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STUBBART, John Perry DeForest & Audrey Fay (MORFORD)


Posted By: Sharon R Becker (email)
Date: 2/7/2016 at 19:59:31

John Perry DeForest & Audrey Fay (Morford) Stubbart

John Perry DeForest Stubbart, the son of James Mitchell and May Arminda (Brown) Stubbart, was born on September 8, 1890 in Octavia, Nebraska. The family moved to Lamoni where he attended school, finishing the eighth grade and "went away to the ninth grade."

John had aspired to be an artist in his youth, and the yound man showed great promise until at age 19 he suffered from an accident when the gun barrel of his shot gun burst and blew off his right thumb. John switched to carpentry and made many fine gifts for his family over the years, including a rocking chair still treasured by his daughter and granddaughter.

Audrey Fay Morford, the daughter of Francis Arlando and Etta Belle (Lyon) Morford, was born on June 9, 1895 in Newman Grove, Nebraska. Audrey's father died of pneumonia in 1903 when she was seven-years-old. At one time, Audrey was sent to Lamoni, Iowa, where she resided with her grandparents, Francis and Cordelia Morford, to attend school. There wasn't a school located near the ranch where the widowed family resided at the time. Etta sold the ranch (either 1908 or 1909) and moved to Lamoni. Here, Audrey and John met for the first time. They were two grades apart and there was five years difference in their ages.

Etta moved to Seymour, Missouri, with her children. Missing Audrey, John followed her to Missouri where they were married on February 1, 1911, in Tigres, Missouri.

The newlywed couple resided with Etta until they heard of John's mother's illness. John returned to Lamoni, staying with his father and secured a job hauling lumber. Audrey remained in Missouri where the couple's first child, Enid, was born.

From 1912 to 1915, John and Audrey lived in John's father's home in Lamoni. On August 8, 1916, the family arrived to claim a 320-acre homestead ajoining his father's, 10 miles northwest of the Oshoto post office in Carbon County, Wyoming. Here, neighbors were few and far between, as were mail deliveries, and the nearest telegraph office was thirty-two miles away. John and his father worked as carpenters and at a local sawmill to earn roofing and flooring, and built their log houses with the help of those scattered neighbors. John spent the next twenty-eight years as a sheep rancher and carpenter.

Audrey took the teacher's examination and received her certificate in 1918 in Gillette, Wyoming. She drew $90 a month, the highest wage possible at that time.

In June of 1924, John received a land patent on his original homestead claim of 326 acres. Two years later he received the patent for a second claim, bringing his total holdings to over 640 acres of prime ranchland.

In 1944, faced with John's declining health, John and Audrey sold the ranch and moved with their two youngest children to Independence, Missouri.

Audrey put her years of school teaching and her love of the English language to work by taking a job as a proofreader at the Herald House -- publisher for the RLDS church -- in 1945. Confronted with mandatory retirement policies in 1963, she spent some time training her replacement before "retiring" at age 67 years. It lasted about 2 weeks.19 In almost no time, she was working as a copy reader at the Independence Examiner, the local daily. The advertisement had originally been for a temporary position, but Audrey proved so valuable that she stayed with the paper for the next forty years.

On June 5, 1964, John suffered a heart attack. A second attack on December 17, 1965 claimed his life at the age of 75 years, 3 months and 9 days of age. After John's death, Audrey remained active in the church orchestra and choir, traveled extensively throughout the world, and remained employed full time at the Examiner, where she became a newsroom fixture.

Audrey's longevity began to attract media attention. When personal computers invaded the newsroom in the late 80s and early 90s, she took classes to learn how to use them so she could stay at her desk. She was chosen as a model for a statue commemorating pioneer women, and at age 97 she was named "Senior Worker of the Year" by the Missouri State Legislature. Media interviews on her birthday became an annual ritual; Audrey spent her 100th birthday at work, navigating cameras and taking phone interviews from around the world while working to get the paper out on time.

Often asked the secret of her longevity; sometimes Audrey would list the usual suspects -- faith, moderation, healthy living -- but other times she would admit that she really had no idea. Those who knew her would strongly suspect that the real secret to Audrey's long and productive life was simply that she never stopped living life.

Audrey became increasingly frail in her 104th year, and never returned to work after a fall in her home in May of 2005. She formally retired from the Examiner in September of 2000.

Audrey died peacefully in The Groves, Rosewood Health Center, Independence, Missouri, on November 13, 2000 at the age of 105 years, 5 months and 4 days of age. She was laid to rest at Mound Grove Cemetery, Independence, Missouri, beside her husband.

A true matriarch, she was survived by her five children: Enid Irene, Veryl Winston, Donald P., Carol Ardyce, and Kenneth James; 14 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and 17 great-great-grandchildren. Perhaps more importantly, she left behind a remarkable legacy of personal integrity, strength of character, love of learning, and zest for life that still inspires her family and friends today.

SOURCE: Russell, Naomi Russell. Saints in Profile: Audrey Stubbart. p. 588. Herald House. RLDS Church. Independence, MO. Dec 1982.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2016


Decatur Biographies maintained by Sharon R. Becker.
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