Jean Neale Stassel, pioneer Alaskan, died with family present at Providence Extended Care Center on July 18, 2011. She recently celebrated her 84th birthday and 62nd wedding anniversary.
Jean was born in Bloomington, IL, daughter of Glenn and Leila Neale. Jean grew up in Fond du Lac and Stevens Point, Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in education from University of Wisconsin at Madison.
She married Fred Stassel on June 19, 1949. They drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska for their honeymoon and stayed, making Alaska their home for 62 years. They lived in Palmer and Anchorage, and commercial fished on the Kenai Peninsula.
Jean was a mother, substitute teacher and commercial fisherwoman. She was active in the Eastern Star, Scouting, the Alaska Children's Services, Methodist Church, and League of Women Voters. She served as State President for both the United Methodist Women & League of Women Voters.
She volunteered extensively, had a heart of gold and was an advocate for justice and kindness, going to bat for people in crisis situations as if they were family.
She enjoyed family and friends and had a passion for playing cards; she was beating her husband at rummy just days before she passed.
After raising six children and two grandchildren, she earned a Masters in Reading from Alaska Pacific University, and tutored students in remedial reading.
Jean made a huge difference in the lives of many individuals and has left the world a better place. She will be greatly missed!
She is survived by her husband Fred Stassel; her children Susan Stassel Elkins, Steven Stassel and his wife Mary Stassel, Paul Stassel, Joan Stassel and her husband Chuck Livers all of Anchorage, and Linda Stassel and her husband Richard Bullington of Vancouver, WA; nine grandchildren, Jason, Rebecca, Heather, Lauren, Brendon, Christie, Ryan, Allison and Emily; two great grandchildren, Jaeda and Mayce; and brother James Neale of Gainesville GA. She was preceded in death by her son Fred II "Larry" Stassel and sister Joan Krienke.
A memorial service will be held August 14th, 2pm, at First United Methodist Church on 9th Avenue at G Street. Donations in Jean's memory can be made to League of Women Voters of Anchorage (www.lwvanchorage.org) or Alaska Children's Services (www.akchild.org).
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from July 31 to Aug. 1, 2011