Dorothy Frances Stebbins, age 97, a longtime resident of Colville, WA, passed away on December 21, 2020, at Brookdale Nine Mile in Nine Mile Falls, WA. Dorothy was born on April 21, 1923, in Spokane, WA, the daughter of Frank Minor and Jessie Florence (Van Slyke) Hillman.
She was raised in Lonepine, MT, where she attended school and graduated in 1941. Dorothy then moved to Cheney, WA, where she attended Cheney Normal School and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. She began her teaching career in Spokane, then moved to Colville where she taught for a couple of years, after which she moved to Mt. Vernon, WA. In 1949 she returned to Colville and married Dale Fordyce Stebbins, whom she had met when she was teaching in Colville. Their wedding was on June 16, 1949, in Lonepine, MT. They began a family and, while her children were young, Dorothy enjoyed her role as a stay-at-home mother. After her children were in school, she returned to her teaching career, teaching Kindergarten, First grade and Second grade. She loved teaching and her gift was her ability to support each child in their own needs. She was a favorite of the students!
Dale and Dorothy enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and Canada, including driving the Alaska Highway. After Dorothy’s retirement in 1985 they traveled to Europe and China, and planned to have many more trips together. After Dale’s untimely death in 1991, Dorothy continued to travel with friends and family members to places like Australia, New Zealand, and China, including several cruises to Alaska, the Panama Canal and other places, and also traveled within the United States and Canada, visiting family or going to interesting destinations like Branson, Missouri. She was at all of the annual family campouts at Mt. St. Helens and Houseboat trips on Lake Roosevelt.
Dorothy was a devoted wife and mother. Family time was important, whether it was playing board games at home, picnicking after church on Sunday, or spending a weekend camping at a nearby campground. Vacation time was valued, and was partly spent visiting family that did not live near Colville, and partly traveling to some
interesting place – Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier National Park, Banff & Jasper National Parks in Canada, or San Francisco and the California Coast. During the school year, she worked during the day, then cooked and kept the home in the evening, often correcting students’ papers until late. She also shuttled her children to and from school activities.
She loved gardening and growing flowers. Her green thumb and love of gardening could be seen in her immaculate yard, flowers and bountiful garden. She lit her home and the church in bouquets of color with her cut flower arrangements fresh from her garden. She was an avid reader, and also enjoyed sewing, and needlework. Dorothy had a tireless work ethic no matter if she was teaching, caring for her home or volunteering.
She was a member of the Colville United Methodist Church for over 70 years, filling a multitude of roles that included teaching Sunday School, librarian, and playing the piano. She also actively volunteered in the community as Cub Scout leader, 4-H leader, and at the Colville City Library, and was a member of the White Lake Home-Ec Club and Delta Kappa Gamma. Her heart was overflowing and her smile, simply unforgettable.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Jessie; her husband, Dale and her brother, Henry Hillman.
She is survived by her three children; Gary Stebbins of Edmonds, WA; Randy Stebbins (Arlene) of Colville, WA; Vicki Stebbins of Wenatchee, WA; two grandchildren, Chris and Jenny Stebbins; one sister, Ellen Mower of Winlock, WA, and a host of extended family and friends.
A graveside service and vault interment for Dorothy F. Stebbins was held at the Mountain View Park Cemetery in Colville, WA, on December 28, 2020. There she was laid to rest beside her husband, Dale. Memorial contributions may be given to the Colville Community Church (a United Methodist Ministry).