Sheila Leigh Scoby, a long-time resident of Alaska, died February 18, 2019 at the home she shared with her husband, Jack, in Sierra Vista, Ariz. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones after a short, yet valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born in Mason City, Wash. on June 22, 1939, to Theodore and Virginia Neelands, Sheila and her siblings traveled the world with their parents. She lived in India for 3 years before traveling to Alaska in 1958, and attending the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where she pursued her studies in Art, Music and Dance.
It was at U.A.F. that she met her husband Jack, a Mechanical Engineering student from Fortymile Roadhouse, Tok, Alaska. They were married in 1959 and began an adventure that would span 60 years.
Sheila had many passions in life including art and music. She absolutely loved the majestic beauty of Alaska. Enjoying hunting, fishing, and camping with her husband and four daughters, Sheila embodied the ‘Spirit of Alaska’.
In the early 1980s Sheila and Jack moved to Seward where they partnered with Don and Pam Oldow, also of Seward, in a small business venture that would combine her love of Alaska as well as her life-long passion for all things art.Kenai Fjords Tours was born in Seward, Alaska, and quickly grew into a large venture.
Sheila earned her boat captains license and together with Captain Pam Oldow piloted one of the first sightseeing excursions through the Kenai Fjords National Park aboard the MV Spirit. Sheila also had several unique gift shops which she designed and operated in the small boat harbor. The Admiral’s Buttons was her pride and joy.
Sheila also had another passion—a party! She was the quintessential hostess. Eclectic music, fantastic food, spirits, much laughter and many, many friends. Some of you may remember. She sure threw a heck of a Christmas party!
After a couple decades in Seward, Sheila and Jack set out in their motorhome on another adventure that would take them winding across the country and back several times over the next 10 years. They settled in Arizona for the winters and traveled back home to Alaska for the summers, visiting family and friends along the way.
Our mother was the definition of grace. She battled and beat breast cancer twice. She never complained. She never faltered in her belief that life is good. Everyday. She taught us all about strength, faith, courage, and love. Always love.
Sheila is preceded in death by her parents Ted and Gina, her brother Hugh Neelands, her sister Peggy Kay Dillinger, and nephew Wesley Dean Rusch.
She is survived by her beloved husband Jack, and their four daughters Miki, Kim, Deana, Rae (Jacque), Brenda Reiter (affectionately known as the fifth daughter), sister Nonnie Ranstrom, goddaughter Ashley Hartman, as well as many nieces and nephews.
To her nine grand-children – Erin, Sabree, Theresa, Justin, Sabrina, Daniel, Greggory, Kelsea, and Jenny– and her four great grand-children – Greyson Jack, Bella Mae, Hank Lee, and Remington Dean – she was lovingly known as “Ragga.”
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Sheila requested a party. You are all invited.