Victor “Vic” Stelly (January 11, 1941) and Terry Bass Stelly (September 17, 1940), residents of Moss Bluff, Louisiana, were welcomed into heaven December 26, 2020, just hours apart, after succumbing to complications from COVID-19. Married 60 years, it is no surprise - and brings us great comfort – they met our Lord and Savior nearly hand-in-hand. The consummate gentleman, we imagine Dad holding the gates open in anticipation of Mom. Their love affair and great affection for one another is surpassed only by their Creator’s love for them. And while our hearts ache in their absence, they are also full knowing our parents are experiencing that perfect love and their complete healing against a backdrop of splendor and loved ones who went before them.
People often (and understandably) commented how different their personalities were; but it was their contrasts that kept them young and passionate. They complemented each other in such a way, that no matter what life threw at them, they were able to lift the other’s chin, calm each other’s spirits, and continuously point one another to what mattered most: family, relationships, and service. How lucky we were to have such examples of character and charisma; wisdom and wit; hard work and humor. Together, they were truly their best selves. And we were the beneficiaries of what made them shine. How they anchored our family – brought it cohesion and peace – how they loved us with no limits and extended that deep love to six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren - leave us a standard we will spend our lifetimes striving to meet.
Mom and Dad met while attending Northwestern State University and were married Dad’s sophomore year. He was from Zachary, she from Longview, Texas. After graduation, they moved to Baton Rouge where Dad taught and coached at Broadmoor and Redemptorist high schools. They then moved to Lake Charles when he accepted an assistant coach position at McNeese State University. His last football season gave way to an entirely new season when he was recruited by State Farm, where he enjoyed a 25-year career as a local agent in Moss Bluff. During this time, Mom also worked as a legal secretary to the District Attorney. When we reflect on their careers, we see a love for people, tireless investment into their community and church, and an openness to change that brought inevitable uncertainty, but often, far more growth and opportunity. And while they worked extremely hard, they also played very well, traveling often, spending time in Orange Beach, and regularly hosting family and friends.
Those left to honor their legacy include: daughter, Tracy (Mickey) Fendley of Valdosta, Georgia; son, Victor Todd (Lori) Stelly of Lake Charles; daughter, Toni Stelly, of Lake Charles; grandchildren: Lance (Jamie) Fendley of Bogart, Georgia; Hannah (Jonathan) Johnson of Lake Charles; Hayden Stelly, Hogan Stelly, Henry Stelly, and Emma Hebert, all of Lake Charles; and great-grandchildren, Hudson and Truett Fendley and Faith and Lyn Johnson.
A celebration of their lives will be held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception on Thursday, December 31, 2020, with visitation from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm; Rosary Service at 1:00 pm; and memorial ceremony at 1:30pm. *Please note masks will be required for attendees.* In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Theodore’s Catholic Church or the McNeese State University Endowment in the name of Vic and Terry Stelly.
Our deepest thanks and appreciation to Dr. Sandra Bruno and the medical staff at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Lake Charles for their expert care, heart, and professionalism.
Pallbearers for Mrs. Terry will be Lance Fendley, Hayden Stelly, Hogan Stelly, Scott Peters, Mickey Fendley, Jonathan Johnson, and Lyle Hebert. Pallbearers for Mr. Vic will be Robbie O’Quinn, Earl Phillips, Louis Bonnette, Greg Griffin, Alan Heisser, Barney Bridges, and Matt Viator and Honorary Pallbearer, Henry Stelly.