Shirley Maxine Hansen Akers

On Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, Shirley Maxine Hansen Akers, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and wife, passed away at the age of 97.

Shirley was born on Dec. 2, 1921, to George Einar Hansen and Myrtle Viola Croswell Hansen at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, Colorado. She spent most of her childhood in Denver. She attended North HS in Denver, where she won a fencing match played during an assembly — she wondered at her nerve to do that. She ice skated on the lakes with friends, danced to swing music at proms (favoring gardenia corsages) and was a Worthy Advisor for Rainbow Girls.

Shirley graduated in 1939, and after sitting out a year because she was too young, was accepted at Colorado Training School for Nurses at Denver General Hospital. She received her cap in 1941, married Airman Bill Matlack in 1942 and graduated as a registered nurse in 1943. Her career as a nurse included: visiting nurse with the iconic navy cape, private practice, ER, civilian nurse in an Army hospital, public health and school nurse for Grays Harbor Health Department until retiring in 2004.

Shirley wanted to be an airline stewardess, a job that combined flying, travel and adventure. At the time that meant being a registered nurse. Married life and parenting curtailed pursuit of that vocation, but she retained a love of travel. Shirley and Bill enjoyed several trips to Europe and made lifelong friends with several British couples. Later in life, after their marriage, Shirley and Jack explored the Pacific Northwest by RV.

Shirley was an avid reader, pouring over newspapers and wading through lengthy works of fiction. She enjoyed painting and the perpetual contest with marauding deer that she called “gardening.”

Shirley is survived by her children, Will Matlack and Gigi DeVault, four granddaughters, 12 great-grandchildren and her second husband, James Jackson Akers.

Shirley was preceded in death by her first husband William Howard Matlack (2006).

One of Shirley’s greatest blessings was that she retained a sharp mind to her last day on earth. She was glad to be born in this era during which she witnessed truly awesome changes. Shirley watched and critiqued the news on TV, always curious to know details, and worried about people (especially children) in difficult straits. To honor her, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “fruits and vegetables prescription program” of Dr. Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health.


A memorial service will be held on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. at Shores Fellowship Church; 694 Weatherwax Loop NE, Ocean Shores, WA 98569. 360-289-2693