Betty Ann (Gardner) Stalnaker, 92, was reunited with her husband of 66 years on September 7, 2022. Surrounded by loving family, she passed away peacefully in her home. Betty was born on February 5, 1930 to Joseph Martin and Sarah Elizabeth (Stout) Gardner. She was preceded in death by the love of her life, Carroll (Gene) Eugene Stalnaker; great-granddaughter, Miller (Millie) Ann Allman; her parents; her brothers, Royal and Robert; and her sisters Cordie (Jenks) and Dorothy (Krino).
Betty attended East High School (home of the Orientals) where she met Gene. After high school, Gene became Betty’s postman; Gene finally asked her out when he realized the letters were no longer coming from Betty’s Navy beau. Their first date was at Mary Coyle’s in Akron. Although Gene asked her to marry him on the third date, Betty held him off for a few more months. Betty and Gene made Tallmadge their home where they raised their three children. Betty remained in their green century “home on the hill” until her death.
Betty’s first job was at the Ohio Bell Telephone Company from 1948-1956, where she worked with friends and had many fond memories of her experience. She then kept busy as a homemaker with three children, numerous friends, and many dogs and cats. The upkeep of her beautiful historical home (built in 1855) was of utmost importance to Betty. She was also an active member of her community through groups like P.E.O. Sisterhood Chapter AU, Tallmadge Country Study Club (Past President), and Tallmadge Historical Society.
Betty and Gene were devout members of their church, High Street Christian Church in Akron, for over 50 years. Later, they became members of The First Congregational Church of Akron. Church activities and their church family are where some of their fondest memories stemmed from. Betty served as a Deacon and an Elder, as well as held offices through Christian Women’s Fellowship, Frances Allen Circle, and Dorcas Service Circle. Every Thursday, you could find Betty quilting with friends at High Street. Betty also enjoyed knitting and attended her knitting group each Tuesday until just a couple years before her passing.
When she asked her granddaughter to compose her obituary, Betty said that her list of accomplishments would not be nearly as long as her husband’s list. However, as a form of the saying goes, “Behind every great man is a woman who held it all together”, and that was Betty! Betty was the backbone and the matriarch, always supporting her husband and her family in all of their endeavors. She was the biggest supporter of her husband’s list of accomplishments.
While Gene worked and went to school full time, Betty would keep their home in order. She went out of her way to make things special for her family. Her children remember her wonderful cooking and the comfort of the home that she created. The only two days Betty did not cook a homemade meal were when JFK and Princess Diana died. Some of her grandchildren’s greatest memories are sleepovers at Grandma’s complete with root beer floats at night and sizzling bacon in the morning. Family will remember her infamous “Oh Fooey” and her infectious laugh-until-she-cried episodes.
Betty and Gene gave their family countless special memories. For their children, it was the annual summer vacations to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. When grandchildren came along, they took them on trips to Williamsburg, Virginia. Some of the fondest memories for her children and grandchildren alike are from their Thanksgivings in New York City and Christmas Day in the living room by the crackling fire. Family members also enjoyed getting to witness Betty’s love for her Cleveland Indians and Akron Zips basketball.
Daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, friend, matriarch, mentor, quilter, homemaker, knitter, doll collector, ballgame lover – Betty was so loved and so special to those who knew her. There were few things she loved more than summers at The Cape, “The Original” at Mary Coyle’s, a Swensons chocolate milkshake, and meals with family at Luigi’s and Papa Joe’s. The things she did love more though were her loving husband and her family who are all so thankful for their time with Betty.
Betty is survived by her daughters, Becky (Brian) Allman, Beth (Brad) Burch both of Tallmadge; son, Russell Stalnaker of Louisville; grandchildren, Andrew (Deidre) Allman of Grandview Hts., Blake (Sami) Allman of Tallmadge, Amibeth Allman (Kevin Gaul) of Cuyahoga Falls, Seth (Bailey) Burch of Medina, Paul (Chelsea) Stalnaker of Louisville, and Sarah (David) Bartlett of Rootstown; great-grandchildren, Claire & Mae Allman, Zoie Byler & Remi Allman, Bristol & Bindee Stalnaker, and Baby Boy Bartlett; great-niece, Amy (Mike) McFarland of Phoenix.
A special thank you to her home caregivers and Kindred Hospice who laughed with and cared for Betty until the end.
Visitation will be 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at the Donovan Funeral Home, 17 Southwest Ave, Tallmadge (on the Historic Tallmadge Circle).
Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, 85 Heritage Drive, Tallmadge with Rev. Daniel Doty officiating.
Interment will be at Tallmadge Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Tallmadge Historical Society (P.O. Box 25, Tallmadge, 44278) and Warriors’ Journey Home (P.O. Box 67121, Cuyahoga Falls, 44222).
Tallmadge Historical Society
PO BOX 25, Tallmadge OH 44278
Warriors Journey Home (Local)
P O Box 67121, Cuyahoga Falls OH 44222