In Memoriam

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Barbara June Donnell Stockley ’55

A picture of Barbara Donnell Stockley

Barbara June Donnell Stockley ’55, December 5, 2013, in Elgin, Texas. Barbara and her family moved from Washington to Hawaii when she was 8 years old. She graduated from high school in 1943 and worked for the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor until she left to attend Reed, making her way to Oregon on a navy transport ship in summer 1945. After two years at the college, she went back to Honolulu but returned to Reed in 1953 to finish her studies and write her thesis, “The Face and Symmetry of Truth: A Study of the Imagery of Sir Thomas Browne.” Barbara earned a BA in general literature with honors, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn an MA in English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and moved to Austin to teach freshman composition at the University of Texas. Barbara then became a book editor for the University of Texas Press. She subsequently served as an editor for publications of the Texas State Historical Association, including Southwestern Historical Quarterly and the encyclopedic reference volume The Handbook of Texas: A Supplement (Vol. 3, 1976). In 1959 she married cattle rancher Franklin C. Stockley; they lived in a rustic, 19th-century, wooden ranch house north of Elgin until his death in 1993. In the late ’90s, she did some of the grant writing that led to the Elgin Historical Association’s obtaining the funds necessary to rehabilitate the then-derelict former railroad depot into the local history museum it has become, the Elgin Depot Museum. One of the permanent exhibits in the museum presents an enlargement of a photograph of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which marked the opening of the museum in 2002, in which Barbara appears alongside other members and officers of the historical association. At that time, she was still living out on the ranch, albeit in a modern manufactured home, until she moved into town in 2006. She served as a volunteer docent at the museum, working principally behind the counter on the historical newspaper archiving project, from its opening until 2011, when her declining health made her participation no longer feasible. Survivors include her brother, Alan Donnell; nephew Howard Donnell, who provided this memorial; nephew John Goode; niece Helen Donnell; and cousin Gordon Gray.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2014

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