Tricounty News

Stella Theis, 94

Stella Theis of St. Cloud and formerly of Watkins died at St. Benedict Senior Community Sunday, June 17, 2012, a few days after suffering a stroke. She was 94.

Visitation will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, followed by services at 5 p.m. at the Ertl Funeral Home in Watkins, and interment at the St. Anthony Cemetery.

Stella Marie Theis was born in 1918, in Oak Harbor, Wash., on Whidbey Island. Her family moved to Brooks, Alberta, where her mother died when she was 4. When she was 7, her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he moved them to be close to relatives in Pease, Minn.

There she lived with her aunt and uncle who lived an austere life, and who allowed her to read only the Bible at home. Nonetheless, she secretly read great literature in her room late at night that made her an avid reader of the classics throughout her life. She moved to Milaca to attend high school where she lived with her older sister Willie, whom she dearly loved. As Stella began her senior year, Willie was tragically killed in an automobile accident.

Stella went on to attend the University of Minnesota, and then joined her older brothers Dick and Howard at the University of Washington. After college, she lived with her older sister Alice and her husband Dud Brigham who lived in Watkins. Dud's best friend was Oscar "Bib" Theis. Bib immediately started courting Stella and they soon married. Together they had three children Patricia "Trish," Richard "Rick," and Katherine "Kasey."

Stella was active in community life in Watkins. She was president of the Christian Mothers, and served on the city planning commission. She also loved playing bridge and golf. She took care of Bib until his death from Parkinson's disease in 1986. A few years later, when asked if she thought about marrying again, she smiled and said, "No, he was a prince and anyone else would be a disappointment."

Stella was preceded in death by her sisters Alice, Nellie, Eva, and Willie, and brother Dick.

She is survived by her children Trish Binko of York, Pa., Rick (and Carolyn "CJ") Johnson of Sebastopol, Calif,., and Kasey (and Mike) Westra of Foley; three grandchildren Anne (and Kevin) Smith of York, Pa., Kelly (and Mark) Sborlini of King of Prussia, Pa., and Michael (and Leslie) Binko of Edgewater, Md.; great-granddaughters Gabby and Olivia Sborlini of King of Prussia, Pa., and Addison Binko of Edgewater, Md.; and by her older brother Howard of Wenatchee, Wash.

In lieu of flowers, Stella requested memorial donations be made to the St. Cloud Chapter of the Salvation Army, and specifically designated for Social Services.

Her motto was "Accept and Endure."