Jean McKeever Stafslein passed away peacefully in Eureka surrounded
by her friends and family
at 3 p.m. on February 19, 2023.
Barbara was born in Grafton, N.D. on April 27, 1945 to parents Gladys Smith McKeever and Matthew Marvin McKeever. She grew up in Hamilton, N.D. She attended school there and was a straight A student and valedictorian of her graduating class. Barbara was active in band and singing and was a class officer, and served as editor of the school newspaper “Tigers Roar” along with helping to produce her senior yearbook. She was a cheerleader for the basketball team all through high school. She also was an active member of the Hamilton Presbyterian Church. Barbara was selected to attend Girls State her junior year. Barbara was small in stature but she had an engine that wouldn’t quit. Barbara was offered a scholarship to University of North Dakota and selected to be in the honors program. That is where she met her future husband, Tim Stafslein.
Barbara and Tim both studied Art at the University of N.D. It was an instant connection and they were married in Grand Forks in 1966. While at the university Barbara earned the nickname “Mousie” because she had pet mice. She would be known as “Mousie” by most people from this point forward.
After the birth of their first child, a daughter Ona, in 1967, Mousie and Tim would follow their friend Christy Orion to California. They had heard tales of warm winters, beautiful mountains and tall trees. Mousie had always dreamed of living in the mountains and trees after growing up on the flat plains of North Dakota. So the move west began in 1968.
Their son Jebadiah was born in Fort Bragg in 1969, Samuel Dakota was born at home in Whale Gulch in 1972 and Isaac was born at the Sherwood Forest Motel in Garberville in 1981.
Mousie used to call herself a “modern-day gypsy.” She never liked to stay in one place too long. As a result she moved all over Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino County in her 50+ years in the area, landing in Fort Bragg, then Whitethorn, Whale Gulch, Whiskey Hill, Needle Rock, Miranda, Ettersburg, Alderpoint, Redway, Garberville, Weott and finally settling in Shelter Cove.
In the early 1980s Mousie started teaching math and English to junior high students at the Whale Gulch School. Her love of teaching was evident immediately and she decided to go back to school to get her credentials. In 1987 she earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Oregon State College. She would later complete her masters degree at Humboldt State University. In 1988 she began her teaching career for the Southern Humboldt Unified School District. She taught for numerous schools over her almost 30-year teaching career. These include: the Osprey Learning Center in Garberville, Casterlin Elementary School in Alderpoint, Miranda Junior High School and Weott Elementary School.
Mousie had the biggest heart and she loved each and every student like they were her own children. She always found a way to connect with people but especially with her students. She wanted to make learning fun and memorable. This was evident by the relationships she kept with generations of her students. After she retired she continued to sub and tutor because she loved teaching so much. Mousie was recognized with numerous awards over the course of her career including being chosen as the teacher to receive the Humboldt County Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014.
Mousie loved art, music, history, baking, gardening and nature. She especially loved visiting national parks, and it was extra special if there were a wide variety of wild flowers. If she could weave some history into her love of Nature and Parks she would do that. We once followed the Lewis and Clark trail from Oregon all the way to N.D. Mousie believed the best way to get from one point to another was to travel in one gigantic circle so you could see everything that was possible along the way.
Family was everything to her. Especially her grandchildren! She didn’t hesitate to pack up the car and head to Oregon or Sacramento to spend a week or two, catching up with her grandkids who lived out of town and all their activities. She was always at their plays, choir concerts, band concerts, basketball games, volleyball games, softball games and track meets. Her granddaughters that lived near her were always a part of her life and she would do anything for them. She never missed a birthday, graduation or any other holiday for that matter. If she couldn’t be there in person she would send one of her incredible cards. Collecting cards that reminded her of her family and friends became almost like a hobby to her. If you knew Mousie then you probably received one of her beautiful cards with a handwritten heartfelt message from her at some point in your life. She truly cared for and loved others unconditionally.
Mousie was preceded in death by her parents, Gladys and Marvin McKeever; her husband, Tim Stafslien; her brother Dennes McKeever and her son-in-law Malcus Williams.
Mousie is survived by her brother Richard McKeever; her sister Marjorie (Micheal) Axt; her daughter, Ona (Robert Smith) Williams; her sons, Jebadiah (Meredithe) Stafslien, Samuel (Karin) Stafslien, Isaac Stafslien; her grandchildren Jasmine (Torrey) Hass, Dakota Stafslien, Sammie Stafslien, Savannah (Steve) Sagert, Georgia (Collin) Malcolm, Brooklyn Williams, Avery (Kelly) Stafslien, Abby Stafslien; her great-grandchildren Olivia Hass, Oliver Hass, Felix Hass, Sterling Sagert; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
We will all gather to celebrate the life of an amazing mother, sister, grandmother, friend and teacher as soon as the weather is nice and we can be outside in the sun, fresh air and nature that Mousie loved.
In lieu of flowers or cards please think about making a donation in her name to the National Parks Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation or your local food bank.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Mousie Stafslien’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.