Two PACS matriarchs say goodbye until heaven

Two women of influence at PACS went to sleep until heaven this last January. Iris Stanley (pictured left), and Barbara Nelson-Rienderhoff (pictured right) both had a significant impact for on the organization, and the people it serves.

Just a few weeks ago, if you called PACS in the morning, you would have heard Iris Stanley’s calm voice on the other end of the line. But on Friday, January 19, she called in sick, and less than a week later, she had fallen asleep in Jesus. She was 88. She is survived by her sons Spenser and Herb, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In spite of an ongoing heart condition, Iris refused to retire. She preferred her PACS friends over being home alone. She once told Paul Cole, PACS’ Executive Director, “You can raise or lower my wages, you can increase or cut my hours, but don’t tell me I can’t come to PACS.”

Having once worked for the governor of Singapore, Iris had exceptional office and clerical skills. Her proof-reading was unparalleled. Iris was also a mother and a friend to staff, volunteers, and various other people who came through PACS’ doors.
“She was a minister here. She had a mission of her own—loving people,” said Paul.
Rhonda Whitney-Bandy, the former PACS director who hired her in 2001 added, “People would come in from the community just to talk to her and she would pray with them if they wanted.”
Her motherly side often came out too. She would fine a former director $0.10 when he’d forget to lock his office door upon leaving. And he would pay the fine!
More than 80 people turned out for a memorial service in February that PACS held for Iris. She was loved, and is missed.

Upon her passing, Iris was the longest-standing current PACS employee, having worked at PACS for almost 16 years. She was a massive part of our staff and volunteer culture. We will miss Iris greatly, but we look forward to being reunited with her in heaven.

Barbara Nelson-Rienderhoff quietly began a revolution at PACS in the early 90s. She led the founding of the PACS Health Clinic, and laid the foundations that enabled the small community services operation to grow into a major resource for low-income families.
Barbara passed away on January 2 at the age of 88. She is survived by her husband Bert Rienderhoff; children Dwight Nelson, Greg Nelson, and Kari Nelson-Jacobson; and her grandchildren/great grandchildren.
“It was her vision, and her ability to turn a vision into action, that built the foundation,” said Rhonda. “She was looked at as a woman of prayer, and she was regarded as a very spiritual person, and the volunteers responded very well to that.”
Barbara’s big health clinic vision was realized as she partnered with the Walla Walla College School of Nursing, and Dr. Richard Gingrich. “She was very involved in starting the clinic, and the clinic has been a blessing to thousands of individuals,” added Paul.
Barbara established what was probably the first team of employees at PACS. These paid positions complimented the volunteer base to stabilize food and clothing programs, and put the organization on the path to significant growth.
“She loved PACS, loved working there, loved the mission, loved the people she worked with—and was so proud in her later years of the progress PACS continued making in the community and beyond,” her son Greg said in a written statement.
Dr. Richard Gingrich presents Barbara Nelson-Rienderhoff with the first-ever Barbara Nelson Award at the 2005 Awards Dinner & Auction. PACS continues to see the impact of the foundations laid by Barbara's incredible work.

We look forward to seeing Barbara in heaven, and continue to be grateful for the incredible work she did to put PACS on the path to becoming a shining light in Portland, fulfilling Christ’s commission to love our neighbors.


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