Feb. 8, 1931 - Sept. 9, 2012
Gwen Stillwell of Whidbey Island, Washington, died September 9, 2012. She was 81. She lived in Prineville, Oregon, from August 1956 until August 2011, When failing health forced her to relocate to be closer to her son.
Born February 8, 1931, in Englewood, Tennessee, she was the daughter of Starling Avery and Bessie Lee (Conner) Raper.
She graduated from Englewood High School in 1949, and enrolled at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. After graduating from Berea in 1953, she became a fellow in an innovative teaching program at George Peabody College for Teachers and Vanderbilt University. The program was one of 39 funded by the Ford Foundation Fund for Advancement of Education in the years between the end of World War II and the beginning of the space race. She completed her student teaching in Nashville public schools and earned a joint master's degree in 1954.
In 1954-1955, she taught at Waterford Township High School in Pontiac, Michigan. She came to Oregon in August 1955, to teach seventh-grade social studies at Prineville Junior High School.
She soon met Ben Stillwell, who taught industrial arts at Crook County High School in Prineville. They married on August 11, 1956, and began building their own home.
She taught at PJHS until the birth of her first child in 1960. She was a stay-at-home mom until 1975, when she began work as a library assistant at Crook County Library. A voracious reader, she particularly enjoyed matching books to other eager readers. She worked at the library until 1982.
After Ben died in 1990, she became a doting granny to four grandchildren.
Survivors include her son, Bret Stillwell of Whidbey Island, Washington; daughter, Martha Anderson of Oregon; sister, Martha Lowe of Florida; grandchildren, Sam, Savannah, Avery and Alice; three nephews and three nieces.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Berea Fund, Berea College, CPO 2216, Berea, KY 40404 or to Friends of the Crook County Library, PO Box 861, Prineville, OR 97754.
Arrangements by Burley Funeral Chapel, Oak Harbor, Washington.