Anna Louise Stettner: 1908–2006
July 29, 2006
Longtime Routt County resident Anna Louise Stettner died July 20, 2006, at the Doak Walker Care Center. She was 98.
Anna (Ann) was born July 4, 1908, in Chicago, Ill., to Friederich and Johanette Frese (nee Behle), recent immigrants from Adorf, Germany. Active in gymnastics and hiking clubs throughout her youth, Ann graduated from the John Marshall High School in Chicago in 1926.
She first met her beloved husband of 63 years, Paul Stettner, during an outing with the Nature Friends, a German hiking club.
In 1930, Ann and Paul journeyed by train to Colorado. Paul, an accomplished mountaineer, guided Ann up the challenging East Face of Long’s Peak, making Ann the first woman to successfully complete that difficult route. When they reached the summit, Paul presented Ann with a diamond engagement ring. “What a moment, never to be forgotten,” she later wrote in her memoirs. They were married in Chicago in 1931.
Throughout their marriage, Ann and Paul were active members of the Chicago Mountaineering Club, and with their son they participated in annual trips to the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and British Columbia. Ann soon added downhill and cross-country skiing and mountaineering to her outdoor experiences.
In 1973, Ann and Paul left Chicago to retire in the Steamboat Springs area to be near their only son. Their Bavarian-style house on Elk River Road was a festive gathering place for their new generation of Colorado friends and many visitors from Europe and across the U.S. After Paul Sr. passed away in 1994, Ann moved into Steamboat Springs, where she entertained visitors, went for daily walks to the Yampa River Botanic Park and played her piano. The piano was recently rebuilt and donated to the Steamboat Springs Arts Council for musical events at the Depot Art Center.
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Ann was modest about her accomplishments but was well read and informed. She regularly corresponded to her many friends in English, German or Spanish and wrote lively Letters to the Editor that appeared in the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
She volunteered at the Genoa City Nursing Home in Wisconsin for many years, and even after she moved into the Doak Walker Care Center in 2000, she always sought to help the staff.
Ann was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Henry Frese; and her husband, Paul Sr.
She is survived by her son, Paul Stettner and his wife, Arianthe, and their daughter, Leah, of Steamboat Springs; her niece, Millie Partington and her husband, Gene, of Niles, Ill., and their children and families; and niece, Ginnie Madsen and husband, Jon, and their families in Laramie, Wyo.
A celebration of Ann’s life is at 5 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Depot Art Center, with remembrances starting at 6 p.m. Friends and neighbors are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Yampa Valley Botanic Park, Planned Parenthood or the Doak Walker Care Center. For more information, call 879-1986.