Death of Audrey Stubbart ends `amazing story' of hard work,
longevity

By TANYANIKA SAMUELS - The Kansas City Star
Date: 11/13/00 22:15

Audrey Stubbart, a well-known local newspaperwoman whose career lasted
well beyond her 100th birthday, died Monday in Independence. She was
105.

Stubbart worked as a proofreader for Independence's daily newspaper, The
Examiner, for nearly 40 years after retiring from a publishing house at age
65. She put in 40-hour weeks editing copy and writing a weekly column long
after her five children had retired.

Family and friends said she would be remembered as a model of hard work
and dedication.

"She set a tremendous example in the community about the value and
importance of work, and making her life meaningful for herself," said Larry
Blick, Independence city manager.

After a fall at her home last May, Stubbart never returned to the newsroom.
Retiring was something she never really planned on doing.

"What would I do if I weren't working?" she said in a 1996 interview. "As
long as the Lord has given me these extra years, they're especially valuable."

Stubbart, who lived in her Independence home until August, died at 11:30
a.m. Monday at The Grove's Rosewood Health Center. Funeral
arrangements will be made today.

"This is a sad day for all of us here at The Examiner who worked with
Audrey," said the paper's executive editor, Dale Brendel. "She was a special
lady and an amazing story of how you could work for so long and do such a
good job."

Family members said she would be missed also as a loving sister, mother,
grandmother and friend. She is survived by siblings, five children ranging in
age from 88 to 69, and numerous other relatives.

"She was a dear treasure," said daughter Carol Kroeck, 71, of
Independence. "She was a hard worker, very conscientious. She loved
everybody. And, she was a true lady."

Independence city officials remembered her as such.

"She was a lady of outstanding class," said Independence Mayor Ron
Stewart. "I was in awe of her. She lived for so long and contributed so much
to society. There will never be another like her in the history of
Independence."

She was born Audrey Morford on June 9, 1895, in Newman Grove, Neb. In
1916, she and her husband, John, moved to a remote homestead in Wyoming
where she taught in a one-room schoolhouse and raised five children.

The family moved in the early 1940s to Independence, where Stubbart edited
religious materials at Herald Publishing Co.

She was forced to retire in 1960 at age 65, but immediately went to work as
a proofreader at The Examiner.

She used to take taxis to work, but when they became unreliable, Frank
Haight Jr. stepped in. Haight took Stubbart home from work almost every
day for 15 years, during which a lasting friendship blossomed.

"Audrey was probably the closest to a saint that I'll ever meet," said Haight, a
community news reporter. "Audrey lived a life that exemplified her love for the
Lord, and she lived a life that was beneficial to all her colleagues."

Haight, 64, described his friend as a perfectionist who loved the English
language and loved to teach others.

Stubbart was so devoted to her job that when she underwent surgery for a
pacemaker in 1998, she returned to work five days later, Examiner editorial
page editor Jeff Fox said in an earlier interview.

Outside of work, Stubbart's sense of adventure never dwindled. Even as she
grew older, she continued to travel, riding a camel in Egypt at age 88 and
touring Scotland and England at 94.

Stubbart has been recognized over the years for her achievements.

In 1992, the Governor's Advisory Council on Aging named her Missouri's
Older Worker of the Year, choosing her from 257 nominees. Of the 45
finalists for the award, Stubbart was the oldest.

In 1995, the Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution honored
Stubbart, a member of its Independence chapter, during its annual
conference. Both the state organization and Stubbart were celebrating their
100th birthdays.

And in 1997, the Independence school board announced the opening of the
Audrey Stubbart Media Center in the district's new Bingham Seventh Grade
Center.

In turn, Stubbart established a scholarship for adult-education students,
contributing $2,000 to help people preparing for the general equivalency
diploma (GED) test or taking a class for job advancement. The Examiner
also donated $500 for the scholarship.

"It is not just a job for her," Fox said of her role at the newspaper. "It's
helping people out. What always kept Audrey going was her compelling need
to learn something new every day. It made her a very rewarding person to be
around."