MaryEllen Grace Radway Stagner

Honored by:
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Born June 12, 1947
Died April 22, 1998

 MaryEllen was our sister. She died too young from breast cancer. Having lost her own mother when she was only nine years old, MaryEllen wanted to be sure she was there for her children. We know she was worried that Matthew and Laura had some important years to go through yet and she wouldn't be around to guide them as only a mother could. She gave her children much. Her children value education. Her children share their feelings. Her children each display a wonderful sense of humor. Her children saw a very courageous woman go through difficult cancer treatments.

For her memorial service, MaryEllen selected the following written by Kahlil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they do not belong to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow
which you cannot visit not, even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable.


We, her sisters, always admired MaryEllen's ability to turn fabric or flower into works of art. MaryEllen was her own person and knew who she was, but she encompassed within her the traits of ladies before her - the sweetness of Grandma, the determination of Mother, the style of Aunt Gladys, and the pondering soul of Aunt Bea. In truth, we were in awe of MaryEllen. She was always centered and so well-grounded. She was our friend and our wonderful sister and in spirit will always remain so.

For her memorial service, MaryEllen wrote: "I feel rich. Honest to God, I just feel rich in life. At an earlier stage rich meant plenty of money, now it means rich with love."

MaryEllen Grace Radway Stagner was born June 12, 1947 in Hallock, Minnesota, to Richard and Ruth Radway. She grew up in Minnesota, graduating from John Marshall High School in Rochester in 1965. MaryEllen graduated from Iowa State University 1969 with a degree in elementary education. She married John R. Stagner in 1969. She had two children: a daughter, Laura, born 11/11/ 1977, and a son, Matthew, born 2/18/1982. MaryEllen earned a master's degree in library science from the University of Kentucky.

Submitted on 4/22/98