A. Yvonne Stackhouse (1936-2011): Striving for Better

My mother passed away today–quietly, I’m glad to report–in suburban Chicago. We knew for some time that she was dying and we are glad to commend her to the God she had served for so long. The following is her obituary:

Audrey Yvonne (Annan) Stackhouse, B.A., M.A., D.Litt. (Hon.), educator, civic leader, churchwoman, and beloved sister, wife, mother, and grandmother, died on January 7, 2011. She was 74.

Born on June 30, 1936, in the island of Antigua of missionary parents, James and Audrey Annan, Yvonne grew up in Toronto, Ontario. A graduate of Toronto Teachers College, she taught elementary school for four years. She married John Gordon Stackhouse in 1957 and raised four children in Kingston, Ontario, in Plymouth, Devon, U.K., and then in North Bay, Ontario. An active churchwoman at Bethel Gospel Chapel in North Bay, she also earned her B.A. summa cum laude in English from Nipissing University, graduating in 1980.

In 1978, the family moved to Abilene, Texas, where Yvonne expanded her educational, ecclesiastical, and civic activities, including stints on boards of several of the city’s cultural institutions. Earning a master’s degree in English with a minor in psychology summa cum laude at Hardin-Simmons University in 1982, she went on to serve that university in various capacities: writing instructor, international students coordinator, and board member. She crowned her service to HSU as its official historian, authoring the university’s centennial history in 1991. In 2000, Hardin-Simmons awarded Yvonne a Doctor of Letters degree in honor of her many contributions.

In the mid-1990s, Yvonne began a difficult struggle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which she survived only at great physical cost. Her husband retired early from his surgical practice to care for her in 1999, and they moved to Georgetown, Texas. After John’s unexpected death in 2006, Yvonne moved to Windsor Park Manor in suburban Chicago and lived there until her death.

Beyond the educational and civic spheres, Yvonne Stackhouse was a tireless mother, church leader, and friend. She directed summer camps for girls, taught children in Sunday School, played piano for church services and ensembles, composed theme songs for Bible conferences, counseled younger women, took troubled teenagers into her home for months at a time, encouraged her children to pursue a wide range of athletic and musical interests, and with her husband supported missionaries around the globe. In everything she did, she strove for what was better.

Yvonne Stackhouse is survived by the families of her four children: John ( Jr.) and Kari Stackhouse and their three sons, of North Vancouver, British Columbia; Cindra and Daniel Stackhouse Taetzsch and their three daughters, of Wheaton, Illinois; Jayne and David Gaddy and their two daughters, of Leander, Texas; and Brent and Heather Stackhouse and their two children, of Austin, Texas. She is also survived by her sister Valerie and husband Terry Lunau, of Guelph, Ontario; brother Nelson and wife Jan of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; sister Donna-Jean and husband Peter Brown of Toronto; and brother Bruce and wife Veronica of Aurora, Ontario.

The family will be remembering Yvonne privately and requests that donations to her memory be given toward financial aid for students at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, 60187, from which her four children graduated.