Last Friday, 38-year-old Shannon Tank was not feeling well. Hours later she’d be at the hospital. Over the next few days they’d discover she had uterine cancer and substantial tumors as well as an infection. She unexpectedly passed away this morning.
About two years ago Shannon was my new coworker at Guardian Fall Protection in Kent. Soon after I met her we learned this was not the first time we’d seen each other. She went to Wilson High School in Tacoma. Class of 1992. I was class of 1993. We didn’t know each other back then but we knew of each other.
As I worked with Shannon I found her to be funny, opinionated, and utterly unafraid. You never wondered where you stood with Shannon Tank. She talked often about her family. She loved to share. And she was a native Tacoman.
Today Tacoma also lost firefighter Al Najmeh. He’d been a Tacoma Firefighter for the last ten years. He was well loved and respected. He was on a call earlier today and collapsed. He was taken to St. Joseph’s hospital where they were unable to revive him.
For years now I’ve chronicled the last stories of the people in Tacoma who lose their lives to violence. My initial reasons for this were to show how infrequently homicides happen in Tacoma and more importantly, share the lives of the victims rather than the murders. But I’ve been acutely aware that I was leaving a lot of final Tacoma Stories out of this site.
The people Tacoma has lost include everyone who commits suicide, all vehicular homicide deaths, accidental and natural deaths, and deaths that occur outside of Tacoma but whose lives still revolved around Tacoma. Given that I don’t have the time or the resources to research all of these deaths, I’ve chosen to stick to homicides.
But today, another former coworker of mine asked me if I was going to write about Shannon Tank on my TacomaStories.com site. I didn’t really know what to say; “No, because she wasn’t murdered, only taken way too young.”?
And so from here on out, I’d like to invite anyone who has lost someone from in or around Tacoma to send me any Tacoma Stories I miss. This city is made by its people. When we lose one, no matter the cause, it changes our city. Tacoma was different when they were here. We should share those stories and I invite you to do that here.
Send any stories you’d like to share of those who pass away in and around Tacoma to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Jack Cameron