James Driscoll Nordale

Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011

Former Kenai borough attorney James Driscoll Nordale died Tuesday, April 19, 2011. He was 80.

Mr. Nordale was born in Fairbanks, Feb. 15, 1931, and spent his childhood there and in Juneau. He attended St. Martin's College and Gonzaga University in Washington state where he met and married Sheila Berry in 1957. After completing his legal degree in 1959, they returned to Juneau where he entered practice with Robertson, Monagle, Eastaugh and Annis.

Jim's career shifted into government in 1964 when he began work for the State of Alaska's Local Affairs office. In 1967 he was a city attorney with Anchorage and, when the first borough governments were proposed, he became the first borough attorney for the Kenai Peninsula in 1968. In 1972 he returned to Fairbanks as the North Star borough attorney. He left after 12 years and returned to private practice. He was elected city mayor of Fairbanks in 1988, an office held previously by two uncles and his grandfather. Jim and Sheila returned to the Kenai in 1991 until her retirement when they moved to South Colby, Wash., where he remained engaged in politics, his church, and larger community.

Jim grew up with strong examples of public service in his father, an Alaska Territorial legislator, and his mother, a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention. In every phase of his life, Jim was a dedicated public servant. He left his mark by ensuring that a good government, especially local government, served its people well.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Alton and Katherine Nordale, and his beloved wife Sheila.

He is survived by his sister, Mary; his children and their spouses, Meg Nordale and Bob Schruf; Molly Nordale; Jim and Misty Nordale; and Dan and Lisa Nordale; his adored grandchildren Josh, Seth, Michael and Katie Marquette; Stefani Bell and Bethani Schruf; Emmiline and Hanna Nordale; and Nick, Sam, Grace and Derek Nordale; as well as many friends and colleagues from his eighty years in Alaska and Washington.

Funeral services will be held Monday, April 25, 2011, at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 1150 Mitchell Avenue, Port Orchard, Wash. Rosary at 10:30 a.m., Funeral Mass at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Friends of Manchester Library Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 128, Manchester, Wash., 98353-0128. Online memorial at www.rill.com.

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