Obituary: Ankha Shamin, 1950 – 2012

By Lavender May 17, 2012

Categories: Family & Friends, Our Lives

Ankha Shamin (nee Donn E. Holley) of Minneapolis died at his home April 20, 2012, at the age of 61.  He was born December 18, 1950, in Rochester, New York, to Edwin and Winifred Holley. He graduated from Buffalo State University, New York, with a B.A. in American Studies and later earned an M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, at Champaign-Urbana. Most recently he worked as a records manager/senior analyst at Allianz Life and was previously employed as a reference and corporate librarian for Minnesota Technology and Braun Intertec.

He was preceded in death by his partner and soulmate, Mark S. Mueller, his parents, and also his father-in-law, Walter Mueller.  He is survived by his brothers, David and Dennis Holley, and their families of New York.  Also, Timm  Spindler, Therese Mueller, Maryellen Mueller and Mark Digre, Susan Mueller and Karl Ludescher, Jeanne Mueller, Lisa and Troy Tillman, and many nieces, nephews, and loving friends.  Ankha had a passionate love for the printed word, calico cats, music, card games, and dance.  He was a gourmet cook with an infectious laugh and twinkling eyes.  A gentle soul, faithful brother-in-law and friend, he generously shared comforting hugs with all.

Ankha was a committed activist for gay rights beginning in the 1970s with the Mattachine Society of New York.  Early years in Minneapolis found him singing with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus and helping to develop and facilitate “Voices and Visions.”  He trained with the School of Body Electric organizing and facilitating numerous BE workshops here in the Twin Cities. He avidly participated in the Mankind Project Rainbow Circles and Midwest Radical Faeries.  A circle of Remembrance and Celebration will be held in the Twin Cities in the basement of Bethany Lutheran Church at 2511 East Franklin Avenue Minneapolis, on Monday, May 28th, at 2 p.m.  Memorials can be made to the Aliveness Project or National Association Mental Illness.   Blessed be!

2 Responses to Obituary: Ankha Shamin, 1950 – 2012

  1. julie weaver says:

    I worked with Ankha at Allianz and always enjoyed out talks and emails. What a fabulous photo – captures what I remember of him perfectly. Rest Well, Ankha – have fun on your new adventure!.

  2. Erika Thorne says:

    So many moments from Movement for a New Society to cherish, Ankha. One that stands out right now was around 1979, when several of us were developing what we called a “Gay Theory Paper,” bringing lesbian & gay rights (LGBT understanding was still years away) into the radical analysis of this nonviolent activist network. In one crucial meeting of the entire national network, a well-respected heterosexual woman said, “well, we wouldn’t want there to be TOO many gays in MNS!” There was one second of deafening silence, as we Queers tried to process the cluelessness of her statement. But from the silence rose a deep, heaving, gut-wrenched sob. It was you, Ankha, expressing immediately with your whole body and soul the anguish such beliefs had caused for you, for all of us, and for all our forebears for hundreds of generations.

    We went on to finish & publish the paper, and MNS became a leader in recognition of the politics of Lesbian & Gay rights. But it was when you and you alone were able to connect with the profound meaning of the moment, that catalyzed all subsequent achievements.

    I am holding you in my heart with love,

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