Paxico—Stella Marie Muckenthaler, 93, died Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Homestead Assisted Living in Manhattan.
Stella was born March 10, 1922, at Paxico, the first daughter of Clement A. and Lucy R. (Zeller) Muckenthaler. She graduated from Paxico High School in 1939 and attended Mount St. Scholastica College. Stella entered St. Anthony School of Nursing at Sabetha and received her RN diploma in 1944. Stella specialized in surgery and pediatrics in Texas and Kansas before moving to Fairbanks, AK. in 1955. She was hired as a staff nurse on the night shift at St. Joseph Hospital and was soon promoted to Head Nurse on the day shift. In 1960, she was appointed Director of Nursing. As Director of Nursing, she was instrumental in the opening of the new Fairbanks Community Hospital in 1971.
In 1961, feeling the need to extend her training, she began a six year period of schooling which took her to the University of Minnesota (1961-1963-B.A. in Liberal Arts), Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, TX. (1964-1965-B.S.N. Degree), The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C (1965-1967-M.S.N. Degree). Stella returned to Fairbanks in August of 1967 and in June of 1970, was appointed by the Governor of Alaska to a five-year term on the Alaska Board of Nursing. On August 30, 1972, Stella was named the Director of Fairbanks Pioneer Home, one of three residences for elderly Alaskans’ operated by the State of Alaska, by Governor William A. Egan. As director, she supervised both the nursing and residential wings and retired from that position on October 31, 1984. Upon retirement she was presented with a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas which was an outstanding award for her dedication. Stella served on numerous boards and committees associated with the nursing profession and the city of Fairbanks.
Music was a large part in Stella’s life. She began as the organist for the adult choir in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church (Newbury) while she was in the 6th grade. During her early years in Alaska she volunteered as organist at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and also played piano at times for the residents at Pioneer Home. She had a repertoire of music which all of the elders enjoyed. After retirement she played music for funerals and weddings upon request.
Stella was also a strong supporter and volunteer of Catholic Schools of Fairbanks (HIPOW, Happiness In Paying Our Way). She gave innumerable hours of her time volunteering for the Catholic Schools. Stella remained in Fairbanks until May 2005 when she moved back to Kansas and took up residency at the Gran Villas Assisted Living in Wamego. (Now known as Vintage Park at Wamego). In June of 2012, Stella moved to Homestead Assisted Living in Manhattan.
Survivors are three sisters, Lucy “Mae” Thornton, El Paso, TX, Elizabeth “Betty” Orlaski, Sun City, CA, and Anita N. (Larry) Marstall, St. Marys; brother, William J. “Bill” (Lorraine) Muckenthaler, Argonia; She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Rose Marie, and Gladys O. Hunter; brothers, Vernon C. “Bud”, Edwin A. and Paul F. Muckenthaler.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 A.M. Wednesday April 22, 2015 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Newbury. Inurnment will take place after the mass. A Rosary will be recited at 10:00 A.M. Wednesday before the mass. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Building Fund and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple St., St. Marys, Kansas 66536.