, once again, alone with her four daughters and Greg in college. Irene continued to live in Juneau where she created a beautiful garden, landscaping the area with rocks, ferns and other plants she collected locally – a passion she passed on to her children. After twenty years of working as an in-court clerk with the State of Alaska Court System she retired in 1995 and moved back to Ketchikan where she helped care for her aging mother until her death in 2003.

Macular degeneration eventually prompted Irene to join her elder sister at the Ketchikan Pioneer Home where she felt well-cared for by the compassionate staff until her death on the morning of April 30, 2024, with her family at her bedside.

Irene loved beach-combing, gardening and spending time with her family. She was a long-time member of the Pioneers of Alaska, Sons of Norway and the Lutheran Church.

Irene was preceded in death by her mother and father, Anna and Arne Iversen; brothers, Arne and Roger Iversen; and sisters, Gladys Klose and Judith Butler.

She is survived by four daughters, Camlyn (Lou) Cacioppo of Gustavus, Alaska; Cindy (Jim) Brickley of Rochester, New York; Jody (Jeff) Crowe of Gig Harbor, Washington; Jan (Mike) Norheim of Gig Harbor, Washington; and her son, Greg (Bev) Nichols of Birmingham, Alabama; eleven grandchildren; sixteen great- grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

At Irene's request, there will not be a memorial service. She will be cremated and her ashes placed with her late husband, Carl Manzoni, at the Ketchikan Bayview Cemetery.

 

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